So Fathers Day 2017 was spent in the company of a group of friends who we have known since we started doing Rhythm Time almost 3 years ago (read all about Rhythm Time here) and for our first “day out” together, we decided to go to Tree Top Nets in Ripon.
While there are a few Tree Top Nets locations, the Ripon one is easily located if you follow the signs for Lightwater Valley theme park as they share the same (free) car park.
Tree Top Nets is basically lots of net trampolines set high in the trees with walkways between each mini-section. There are also slides from the trampolines down the ground as well as “stepping stone” logs on the ground. One of the sections is specifically age restricted so the little ones have a safe place to bounce – I put safe in italics because it is all very safe, but restricting the ages in a specific section is a good idea to help the smaller ones build confidence. There is also a safety talk before you’re allowed on, which is reassuring and scary at the same time!!
When you first go on the nets, it is a very strange experience and does take a while to get used to the sensation of bouncing and walking, as well as the fact you’re up in the sky! This is especially true for the children and the children in our group (3 and 4 year olds) did struggle for the first half an hour or so, so you need to factor that into your expectations of the attraction.
However, once they got used to it, they loved it and just as importantly, the parents of the group enjoyed it too!! Our favourite was the area with the “footballs” and we had great fun playing with those whilst trying to make sure the little ones were safe!! This is probably the one area where it is advisable to avoid if you have a smaller child, or wear glasses!!
Further up into the nets, the Crows Nest is one for the more adventurous and stronger climbers (we didn’t get up there to see the wonderful view) but the hopscotch is very fun to watch!
We stayed for about 6 hours, although the allotted time is 2 hours (we had a voucher) and as you can imagine, we were suitably tired on a hot and sunny day by that time, but it showed that we enjoyed it so much!! You are free to bring picnics into the site and while there are no lockers, there are enough picnic tables so you can leave your things there while you climb and bounce. There is a small tuck shop, vending machines and most importantly, a water dispenser. The fact that you’re climbing and bouncing means you need to keep your fluids topped up, however, up in the trees, it is remarkably shaded and cool.
Under 3’s are not allowed onto the nets at all and I wouldn’t want to take a 3 year old who wasn’t confident as the sensation can be particularly strange. As the attraction is not geared to babies, I didn’t see any baby changing facilities, but I am sure that the friendly staff would help as much as possible. (UPDATE! The friendly Tree Top Nets staff have told me that the baby change facilities are in the unisex toilets!)
This type of attraction is geared towards going with a group of friends and having a laugh with each other and playing with the children at the same time. Because of the physical nature, it does help if you have enough adults so you can rotate and have a rest, because the children seem to go on forever because they have a brilliant time!!
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