Everything You Need to Know about the Ropes Course at the Terre Haute Children’s Museum

It’s no secret that we’re loyal fans of the Terre Haute Children’s Museum! (We joined almost 8 years ago when our oldest daughter was just one month old, and rarely a week goes by that we’re not at the museum at least once.) So it’s really no surprise that we were excited to be asked to preview and support the museum’s newest addition–a gigantic, two-story ropes challenge course!

Ropes Challenge Course at the Terre Haute Children’s Museum

Independent Adventures for Children 48″ or Taller

What has us so excited? For starters, this addition for big kids, tweens, and teens came at a great time for our family.

 

Our oldest daughter is entering second grade in the fall, and she’s outgrowing a lot of our beloved museum’s exhibits.

When I first heard about the “ropes course” addition, I confess that didn’t think it would be enough to capture an older child’s long-term attention.

In my mind, a “ropes course” might be an obstacle course that you race through on field day or at a summer camp. However, now that we’ve tried the ropes challenge course for ourselves, I know that my mental image of a ropes course was small, simplistic, and insufficient. I can already tell that the ropes challenge course is an activity that she’ll come back to again and again.

I’m guessing that the ropes course will be most popular with ages 8-12.

In my head, I imagine a perfect little world in which I can hang with our younger daughters (who are nearly six and nearly three) in other parts of the museum while big sis spends an hour or two climbing around. This isn’t a completely far-fetched idea. Since our oldest daughter is taller than 48 inches, she can safely go on the ropes course by herself. And, on the preview night, she spent an hour and a half on the course before we pulled her away.

Our oldest daughter is sold on the course, but what about the rest of us?

Parent + Child Fun for Children Between 42″ and 47″

Let’s spend a minute talking about our kindergartener’s reaction.

Our kindergartener isn’t tall enough to go on the course alone, but she can go with her adults. And for weeks leading up to our media preview night, she had been talking about how excited she was to try it out! But when we got up there, she quickly changed her mind.  If you look at this picture and imagine she’s thinking, “WHY am I up HERE? Get me down NOW,” you’re probably right.

 

Honestly, her reaction didn’t surprise me. Of our three girls, she’s the most cautious.

But I share this with you so that you’re not (as) surprised by your own child’s reaction–whether it be one of bravado or fear.  Approach the ropes course with an open mind and trust that you can try again if the first attempt isn’t what you expected it to be.

With that said, our daughter’s story ended on a high note! She got down, unharnessed, took a break, played in other parts of the museum, and when she had “stopped trembling” (her words, not mine!) she bravely volunteered to try again. Her second attempt was much more fun. When she finished the second time, she proudly told me, “Mommy, I faced my fears!”

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The new #ropescourse at the @thcmuseum blew away my high (ha!) expectations. I think it's going to be a huge draw for big kids and grown ups! As I expected, our second grader was timid at first but ulitmately had to be dragged away, our tot wanted to be out there with big sisters, and our kindergartener was scared to death. (Swipe to see her "I can't-wait-to-get-down" face.) We encouraged her/promised she'd be safe but didn't force her to go any further than she felt comfortable. After she took a break and played for awhile in the pretend play area, she agreed to go out and try it again. She went a little bit further the second time, smiled more, and enjoyed the boost in confidence. She excitedly told me, "I faced my fears, Mommy!" I share this because you may be surprised by your kiddo's reaction. He may love it, or he may be petrified. If your kiddo isn't feeling it, trust that you can try again later because this new exhibit is going to be a centerpiece of the museum for a long, long time!

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I also heard that the museum will eventually be adding stairs that will allow you to start on the lower level. I think this will make my daughter feel much more comfortable because she won’t be up quite so high.

Fun for Adults?

Is the ropes course fun for adults, too?  My husband loves this type of thing and would be the guy who pushes the boundaries of what is and is not acceptable ropes course behavior. For example, swinging out over the edge of The Plank (pictured below) would be something that would tempt my husband. But this would not be acceptable ropes course behavior.

Even though I’m afraid of heights, I had a great time, too. As I told our museum friends Lynn and Jamie, I don’t like heights, but I like having done heights. The thrill of the zipline felt great….once it was over. 😉

It should be noted that my hesitation had nothing to do with safety. The harness system was snug and secure. But logic won’t keep my palms from sweating or my heart from beating fast when I’m up high!

Want to know more about why we think a museum membership is one of the best deals in town?  Click here to read 11 reasons why you’ll love the Terre Haute Children’s Museum. 

Let’s Talk Money

So how much does it cost to have the time of your life in the rafters of the Terre Haute Children’s Museum? Well, if you buy early, you can save money! The Terre Haute Children’s Museum is running a Ropes Challenge Course special that ends on July 31st.  Right now, you can add a ropes course membership to your existing membership for just $35!

You should be able to add the ropes course option online. However, if you have any problems, call the museum (812-235-5548) or plan to upgrade at the front desk the next time you visit the museum.

Not ready to commit? You can pay-to-play at each visit. Museum members without the Ropes Course addition pay the discounted add-on price of $3 while non-members will pay $7. You can find all the details on the Ropes Challenge Course section of the museum’s website.  One important note: Any Ropes Challenge Course ticket – whether it be a membership pass or a day pass — will have unlimited rides for that day

Know Before You Go

So, beyond the “no swinging out over the plank” rule, is there anything else about the Ropes Challenge Course at the Terre Haute Children’s Museum that you should know before you go?

Yes!

For starters, wear the right shoes. Flip flops don’t work well on a zipline. But the good news is, I saw that there are loaner shoes available if you do happen to pop into the museum wearing sandals.

You can see the rest of the rules below. (The arrows are mine to highlight the rules that might be the most applicable to families.)

 

 

All in all, we’re genuinely excited that the Terre Haute Children’s Museum has this new experience to attract visitors and please locals. Features such as these make Terre Haute a wonderful place to live and raise a family.

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