As part of our whirlwind family with teens review weekend in the Mount Washington Valley of New Hampshire, we had the good fortune to spend a few hours at Monkey Trunks on Route 16 in Chocorua, NH. If you’ve got teens or tweens (or moms and dads) that are looking for a challenge and an adrenaline rush this is the place to go. Located about a half hour drive south of North Conway, Monkey Trunks will test your limits in a safe, supervised and incredibly fun setting. Our teen gave it an A+ and says she has to go back!
Set on a former farm, the site features the amazing 3-level 25 foot tall Discovery high ropes course, complete with zip line and 40-foot drop zone. Nearby, the 65 foot high Jungle Course offers dozens of challenges even higher in the air. A low ropes Mini Monkey course is suitable for toddlers and pre-schoolers or anyone else who isn’t big on heights.
We were impressed with the emphasis on safety. All participants view a training film and are carefully fitted with their harness and safety ropes. Ground school, which involves the participant demonstrating they understand the basics at a height of 18 inches is required for everyone.
For those 12 and under, a continuous transfer safety rope system is used in the Discovery and Mini Monkey Courses to ensure that they never become detached from the safety cables. Continuous transfer systems are the only type used in the higher Jungle Course. Those 13 and older can opt for the manual transfer system in the Discovery Course if parents and safety staff are confident the teen can follow the safety protocol, which requires verbal and visual confirmation with staff every time a line is disconnected from the system and transferred to a new cable. Safety staff are aloft in the Discovery and Mini Monkey areas at all times and monitoring the Jungle Zone from the ground.
Once safety and ground training were over, it didn’t take our teen very long to start acting like a monkey. The rope bridges, swinging walkways, overhand Tarzan style ropes, zipline, giant rope swing and drop zone were all right up her alley. She’s the kind of teen that loves a physical and mental challenge. Using the manual transfer system she was able to scamper all over the Discovery Course to test her limits.
She did it all! Although the first time was a little scary, she came back several times for the 25 foot drop on the giant swing and even jumped screaming off the 40-foot drop zone — but came up smiling every time. She also opted to explore the 65 foot high Jungle Course that includes 27 different high altitude obstacles including a walk across dangling tires, inching along a tightrope and scaling a life size spider web amid the treetops. If you are successful the descent is another 40 foot drop.
Our teen has the stamina and loves the adrenaline rush enough that she could have stayed all day (a $99 day pass is available for kids like her). However, we were really impressed at the range of adults, kids, teens and tweens that were testing their skills high overhead. The 2-hour $45 daily pass is a good bet for many and provides access to both the Discovery and Jungle Zones. Mini Monkey access for 2 hours is $35. Weekly passes for $199 are available if you are staying in the area for a while and have teens with a lot of energy to burn!
Although we could have participated, or just tried out the Mini Monkey low ropes course, mom and dad opted to be spectators for this event. We took advantage of the front row view under umbrella tables in the spectator area. Spectators are also allowed in the top of the 40 foot tall Drop Zone tower if you want to climb the stairs. This is a great vantage point for taking ariel photos.
Monkey Trunks is owned and operated by the Ives family. Entering its third year, it is clear the initial emphasis has been on building a large, safe and challenging facility and providing solid safety gear and supervision. The nicely renovated farmhouse includes offices, modern clean bathrooms, some vending machines, free WiFi and a comfortable indoor waiting room. The barn area serves as the main gear storage area and safety training zone. The grounds are still rustic and there is room for a few more creature comforts like a snack bar, a little more spectator shade, and paved parking as the business grows. If you plan to stay all day bring a cooler with lunch as there are no restaurants nearby.
Monkey Trunks does a great job balancing physical and mental challenges with safety. Its a great outdoor family activity that will have your teens and tweens clamouring for more.
Our complimentary pass to Monkey Trunks was arranged by the Mount Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce. Our accepting the pass in no way obligated us to provide a positive review. All opinions in this article are totally our own. For links to more information about our visit to New Hamphsire’s Mount Washington Valley, check out our Mount Washington Valley Top 10 – Summer Edition article.