Skip to main content

Heightened Excitement - Bradenton treetop course challenges body and mind endurance

Jan 01, 2016 12:20PM ● Published by Kevin

In a state as flat as Florida, a couch potato gets climbing exercises by driving interstate entry ramps.

But for adventure-seekers there are views and challenges from above. The TreeUmph! nature course in Bradenton is Southwest Florida’s only elevated park. Visitors strapped into a secure harness stand atop a 14-acre rope course in the trees, either zip-lining, walking or climbing obstacles between platforms.

It is incredibly fun and exhilarating.

It may sound easy―until facing multiple challenging situations from up to 60 feet in the air. Jason Pitsas, operations manager at TreeUmph!, says many visitors imagine the course as just zip-lining. “Most [visitors],” he says, “are surprised of the scale of what we have and how many elements the park has.”

DSC_0151TreeUmph! is a series of wobbly bridges, hanging nets, bungee swings, swinging logs and foot bridges. The key to navigating the course is following rules. Visitors watch an instructional video, learn park rules and understand safety procedures before latching to harnesses. Knowing you’re in control is what makes the trip so much fun.

TreeUmph! is structured to slowly lead climbers into more challenging heights and levels. Pitsas explains that there are five adult courses. Visitors start at the demonstration course, which is only four feet off the ground. The first course is 15 feet up, rising in 10-foot increments as the courses advance. And if you did the math, by the time you get to the last course, you will be 50 to 60 feet (six stories) in the air balancing on wobbly bridges and telling yourself don’t look down but, of course, you do anyway. As climbers tackle each obstacle, they will have to take their own physical capacity into consideration, especially once they get to the Lead and Summit courses.

Steve and Jennifer Hargis have made repeated visits to TreeUmph! Steve Hargis finds the course challenges a great motivation to stay in shape and keep his fitness level up. “You get better and better at it, every time,” he says.

DSC_0101The first time the couple visited they could only get to course 3. Then Steve made it all the way through the second visit, while Jennifer only felt ready for course 4 and 5 after six trips to the nature park. “I just said, ‘You know what, I’m going to look at the obstacles, and I’m going to accomplish this today,’” she says of proudly ringing a bell at the end of the final Tarzan rope challenge.

Park guide Mary Moora ensures that all the climbers are safe and sound. She says less than half of the climbers get through courses 4 and 5 because those are the greatest physical and mental challenges. At all times there are 10 to 14 guides on the ground ready to help anyone who has difficulty moving on. Guides have standard first aid and CPR certification, and the training to be able to handle every situation, give advice or help climbers descend if needed, Moora says.

DSC_0086Treeumph! welcomed its first climbers in January 2013 and is planning to open a second location in Hernando County in late 2016. The idea of Treeumph! Adventure Course was originated in Europe, where it was a popular outdoor activity in France and Germany. Zip-lining, in fact, has been in use for centuries to deliver supplies and mail in remote mountainous regions. When the concept first crossed the Atlantic, it landed in Canada, then in 2007 in upstate New York as the first U.S. aerial adventure park.

TreeUmph! owners Aaron and Kathy Corr saw the opportunity in introducing the park to Southwest Florida, and they couldn’t be happier with the decision. “We had seen a park built by the same builders in Canada,” Kathy says. “We loved the concept and enjoyed the course and thought it would be great to do ourselves.”

It’s been rewarding seeing climbers accomplish the courses and hear their feedback, she says, adding: “Many folks love the challenge and many tell us that they were able to overcome their fear of heights due to the gradual increase in height as they progress through the courses.”

Written by Klaudia Balogh, an editorial assistant for TOTI Media.

If You Go

  • Dress in comfortable outdoor clothing, closed-toe shoes and no dangling jewelry.
  • Children, junior, adult and senior ticket options.
  • Excellent family and office team-building activity.
  • Disabled person options.
  • Rain and shine recreation.
  • Waivers must be submitted.
  • 855-322-2130, treeumph.com
Local Living, Travel featured Mary Moora Steve and Jennifer Hargis TreeUmph!
  • Sunday Farmers Market

    09/24/2017
    08:30AM — 01:00PM

    Meet in the Historic Settlement of Koreshan State Historic Site at our quaint market EVERY SUNDAY...


  • FineMark Exhibtion of FGCU Art Alumni

    09/24/2017
    09:00AM — 04:00PM

    From July 10 - September 29, 2017, Finemark National Bank and Trust will be displaying the work o...


  • Explore the Koreshan Unity Settlement Historic District, listed on the National Register of Histo...


  • Family Day at Millennial Brewing

    09/24/2017
    12:00PM — 05:00PM

    We have the perfect place to grab some food and a drink while the kids play, meet new friends, an...


  • Drawing I & II

    09/24/2017
    02:00PM — 04:00PM

    This class is for beginners and for those who have previously taken Drawing I. We will also revis...


  • SPECIAL TIME!!! HAPPY HOUR and Doors OPEN at 4:45pm, GAME Starts at 5:30pm SPECIAL MILITARY RA...


  • "ALOHA" FAASWFL Hawaiian Night

    09/24/2017
    06:00PM — 10:00PM

    The Filipino American Association of SWFL proudly presents it' Annual ALOHA Hawaiian Night on Sep...


  • FineMark Exhibtion of FGCU Art Alumni

    09/25/2017
    09:00AM — 04:00PM

    From July 10 - September 29, 2017, Finemark National Bank and Trust will be displaying the work o...


  • Sanibel Shell Crafters

    09/25/2017
    10:00AM — 03:00PM

    Visit The Sanibel Shell Crafters every Monday all year long from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. to watch this d...


  • Mirror, Mirror... Exhibition

    09/25/2017
    10:00AM — 05:00PM

    Mirror, Mirror… September 1 - 28, 2017 Opening Reception: Friday, September 1, 2017, 6pm-8pm C...


  • Complete original art while enjoying friends, music and favorite beverages. Materials provided, o...


  • Ballroom Dancing

    09/25/2017
    06:30PM — 09:30PM

    USA Dance offers beginning Ballroom Dance Lessons and a Social Dance on Monday nights. The lesson...


  • Caloosahatchee Sunset Cruise

    09/25/2017
    07:00PM

    Relaxing environment as the sun is setting, the shoreline and river elements taking on a differen...


  • National Estuaries Day

    09/30/2017
    09:00AM — 04:00PM

    Join us for our FREE annual celebration of the 29 estuarine research reserves around the nation. ...


  • Free Admission on National Estuaries Day

    09/30/2017
    09:00AM — 04:00PM

    The Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve is hosting a National Estuaries Day celebrati...


Proudly Brought To You By These Community Sponsors