Forest Adventure Tree Top Course: Challenging One's Limits and Having Fun
Published 03 August 2017 at 21:11
Meet our amazing Test Patrol mom, Selena Tay, an ex - teacher who is currently a SAHM holding ad-hoc teaching jobs, who’s a wife to a teacher husband and a mother to 3 lovely children, Sharilyn Gui (10 years old), Geralyn Gui (4.5 years old) and Skyler Gui (11 months old). With both husband and wife believing more in character building and values teaching over academic results, they live up to their 'mission' to ensure that their kids enjoy their childhood instead of being caught in the rat race. Believing that kids learn best through play and with a healthy mind and body, they are actively checking out various go-to websites for active families, including TickiKids, for the events and activities happening around Singapore every weekend, Public Holiday, and school holidays, and diligently bringing the kids out to different types of activities.
Selena has kindly shared her impressions about Forest Adventure Tree Top Course with us after visiting it with her little ones. So if you are thinking about checking out this place, Selena’s review will definitely help you make your family’s experience as hassle-free and fun as possible:
1. Getting to the location:
Knowing the venue and area beforehand, we knew the venue is not exactly accessible by MRT. You would need to get a bus or taxi from the MRT still. Whether by bus or car, you would need to take a 10 minutes’ walk from the bus stop / car park A to the venue (so you need to factor this in to reach the venue 15 minutes before your booking time, to fill up the disclaimer forms, be tagged, and attend the safety briefing, which is done only after putting on the safety harness and helmet, and at the Practice Course area). If driving using GPS, DO NOT use the postal code of Forest Adventure itself, you would be led somewhere else (that’s what happened to my friend, who ended up arriving 10 minutes late, and the staff immediately updated their website info under Find Us, By Car). Use the postal code for “Aquarius by the Park Condominium” on 1 Bedok Reservoir View S478926, and Car Park A is just opposite.
The walk in from Car Park A (where we alighted from the taxi) was easy; the clear signs to Forest Adventure placed along the way were easy to follow. As given in the instructions for Getting There in the confirmation slip, it is suggested that you make a pit stop at the washroom situated just after Water Venture, prior to reaching Forest Adventure, as you would be there and wearing the harness for about 1 - 2 hours (depending on the speed you go on the obstacles) and there are NO toilet facilities at all at their site.
You won’t miss the big Forest Adventure logo painted on the side of the ticketing counter shed, facing the path that you are walking in from. Situated within the picturesque Bedok Reservoir Park, the venue was calm and peaceful when we first arrived at 2.50 p.m. The staff attended to our booking promptly. We were told to fill the disclaimer form (which does not require any NRIC or BC No., unlike the usual ones), get the 10 y.o. child tagged, and proceed to the benches for the safety briefing. At the ticketing office shed area, there are several vending machines for drinks ($2 for mineral water or canned drinks, $5 for Forest Adventure bottle) and snacks (from $0.80 to $2.00). In front of the ticketing counter shed, there are 4 wooden tables and benches under a big umbrella shade, and 3 rows of unsheltered benches for the safety briefing, all facing the obstacle courses just beside the waters of Bedok Reservoir. Place is shady from all the trees around and was breezy too despite the hot sun that came after the showers in the earlier afternoon. No signs of mosquitoes around us, who went without any insect repellent or patches.
The place bustled with more activity and noises when the next group of 8 kids and many parents arrived for their slots at 3.30 p.m., while those at the 3.00 p.m. slot were still on their second and third rounds on the Kids Course. Hence, there was a maximum of 16 pax on the 2 levels of the Kids Course and several more parents on the ground, cheering and encouraging their kids on and taking photographs and videos of their kids. More activity continued when another group of adults were there for the Grand Course beside the Kid Course (all the 3 courses have the entry points at the same area, but going towards different directions. The Junior Course meant for min 11 y.o. and min 1.45 m is not open yet, and the zipline going across the waters in the reservoir for the Grand Course has not reopened yet).
2. What’s in there for kids?
The 10 y.o. kid liked all the challenging obstacles, especially the Talloires Crossing, which they have to cross from one swinging board to another, which was a stretch for her courage. The view of the sparkling and shimmering waters in the Bedok Reservoir was nice from above. Nice breeze up there which added a bit more adventure with the wind blowing on her face and shaking the obstacles a bit more.
