For most of us, everyday life is too sedentary, office-based, grey. It’s an everyday struggle to break the cycle of kids playing in their digital worlds. What they really ought to be doing, perhaps, is climbing trees. No wonder that people are searching for outdoor adventures, in parks and in forests everywhere. Hence the popularity of Go Ape (in UK and US), Le Grand Defi in France, and Zipworld in USA amongst many others.
This summer we holidayed in Ibiza, my ‘happy place’. Opposite our hotel, in the dusty pine forest of S’Argamassa, is Acrobosc Ibiza, Ibiza’s answer to the aerial world of zip wires and wobbly bridges. Two years ago (our last holiday there; we are creatures of routine) the children tried it out and loved it. This year, Lydia was old enough to go on the hardest route and, in one week’s stay, spent two evenings there, the second time with her brother. I cannot compare Acrobosc to any other park that offers this type of activity, all I can do is say how much the children enjoyed it, and how it’s such a tranquil way to spend an evening in such picturesque surroundings. You know, Ibiza is not always what you think it is!
There is a small but friendly team who look after you when you arrive, welcoming you and booking you in according to age and experience (the wonderful character Christine), then training you up with the safety guidelines (Dani and Toni) and of course coming to rescue you if you have any crisis of confidence or get yourself twisted up (either mentally or physically). From our breakfast table in the mornings, we would watch these two guys sailing through the air, checking each zip wire and each ladder as a daily routine. In a place like this, you really have to take safety seriously, and it was evident that they did, when for instance Lydia had to undergo the safety briefing and practical for a second time, despite having been there only a few days earlier.
Of course, adults can take part too, and so can the smallest children from 3 years old. I was not personally tempted to join in, being no fan of heights or adventure at my grand age, but it’s a great bonding situation for adults who wish to do it alongside their children. It was also lovely to watch my own kids concentrating hard on the rules they had been taught, especially around the safety risks, and overcoming their own challenges about how to approach the different circuits (also, to notice the difference in them from two years ago, when I hadn’t found it so pleasant to watch them either). And you could see the joy and fun in their faces when they came zooming down to earth on the zip lines.
I talked to the owner, Frenchman Jean-Pierre, and promised to post some photographs of our time there to try to get some of you to go to Acrobosc if you ever find yourself in the area. I mean, how often are you guaranteed weather like this when you plan an outing to Go Ape in the UK? You can click on any of the photos to see them more closely. Just look at this beautiful environment to climb amongst nature! And it’s only five minutes from the beach!