Open Air Adventure Park Estes Park

Estes Park, Colorado, is known as the gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park. But mountains aren’t the only outdoor adventures you can find in this small town. Tucked off highway 36 on the way out to the Beaver Meadows entrance of the park is the compact but surprisingly extensive Open Air Adventure Park.

Open Air Adventure Park is a web of 32 aerial obstacles arranged around a central hub. There are two levels; the lower is 10 feet off the ground, the upper 21. What kind of obstacles? A row of chairs. A suspended canoe. A saddle attached to a zipline. A vertical net to pick your way across. A trail of tires, both vertical and horizontal. There’s even a rappel line to get you quickly from the upper level to the lower, or to ground level. Each element is labeled green, blue, or black to indicate difficulty.

open air adventure park

Open Air Adventure Park Estes Park review:

Your Open Air Adventure lasts an hour and a half and begins with detailed instruction on the safety equipment. A staff member will check everyone’s harness and understanding of procedures on a ground-level mockup of the safety lines you’ll be using up in the matrix. This takes the first fifteen minutes of your time slot, but once you’re cleared, you climb a ladder to level one and are set loose to explore at will.

My oldest son and I have done three aerial adventures now, and what’s nice about Open Air is the freedom to choose your own adventure. If there’s an element you particularly like, you can return to it as often as the crowd allows. The distance across elements is relatively short, so if you’re new to the sport, you might find it less intimidating than launching yourself over a zipline so long, you can’t even see the other end.

Open Air staff members are stationed in several places on the course to monitor safety and help navigate transitions. And of course, the view of the mountains is incomparable.

open air

Age Limits:

Technically, the minimum age is six, but exceptions can be made if a parent is willing to move around the matrix with a five-year-old. In order to explore independently, a child has to be able to hook their carabiners to lines 6 feet above the platform. I needed to shadow (and shepherd) both my 5 year old and my 8 year old, because neither of them could reach the safety lines.

I recommend that if you have small children and/or children who are new to aerial adventures, keep a one-to-one ratio of adult to child. My younger two turned out to be extremely timid, and we ended up causing quite a backlog of people waiting on us to get moving. We also didn’t get to explore as much as I would have liked, because it took them a long time to overcome their fear. A one-to-one ratio will facilitate a more enjoyable experience for everyone.

Either way, minimum weight for participants is 40 pounds, and maximum is 250.

Preparing for your adventure:

Plan to arrive at least 15 minutes early, and be prepared for anything: an Open Air Adventure goes on rain or shine, stopping only for lightning. Wear sunscreen. Gloves are not required, but they’re a good idea. You’ll also need to sign a waiver for yourself and your children (it can all be done on a single form), which can be completed online ahead of time. The Open Air crew loans out lanyards with clear plastic phone cases attached so they are safe on your person while you’re up in the air.

Reservations and Fees:

Tim, one of the owners, told me Open Air tends to be busiest at opening time and in the evenings, but usually it’s less busy around the noon hour. Reservations are made online, with adventures starting every half hour. Fees are refundable with 24 hour notice

An Open Air adventure costs $35 per person, with a discount for parents who come up to shepherd their younger kids around the matrix. Not sure if you can handle the heights? If you try, but can’t make it off the first platform, Open Air offers a “scared out of my mind!” refund of $25.

Location:

Open Air Adventure Park lies at 490 Prospect Village Dr, Estes Park, CO 80517, just behind Fun City, adjacent to Highway 36 (Moraine Ave.). Parking is available on site.

Disclosure: We visited Open Air at a discounted rate, for the purpose of review. All opinion remains our own.

About the author

Kathleen Basi

Freelance writer Kathleen Basi has lived her entire life in “flyover country,” but she’s an old pro at road trips, having taken the first of many extended driving vacations at the tender age of five. She’s a huge proponent of letting kids see and experience the space between “here” and “there.” Find her at http://kathleenbasi.com/blog/.

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