[Update Sept. 23: The grand opening of the treetop adventure course has been postponed until Sunday due to the weather.]
There was no monkey business for a group of Essex County Patch Editors that swung across tress at Essex County Turtle Back Zoo's newest exhibit: the Treetop Adventure Course.
Members of the media were invited on Monday for a sneak peek of the county's aerial obstacle course and zipline slated to open to the public on Saturday.
The roughly three-acre space includes two aerial courses that each contain 12 obstacles. Each course finishes with a zipline that brings you back down to ground level.
With the course reaching a maximum height of 35 feet, guests are required to wear a harness and a helmet, and are encouraged to wear comfortable shoes.
The entire adventure course takes an average of an hour-and-a-half to complete but visitors have the option of finishing after the first 12 obstacles and zipline.
Ground guides help visitors navigate the course by yelling words of encouragement and instruction from below — where to hold, where to step and how to keep going.
The project took about two months to build and is part of the according to Dr. Jeremy Goodman, the zoo's director.
Contrary to other ziplines and treetop courses in the country, Essex County's course is the only one in the nation to use the "Safe Roller" Swiss product, that "takes human error out of the picture," according to Goodman. The product replaces the double click system that is used in other sites across the country.
Twelve employees, that have been trained to manage the course, will staff the exhibit at all times.
Goodman said the course will close during heavy storms, high winds or lightning. Maintenance will occur daily, weekly and monthly.
Admission fees are $20 a person but visitors must be less than 250 lbs and taller than 54". For now, the exhibit will only open on weekends at 10 a.m. and close an hour before sunset.