Narrow walkways, ziplines and treetop platforms are part of the action on the courses at Wild Play in Colwood. Photo by Tess van Straaten

Narrow walkways, ziplines and treetop platforms are part of the action on the courses at Wild Play in Colwood. Photo by Tess van Straaten

TESS VAN STRAATEN: Aerial adventure in the treetops

Wild Play offers exhiliration and agility training in Colwood

By Tess van Straaten

Monday Magazine columnist

Flying through the treetops four stories above the ground, I’ve completely forgotten my fear of heights.

“We want people to play more, fear less,” explains WildPlay marketing manager Ben Miller. “Our goal is to help people get out of their comfort zone and to new heights.”

And that’s exactly what I’m doing with my two sons at WildPlay Victoria in Colwood. We’re tackling the classic aerial adventure course, which starts out fairly easy from wooden platforms not too far off the ground and then increases in both height and difficulty.

“The classic course is broken into three sections – the green course is the easiest, the blue course is our middle course and the red course is the hardest,” explains our guide, Parker Denton. “You can start at any section you want and if green is your comfort level, you can do that all day or you can work your way through the natural succession of the course.”

Each level of the obstacle course throws new challenges at you – from tightropes and swinging logs to wobbly bridges and rope swings with adrenaline-fuelled ziplines in between. There are 11 ziplines in total at the park and 60 ‘aerial games.’ The suspended surprises can be fun – or downright frightening.

“It’s ideal for people who may be scared of heights because you go at your own pace and if you’re having trouble, we won’t leave you hanging,” Miller says. “Just shout at a guide below for tips and tricks on obstacles.”

It also helps that a continuous belay system, a new safety advancement in the industry, keeps you hooked in at all times so there’s no risk of accidentally detaching yourself (phew!). Feeling fearless after completing the classic course, my daredevil 14-year-old son, Tyler, can’t wait to do the even more challenging extreme course. But what surprises me is that Tate, my cautious 11-year-old, is also keen to climb higher and tackle even harder obstacles.

The ziplines – my favourite part – are even more fun at this level but there are also some heart-thumping challenges. The worst one for me was trying to get across four separate cargo nets that were attached to swinging logs about 15 metres in the air. Holding on for dear life and doubting whether I could make it across, Tyler saw I was struggling and yelled out some words of encouragement. He told me I could do it, and he was right.

“We want people to push their boundaries and get outdoors to try new experiences and face their fears,” says Miller.

Climbing down from the final platform, I’m elated and exhilarated. We did it. And I’m pretty sure my arms are going to be very sore tomorrow.

Tess van Straaten

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Braden Holtby’s new mask designed in collaboration with Luke Marston and David Gunnarsson. (Mike Wavrecan photo)
Vancouver Island Coast Salish artist unveils new mask for Canucks goalie

Braden Holtby’s new mask features artwork by Luke Marston inspired by the legend of the seawolf

Alan Tudyk stars as Alien Harry Vanderspeigel in the new series Resident Alien (Photo by: James Dittinger/SYFY)
Resident Alien brings Vancouver Island to the small screen with January premiere

Quirky series shot in Ladysmith will air every Wednesday on the CTV Sci-Fi Channel

Comox-based cinematographer Maxwel Hohn’s new documentary captures the lives of Vancouver Island’s coastal wolves. Photo courtesy Maxwel Hohn.
New mini-documentary shot on Vancouver Island echoes the ‘call of the coastal wolves’

Photography heavyweights from B.C. come together for Maxwel Hohn’s second wildlife documentary

The 2021 Victoria Film Festival includes Vancouver Island produced feature film All-in Madonna. The festival looks a bit different this year, but film-lovers can still expect a full and diverse lineup. (Courtesy of VFF)
Victoria Film Festival returns with virtual viewing

Lineup features 50 films including Vancouver Island-produced All-in Madonna

Joy Sharpe holds a picture of her late husband Ray while posing for a photograph with the Sybil Andrews painting ‘hauling’ before donating it to the Campbell River Hospice Society. (Submitted photo)
$6 painting turned into $10,000 charity windfall

A 1952 original Sybil Andrews painting donation fetches Campbell River Hospice Society a nice return

Victoria artist Noah Layne is conducting online workshops on portrait drawing as part of the Metchosin ArtPod’s About Face portrait show. (Photo courtesy of Noah Layne)
Metchosin Art Pod doing an about-face

Renowned artist Noah Layne hosting online classes in portrait drawing

This weekend Amy Pye is holding a virtual book launch for her latest children’s book, <em>Bruce the Silly Goose</em>. (Photo courtesy Amy Pye)
Victoria writer and illustrator pens children’s book about COVID-19 safety

Amy Pye to hold online book launch for ‘Bruce the Silly Goose’

The pantomime ‘Snow White and the 5 Dwarfs’ has been cancelled due to COVID-19 restrictions. (Submitted)
Pantomime cancelled in Cowichan due to COVID restrictions

A partnership of the Cowichan Musical Society, the Shawnigan Players, and the Mercury Players.

A rendering shows the entrance planned for the Hornby Island Arts Centre. Image supplied
Work on Hornby Island Arts Centre to start this month

Community worked with award-winning architectural firm on design

Western Edge Theatre artistic director Brian March and local theatre artists Brianna Hamilton and Daniel Puglas (from left) make up Western Edge’s new team of “artistic associates.” (News Bulletin file photos/Courtney Harder)
Nanaimo theatre company adds younger, diverse voices to artistic team

Western Edge hopes new ‘artistic associates’ will help form new ideas, reach new audiences

Sara Lopez Assu says she’s relatively happy with how the Campbell River Art Gallery team managed to weather the storm that was 2020. File Photo by Mike Davies/Campbell River Mirror
Campbell River Art Gallery director reflects on ‘maybe our hardest year ever’

‘It would be easy to look back and be disappointed … but that’s not going to get us anywhere’

Jean Crowder, former MP for Nanaimo-Cowichan, is the CVPAG honourary chair. (Submitted)
Art gallery group becomes registered charity in step towards realizing Duncan dream

Becoming a registered charity enables the CVPAG to greatly expand its potential donor base

From left to right; Jessica Kelly; Allaina Moore; Ben Rosnau; and Isaiah McAleese. Members of the ECHO Players Youth Group after they performed ‘Words, Words, Words’ by David Ives, in May 2019. (submitted photo)
Qualicum Beach youth theatre group looks at more livestream performances in 2021

Members stay active during pandemic with playwriting competitions and online play readings

Most Read