There was also a sign label for each of the obstacle they are attempting, so my 10 y.o. was happily reading the names on the labels and shouting it down to me to jot down the names:
Practice Course (not sure if there were proper names)
1. Wooden Planks Crossing
2. Mini Zipline
1. Miller's Stairs (LHS)
2. Indian Bridge
3. Flying Carpet
4. Net Tunnel
5. Half Tic Tac Toe
6. High Fairy Bridge
7. Bedok Bridge
8. Trapper's Crossing
9. Chess Crossing
10. Zip Slide (LHS)
Level 2 (You need to go up Miller's Stairs again and come down by Zip Slide, both side by side to those for Level 1, and the rest of the obstacles are above those for Level 1)
1. Miller's Stairs (RHS)
2. Aravis Crossing
3. High Tibetan Bridge
4. Needwood Crossing
5. (a zig zag blanks but no name label sign found)
6. Stepping Stone
7. Half Criss Crossing
8. Talloire's Crossing
9. Spider's Web
10. Zip Slide (RHS)
The 5.5 y.o. liked the confidence that was provided at the Practice Course (how to put on the safety pulley onto the wires and moving it along as they move, crossing from one plank to another plank, and a mini zipline, all at a lower level from the ground, where the instructors and parents can reach them). With the confidence achieved, the usual scaredy cat went up on Level 1 of the Kids Course all by herself, unaccompanied by parent.
Of course, both of them claimed that the Zip Slides were the most fun part of the Kids Course, ending each round (they were given 3 rounds each) on the course with a "flying-down" moment, with arms stretched out in joy.
The 4 y.o. kid (below the safety height limit of 1.1 m) who could not take part in the activity was happy to just watch and cheer the older kids up above her. She enjoyed her time there walking around, playing with the bubbles she brought along, and playing with the many pebbles, sticks and lots of sand on the ground around the shady area within the briefing area and Kids Course area.
3. What’s in there for parents?
Parents who are accompanying their kids below 7 y.o. could take photographs up there with a nicer view, while supervising their kids. Parents with kids above 7 y.o. were watching them from below, taking photographs and videos. Those that came as a whole group together only had 2 parents supervising, while the other parents sat at the sheltered seats.
As a parent who values safety most, what I liked is the harness and pulleys look new and well-maintained. The obstacles were also safe enough for the kids as young as 5 y.o. to manage on their own, and a minimum height of 1.1 m was required for the safety reason (they can’t reach their pulley on the top line without the height). There is also a Practice Course slightly above ground level for the instructor to conduct the safety briefing and demonstrate how to use the safety pulley and how to move it along, before the kids have a go at the planks crossing and mini zipline.
If the kid is unable to attempt the obstacles, they will call off the session for that kid, and give them a return voucher at a later date when the child is ready. However, the kids were pretty much left on their own once they are up on the Kids Course, unguided and unsupervised by the instructors (which we only realized later, that it is stated in the FAQ). The 3 instructors who did the initiation briefing course with the 3 p.m. slot, went on to take charge of the 3.30 p.m. and 4.00 p.m. groups, when they came, so supervision from the ground is mainly done by the parents, who may need to give advice on how to move around to complete the obstacle. (E.g. on the Spider's Web, my 10 y.o. was struggling to cross while walking on the ropes of the web, without realizing that she was supposed to walk on the wire below the net).
There also wasn't tight supervision that the kids follow the safety rules up there (max 3 on the wooden platforms between obstacles and 1 at a time on the obstacles itself) as the group of 8 kids who came together in the next session were moving at high speeds, chasing up and pressuring the slower ones in front of them, and they even had 3 of them on one of the ropes at one point in time.
It was also a bit confusing as they did not inform that the 22 obstacles were actually split up among the Practice Course and 2 levels of the Kids Course. The kids were given 3 rounds on the Kids Course, and we initially thought that there were 3 levels or it was 3 times on one continuous course. It was later that we realised that it takes 2 rounds of play to complete the obstacles on Level 1 and Level 2, and they can choose to repeat either one of them as the 3rd round. Also, they made the 5.5 y.o. do Level 1 twice (almost 3 times), before saying that she can only do Level 2 if accompanied by a parent. Thankfully, my friend checked and accompanied her 5.5 y.o. on Level 2 of the Kids Course. Sense of satisfaction was great after challenging her own limits.
5. Why is Forest Adventure Tree Top Course worth visiting?
1. It is a real mini adventure in the forest, as the name Forset Adventure suggests.
2. It is challenging one's own limits in a picturesque setting.
3. It is a good parent - child bonding activity for accompanying parent with kids below 7 y.o. (but friend feedback that the height was too low for her so she would need to bend down a bit as she moved along, so it might be tougher for even taller parents).
4. The Zip Slides are the best part of the course!
Images provided by Tay Mui Keng