Treetop Quest in Gwinnett

Did you know there is a zip line and obstacle course right around the corner from the Mall of Georgia? It’s Treetop Quest at the Gwinnett Environmental and Heritage Center (GEHC).

In the summer of 2011, while it was being built, I saw the construction and was curious what they were building. Once I heard it was an obstacle course, I thought I need to make it up there one day. When I recently got an invitation to come check it out, I was thrilled, so after discussing my partner in adventure, Andy, a date was set, and we took to the trees.

Treetop Quest is a little different than other zip line courses, in that you get some instructions on how to connect the different devices to each other, then you go out on your own.  There is a big pavilion with picnic tables, so plan ahead and bring lunch. Since this is self-guided, you can take a break to eat, rest, and socialize, then continue on once you’re refreshed.

The equipment is pretty simple, the harness has a few carabineers with a fancy hidden wire in it that makes it auto locking. You also get a zip device and some gloves.  While it takes a few minutes to get used to working the auto-lock, it’s not difficult. There are three main types of obstacles: one you walk across, one you zip, and one you swing. Although they are color coded, we only paid attention to the code on the first thing we did, since it’s pretty obvious what each it.

After you’ve been instructed, there are five courses to go through. The first one is the kid’s course, designed for the smaller folks. Brian, our instructor, suggested we skip it otherwise our backs would be hurting from bending over, so we did the other 4.  We went through the other 4, in order.

Er, sounds like I’m writing a press release. You probably want to know what type of obstacles did we have, was it fun, and was it worth the money?

First off, yes, it was fun. It took us about 2 hours and 45 minutes to get through it all. Had we come earlier in the day, we could have easily spent more time and done some of the stations multiple times.  (One group we saw just kept doing station three over and over again.)

There are a few types of obstacles with a number of variations:

–          The Swing: This is where you’re going hold onto something and swing, just like Tarzan, or if you prefer, George of the Jungle.

–          The Crossing: Obviously, you cross from one platform to another, holding on to something while walking across some obstacle. You might be going across steps hanging from rope, or tiny vertical logs. They all look deceptively simple until you step on them and they start swinging.

–          The High Wire:  Probably the closest I’ll ever come to crossing Niagara Falls on a high wire, you balance on a wire as you cross platforms.

–          The Zip: Clip on, hold on, and scream like a little girl as you fly through the air.

–          The Net: On one station, you swing into a cargo net and then climb partially up it. Funny how easy it looks when you see someone do it on TV…

While most of the crossings are pretty hard, they are do-able. Once you’ve done them a few times, you learn the rhythm and it gets easier. At least that’s what Brian told us. He made them all look easy as he joined us through the last station.

Being friendly, I asked almost everyone we saw out there how they were doing and what they thought. Everyone was gave it an enthusiastic thumbs up.  One lady wasn’t too happy with The Net, but I think she still had a good time.

I feel obliged to say this:  This whole course is work!  Be prepared to get a bit of a workout in, and get a little banged up.

Now, that being said, is it worth the money?  Yeah, I’d pay to go to this for a special occasion.  For around the same price as white water rafting or similar activities, it doesn’t seem unreasonable. (And you can find coupons and coupons if you Like them on Facebook.)

If I were looking to supplement my gym membership, I’d consider getting an annual pass.  Coming once a month or two would easily make that into a good deal, and then I’d also figure out how to get across those swings.

I’m not sure if they do the same as Stone Mountain, where you can trade up your daily admission, and get that amount off the annual pass if you buy it the same day you’re there.

If you have little kids, the youngest they allow is four years old, but I’d worry that a kid that age would get very frustrated. Since my oldest is only three, I may be under-estimating what another year will do for him, so I’d be interested to hear what parents who brought their kids think.  At the least, if you’re close by, drive up and judge for yourself.  Since you can walk through the trails and see what it all looks like, and watch people do it, you can judge for yourself.

Oh, I almost forgot to mention, the whole course is an educational experience. There are trivia questions posted on a lot of the platforms, and as you progress through the park, you get the answers and some additional information. (Hmmm…school field trip, here we come!)  Andy got them all right, while my multiple choice strategy of always picking “A” didn’t work.

Below are some pictures from our trip.


(Disclaimer: I got two free passes to come to the park, but no other compensation.)