Getting in the swing on Norfolk’s new high ropes course
- Credit: Archant
Thought dinosaurs were scary? Try the new high ropes course at Roarr! Dinosaur Adventure.
It seems like every time I go to Roarr! Dinosaur Adventure there's something new, and on my latest trip to this ever-evolving theme park it was the Predator High Ropes.
I should point out that I don't usually go on my own. It's quite possibly my six-year-old son Finley's favourite place in the world, although I have to admit that I love releasing my inner child (or dinosaur) and going on adventures with him, from crawling around the huge indoor play area, to playing crazy golf and racing on the Stone Age Road Race. And the latest addition to the park is another attraction that can be enjoyed together.
Predator High Ropes officially opened last week, and has been a hit with the first adventurous visitors to give it a go – including me! The 35m high ropes course features the world's first parallel sky rails and twin lanes of zip wires. It's got a more mature feel to other areas in the park – there's not a Dippy in sight. The industrial red and grey structure, well-chosen dinosaurs and atmospheric jungle and dinosaur sounds give it a Jurassic World feel – indeed, that was the intention.
'The films are brilliant and Predator High Ropes definitely draws on them,' says park manager Adam Goymour. 'We wanted something that would widen the appeal of the park for older children and teenagers. It needed to be something that was exciting and safe, and we looked at lots of different options before deciding on the high ropes.'
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After considering the very real possibility that Finley might point blank refuse to go on it, I decided it was best if I have a go by myself first. And I'm glad I did! The sheer size of the course is a little daunting when you're standing underneath it, and the instruction video and full-on harness leave you in no doubt that this attraction is not for the faint-hearted. Having said that, while I was on the course I saw several young children getting stuck in with a little help from their parents, and there are always instructors on-hand to offer assistance and encouragement to those who need a confidence boost.
The restrictions are based on height, with those under 1m not allowed, up to 1.2m needing to be accompanied by an adult, while those over 1.2m can be unaccompanied.
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You're attached by a slingline rope to a clever over-head rail system the whole time you're on the course. This makes you feel completely secure and if, like me, you get a bit over-confident and decide to try a crossing with no ropes to hold on to, the slingline is always there if you start to feel a bit wobbly and need something to cling onto.
There are two routes: a lower level and a higher level. Both have three lanes of ropes, so family members can complete the course side by side, or adults can use the same lane if accompanying younger ones.
Every crossing is different, which means there are 31 options of varying difficulty. I completed the course three times and only scratched the surface of the routes you can take. Once you've completed the ropes section you return to the start on the parallel zip wires. Although I whizzed along this on my own, I can imagine it would be great fun to race someone to the end.
Predator High Ropes is completely different to anything else at Roarr! Dinosaur Park and, unlike the Jurassic Skywire that was in this location previously, there's no extra charge to have a go.
I've shown Finley some pictures of me in action and he seems keen, so no doubt we'll be making a return journey soon. Fingers crossed he'll channel his inner T-rex and be brave enough to take up the challenge.
For more information visit www.roarrdinosauradventure.co.ukPredator High Ropes FAQ
Do I have to wear certain clothing?
Yes. Shoes must be enclosed, no open toes or heels, and secure. Clothing should cover shoulder and thighs, no dresses or skirts. Hair must also be tied back.
What are the restrictions?
Those under one metre are not allowed on Predator High Ropes. Children under 1.2m need to be accompanied by an adult, those over 1.2m can be unaccompanied. The maximum participant weight is 21 stone, and it is not recommended for pregnant women, people with neck, back or heart problems, or those who have had recent surgery.
Can I take my phone or camera on the course?
No. Loose objects are not allowed. If you want a snap of your experience there is an automatic camera which will capture you in zip wire action.
What if my child gets scared and wants to get off?
The instructors on the course are well trained at helping children complete the course or guiding them back to the exit. However, if a child can't do this, there is a procedure for getting them down from the course without going across the obstacles.
Other high rope options are available...
ExTREEme Adventure, Weasenham Woods, near King's Lynn
The ExTREEme Adventure high ropes and tall trees course is set at two different heights, plus there's also a giant 3G swing which can be winched up to a height of 45ft before release. www.extreemeadventure.co.ukGo Ape! Brandon
Home to the original Go Ape! adventure, the course features a mix of zip wires, tarzan swings and other high ropes paths suspended between the pines of Thetford Forest. www.goape.co.ukHilltop Outdoor Centre, Sheringham
Hilltop has an array of exciting adventure activities such as climbing walls, high ropes courses, zip wires and Air Jump – a 16m jumping tower, free-falling into a giant air bag. www.hilltopoutdoorcentre.co.ukSkyTrek, Banham Zoo, Banham
Located in the zoo next to the Giraffe House and Zarafa Heights Walkway, SkyTrek offers a number of high level elements which will challenge the bravest of visitors - from high wires to tricky crossings and finishing with a great wind-in-your-face zip wire. Find your inner Tarzan! www.banhamzoo.co.uk/visit-the-zoo/activities-displays/skytrekSuffolk Leisure Park, Wherstead, near Ipswich
As well as skiing and boarding, this activity centre has a high ropes course which features an 8m high climbing wall, dangling and taut rope travereses, log beam, and a jump back down to earth on a para-fan descender. www.suffolkskicentre.co.ukAerial Adventure/Action Challenge, Center Parcs, Elveden, near Thetford
A thrilling adventure on a rope course that will get you swinging from the trees. Conquering the treetop course allows guests to tackle an exhilarating descent on a zip wire to finish with a genuine adrenaline rush. Residents only. www.centerparcs.co.uk/discover-center-parcs/activities/outdoor-activities