A trip to Skywood Eco Adventure Park in south eastern Ontario is a chance to connect with your inner child – climbing trees, playing in the forest and hollering like Tarzan as you zip line through the forest. Once complete, Skywood Eco Adventure Park will be the largest zip line and adventure course of its kind in North America, boasting the first fully accessible zip line for adventurers with assistive and adaptive devices. I went behind the scenes prior to Skywood’s grand opening and have 8 tips to help you make the most of your tree top adventure.
Book online ahead of time
If you’re visiting the 1000 Islands and thinking of including Skywood in your stay, it’s best to book your tour online a head of time. The Zip Line tour can accommodate a maximum of 8 people per time slot whereas the Adventure Courses can accommodate a maximum of 30 people per time slot. Walk ups are welcome and the Skywood team will get you out on the course as close to your preferred time as possible. When you’re booking online, print out and sign the waiver to speed up your sign in on that day of your tour.
Tours run on time, rain or shine
Tours at Skywood start on time, so if you have booked a 9:00 a.m. Adventure Course tour, plan to arrive at least 20 minutes before then to hand in your waivers, apply bug spray and sunscreen and use the washroom. And tours run rain or shine! In fact, it rained while I was out on the course, adding an extra challenge (and a lot of fun) to the experience. Tours will be stopped for at least 30 minutes if there is thunder or lightning.
Skywood really does have something for everyone
It’s not just the size of the park that means that there is something for everyone here, but it’s the attention to detail in each of the obstacles and the attentiveness and patience of the staff that ensures that ensure you get to the most the park. The day I visited, a 77-year-old gentleman in my group talked about how much he couldn’t wait to come back to Skywood! Keep in mind the minimum height and age requirements and maximum weight restriction.
Bring snacks and plenty of water
At the time of my visit, Skywood didn’t have water or snacks for purchase and potable water is not available on site. Navigating the aerial trek course is physically demanding and you’ll get thirsty and work up an appetite, so bring snacks and water. This is especially important if you will be bringing children – nothing can derail family travel like tiny hungry tummies. Eating is not permitted on the courses, but there are picnic tables around The Nest for you to take a break at.
Skywood is a mental and a physical challenge
The Adventure Course is described by Skywood as a series of aerial games and puzzles, which it really is. Each of the 64 elements on the course require clever thinking to navigate, and the games get tougher at you advance through the levels. At the end of the Heron Intermediate Course, aerial trekkers will step off a platform 35 feet above the ground and (while safely harnessed in) drop to the forest floor. It may sound easy, unless you consider the fact that your brain is hardwired to keep you from wanting the step off a platform from that height.
Leave your expensive DLSR at home
Set in the heart of the mixed forests of the 1000 Island region, Skywood is stunning, but leave your expensive camera at home. The both the Zip Line and Adventure tours require the use of both hands, leaving your DSLR to swing freely around your neck (and against the trees and other obstacles on the courses). You’re often at least 10-30 feet above the ground – a long fall for camera.
Wear long shorts and stiff soled shoes
There’s no easy way to say this: the harnesses as Skywood are very good at keeping you safe, but they aren’t the most comfortable things to wear and they tend to ride up (if you catch my drift). Wear long shorts or capris to avoid having the harness rub against your legs. Park regulations instruct visitors to wear closed-toe shoes, but I’m going further and suggesting you wear stiff soled shoes (think: hiking boots and trail running shoes rather than sneakers). The stiff soles will help you on Adventure games that have you climbing on ropes.
Take your time and enjoy the outdoors
When you arrive at Skywood, your instinct might be to rush through the Beginner and Intermediate level aerial trek courses so that you can tackle Vulture, the Advanced course. Slow down and take your time on each of the courses and even repeat your favourite a few times, thinking of new ways to approach an obstacle. Combination packages including both zip line and aerial trek course can be purchased, but my advice is to enjoy your time at Skywood at a pace that feels comfortable to you – and then plan to come back again. I know I’m already planning my repeat visit.
Skywood Eco Adventure Park: Know before you go
Address: 1278 Thousand Islands Parkway, Mallorytown, Ontario (north side of the parkway, opposite Brown’s Bay Day Use Beach)
Cost for Adventure Courses: Adults 16+ $45 / Youth 12-15 $41 / Child 9-11 $36
Cost for Zip Line Tour: Adults 16+ $45 / Youth 12-15 $41
Cost for Discovery Courses: Adults or youth 9+ $25 / Child 5-8 $20 / Supervisor of children 5-8 $8
Add a Zip Line Tour to your Adventure Course: $30 (this can only be booked by calling 844-470-4947)
Book online: skywoodzip.com
Food: Currently there isn’t food or water for purchase as Skywood and potable water is not on site. Plan to bring extra water and snacks to keep your energy levels up!
Washrooms: There is one accessible port-o-potty and one washroom trailer with a flush toilet and running water. Use the bathroom as soon as you get to Basecamp and before you head out on the course. Additional washroom facilities will be added over the summer.