Sophie occasionally goes to arts and crafts sessions run by Halo Children Foundation, a local charity which supports bereaved children. One of the aims of Halo is to help provide children with happy memories. As well as the monthly sessions, they also run a weekly gardening club in the spring and summer and arrange various days out and activities for the children. Over the Easter holidays, we enjoyed a morning with other Halo families at Go Ape Black Park exploring the Nets Kingdom.
The Nets Kingdom is an adventure playground high up in the trees, with treehouses linked by netted walkways. There are net areas with huge inflatable balls, and a slide to get you back down to the ground. It sounded like a lot of fun and something that I thought Sophie would enjoy.
The Nets Kingdom can be enjoyed by children as young as a year old, as long as they can walk unaided. Children who are under 6 have to be accompanied by a participating adult (one adult can accompany up to two children under 6) whereas children aged 6-15 have to be supervised by one adult per five children, but the adult can supervise from ground level.
I was glad that hubby was able to take the day off work so that I could go climbing up in the nets with Sophie while he stayed below watching with Thomas. It was nice for me to have a bit of focused time with Sophie too.
We were given different coloured wristbands on arrival – depending on age group and whether we were participating or spectating. Even Thomas’s buggy had to have a coloured band on it! There was a safety briefing before we were let loose on the nets and the time of this was written on our wristbands. The wristbands allowed us to leave the Nets Kingdom area for lunch or toilet breaks. At busy times, the sessions are limited to two hours, although you can stay longer when it is quiet.
I have to admit that climbing up and across the nets was much harder work than I anticipated and made me realise how unfit I am! I could have done with some of Sophie’s energy! She loved being high up on the nets, looking down on Daddy and Thomas far below us.
The inflatable balls area was great fun. Some of them were bigger than Sophie! She loved running around and pushing the giant balls around the nets.
Trying to contort myself through the holes in the nets to climb across to the slide was an interesting experience! Sophie was a little nervous dropping through the holes to climb down on our first go but soon gained confidence. What I didn’t realise was that the entrance for the tunnel leading to the slide was directly below the landing point for one of the holes to climb down until someone dropped down landing on my head. Ouch! Thankfully the net cushioned most of their force and it was more of a shock than anything else. I was a bit more aware of who was climbing down behind us after that!
Sophie loved going down the slide to get to the bottom. I have to confess I was a bit more nervous than she was about it! Sometimes it’s good to be taken out of your comfort zone though. I can’t say I really enjoyed going down the slide, but I did get more confident about it each time we went around.
There were picnic tables down on the ground and a kiosk selling snacks and hot drinks. We’d brought a picnic lunch with us. It was good to be able to stop every so often and have a breather – I needed it, even if Sophie didn’t!
It was lovely to watch Sophie having fun exploring up in trees at the Nets Kingdom and to spend time with other Halo families. I loved being able to have a bit of Mummy-Sophie time too.
Visiting Go Ape Black Park – what you need to know:
Black Park Country Park
Black Park Road
There is a large pay and display car park. Go Ape Black Park has a Treetop Challenge course, Treetop Adventure, Forest Segway and Nets Kingdom. For more information about prices and to book online, visit the Go Ape website.