FORT WAYNE – The Bamboo Forest Adventure Play will officially open tomorrow!
The new ropes course at the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo will have its grand opening ceremony on Saturday, Sept. 30 at 12 p.m. As the season winds down for the zoo, visitors will have a month to enjoy the new high ropes course that was designed, manufactured and installed by RCI Adventure Products.
The two-level Sky Trail® course features 27 different rope elements, a 180-degree Sky Rail® zip line and a separate Sky Tykes® course, RCI’s course specifically designed for toddlers. The Sky Trail® course includes the popular and difficult rolling log element as well as the knee-shaking Walk the Plank element, which has visitors walk out on a thin beam approximately 30-feet above ground.
Missing the Ponies
The Bamboo Forest Adventure Play course replaces what Director of Operation A.J. Harper called a “beloved old attraction,” the zoo’s pony ride area, which had operated for 40 years and officially closed at the end of the 2021 season. The removal was initially met with criticism, as long-time zoo guests made their objections known. A Change.org petition calling for the zoo to reconsider the removal garnered nearly 8,000 signatures. In one local news report (yes, it garnered news coverage), a resident called the pony ride’s removal “devastating for the community.”
At the time of the attraction’s closure, the zoo had not announced what would replace the pony ride. Harper was happy to report that once visitors learned that an aerial ropes course would be installed, feedback took a 180-degree turn.
“The reaction from everyone is that they’re super excited,” he said.
To the Treetops
Construction on the course finished in late summer, giving way to the important training and inspection period in September. RCI Adventure Products has been on-hand conducting operator training for the course. Harper said the response for zoo employees parallels that of visitors as they’re also excited for the new attraction.
The new course at the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo is another example of RCI Adventure Products continued partnership with zoos and aquariums across the country, helping these destinations build on the typical zoo experience. Harper said Bamboo Forest Adventure Play course integrates well within the zoo’s existing footprint, as it’s located in the Asia Trek area, home to animals that reside in the treetops.
The Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo is open every day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. until Oct. 29, which marks the end of its season. Wild Zoo Halloween takes place each weekend at the zoo throughout the month of October.