Adventure Forest is Denver’s Daring New Big Kid Playground
posted by: Gretchen White
The Children’s Museum of Denver Marsico Campus continues to find new ways to entertain and educate. The latest expansion is a massive multi-level play sculpture located in their backyard, Joy Park. It is called Adventure Forest and it should be immediately added to your summer bucket list — especially if you have older children over the age of five.
If you spend any time on I-25 in the central metro area, you have probably witnessed the three-year long, $2.3 million project take shape. From a distance, it looks like spheres or nests huddled together. Ropes and bridges are slung around the structure. Cool, right? However, there is no way to feel the scope of the Adventure Forest zone without seeing it first-hand. It actually took our breath away as we approached it, ready for play.
Adventure Forest has everything a climber, scamperer, brave soul, slider, story-reader, art-appreciator could want. Think of it as the ultimate tree house, but with gorgeously rendered art, surprising touches, and even a story to read along the way. My kids loved every inch and were so proud of themselves when they conquered challenges. It’s not every day they get to leap to a dangling rope to swing across a web. They faced fears and so did I! I remained on the ground while I watched them scramble and leap around from obstacle to obstacle.
At one point, adventurers crawl through a clear-bottomed tunnel, called the Glass Bridge, with nothing but ground a couple of stories below. One of the most exhilarating sections of Adventure Forest is when you crawl out of one of those big spheres, called a Cluster Climber, into the Slinky Climb arced outside to get into a different sphere. Whoa. Watching it from far below gave me fresh insight into how brave and capable kids truly are.
The highest point in Adventure Forest is the Tippy Tippy Top Lookout, where climbers are rewarded with a sweeping view of downtown Denver and nearby neighborhoods. Eventually, all good adventures must come to an end and Adventure Forest does it in style. Make your grand exits down one of two 70 foot tube slides.
But you don’t have to leave. You can play all day. Do it again! Discover the story it tells, check out the artwork, and feel emboldened by the inspiring words found painted around the structure.
Here are important things to know before you and your family take the Adventure Forest challenge:
~ Adventure Forest is for children who are at least five years old or over 44 inches tall. Adults are welcome to climb and play, too!
~ Entry to Adventure Forest is included in the price of your Children’s Museum admission.
~ Parents must accompany minors into the Adventure Forest zone area to get the lowdown on helmets, play rules, and give permission to play.
~ If you have kids younger than five, they are not allowed to climb. There are activities along the ground area of Adventure Forest, plus seating. Also, after checking in your older kids, you can take your little ones to Joy Park’s other fun areas, like water play, the old truck, and a new slide.
~ There are non-secure cubbies to stash your bags/personal items. You cannot carry items up into the climbing areas for safety reasons. Inside the museum, they have lockers you can use for 50 cents.
~ Wear your stretchy pants and shoes you can count on to help you jump and climb.
~ Wear a shirt you can tuck in to your shorts or pants. We noticed that sometimes, when going down the huge slides, people’s shirts would ride up and they’d get a bit of a slide burn, so protect that back when going down.
~ A handy map, with ability levels much like a ski resort map, is posted at the entrance to Adventure Park. It will help you decide what you can handle tackling before you get up there.
Adventure Forest at Joy Park opens on June 3, 2019.
Visit www.mychildsmuseum.org to find more information, hours, prices, and check out all the other amazing exhibits.