We spent a day with the good people of Zoar Outdoor Adventures while guests at Mount Snow family camp. One of our excursions at the camp was to head to the Harriman Reservoir for some water adventure.
Zoar employees were on hand at the lake to provide paddle and kayak training as well as supervision. They came to the lake prepared with the boards, kayaks and life vests. After some group instructions they helped us put the equipment in the water for some test runs.
Kids of all ages joined in on the fun. While it was a bit windy of a day for best control even for adults, the staff of the camp and Zoar quickly came to the rescue of any stranded paddler. Some staffers helped combine two boards together and towed the kiddies around. Others children had fun racing around in the kayaks. Adults got into the fun trying their hand at paddle boarding and gave some of their kid’s rides on the boards.
Paddle boarding was not as hard as I expected. I thought the balance aspect of the activity would be far greater than it actually was. What was difficult however was steering and paddling against the wind. I imagine those skills come with more practice.
Zoar was very accommodating to the children and adults in our large group. I would have likes to see a bit more instruction prior to using the equipment. Additonal supervison heading into the water would also have been helpful.
Disclosure: Our family was provided an outing with Zoar Explore as guests of Mount Snow Family camp. I was not required to provide any specific opinion and all opinions are my own.
My four and five year old enjoyed this trail first thing in the morning; it took us about an hour and a half for the whole loop. It is slightly rocky in places and, of course, uphill most of the way to the summit. We saw kids of all ages on the trail, but most kids under the age of three were in a backpack carrier of some sort.
There are numbers along the trail that correspond to a trail guide that you can pick up at the trail head. We did read through what the trail guide had to say, but it wasn't very interesting. My kids really enjoyed finding the numbers though.
The view from the top is amazing! Be sure to watch your young children as you approach the top though as there is nothing preventing them from climbing over the rocks at the cliff's edge.
Part of the trail follows the Appalachian Trail which is pretty cool - now my kids and I can say that we've hiked part of the Appalachian Trail.
This is a great family-friendly trail. It's very close to Skyland Resort and the highest point on the Skyline Drive.
We recently visited the aerial ropes course, Ramblewild as guests of Mount Snow Family Camp. This tree course is amazing. It was recently opened at the beginning of the summer of 2014 and everything is top notch. We have been to a few courses like this before but I have to say the planning, obstacles and safety here are the best.
We arrived as a large group and they were well-prepared for us. There were a number of employees on hand to help us into our gear and explain the basics. We were then divided into to groups to undergo our ground school training. During this time we were not high in the tree, rather close to the ground to get a feel for how the double clip in system worked.
Upon successful completion we were allowed to meet at the hub of the course. Essentially all courses leave from the main hub almost like the center of a spider web. The staff here assesses what you are capable of then direct you to a specific trail. Easy trails (yellow) come first for younger kids and skittish adults. Par for the course our kids passed us in ability almost immediately. They had very little fear. Some of the obstacles on the next level up green trails included a saddle than spans a gorge, a snowboard that flies tree to tree and a leap of faith that really required a bit of gumption from me. I had to jump off a platform 25 feet in the air for a bit of free fall until the rope took over. Employees on the ground were cheering me on as my husband snapped the shots for posterity. Of course the kids said it was easy!
After lunch I decided I was brave enough to try a blue trail since I had sufficiently psyched myself through the easy trails. The staff assured me that the intermediate trails (blue) were required more physical strength than mental gusto so I was willing to try it. As luck would have it a freak thunderstorm blew in to put a damper on my machismo. It was actually hailing. The staff with their walkie-talkies had us down out of the trees and into shelter in about 5 minutes. Unfortunately there is a ½ hour wait after each clap of thunder so we had to call it a day. I’ll be back.
It is a bit of a hike from the parking lot to the course. While it is not difficult, it is unexpected. However the hike brings you into pristine woodland forest.
Like anywhere some staff are more likeable than others. I found myself listening to the encouraging voice more than the one who might have been irritated with my tentativeness.
Children must be old and strong enough to clip in. My nine year old had a bit of a struggle with height at some of the obstacles. She just wasn’t tall enough to clip. While the staff was getting ready to climb up and help her I decided to zip on over myself to save them the hassle. Advise: adult should follow younger children. Children should be at least 7 and 55 inches tall. While she is 56 inches tall, her arms must be short.
Currently there are only port a potties on site. They will be building facilities in the near future.
Trails are rated up through double black diamond. Yikes!
Tickets are good for 3 hours.
Active service people and veterans are allowed discounted rates at certain times
This is a sustainable forest project. They take nature very seriously here. They speak for the trees!
Disclosure: My family and I visited as complimentary guests of Mount Snow Family Camp. We were not required to provide any specific opinion and all opinions are my own.
I wasn't really impressed by this small children's museum. However, once it cleared out for the afternoon, my 4 and 5 year old enjoyed playing here for an hour or so.
We had free admission due to the Blue Star Museum program for active duty military. If you have a special deal or membership and are exploring downtown Charlottesville with toddlers or preschoolers, this small museum is worth it - otherwise probably not.
The museum was a mess when we first arrived in the early afternoon. Kids and parents had not cleaned up and there was no staff available for this purpose. There was nothing at all to do in the art room and my five year old girl was pretty disappointed about that.
There is a room with a car ramp, train table, and pioneer cabin. The pioneer cabin is in good shape - everything else not so much. In the front area there is a ball maze powered by air - it was very, very popular. We almost missed the back room. It's accessed through a long hallway. There are lots of pretend play stations back there: a stage, doctors office, Panera Bread, post office and fire station. We were disappointed that most of the dress up clothes were toddler-size, very dirty and mostly in poor condition.
The location is amazing. They validate parking. There is a small carousel that can be spun by parents outside. There were so many people around it when I first saw it that I thought it was a real carousel, and we'd need tickets. But, no, it is tiny and powered by parents pushing it. The kids loved it.
The rangers here are, of course, wonderful and able to recommend hikes for all ages.
It was strange that they were closing at 5PM during the summer. The place was busy and full when they closed at 5PM
There is a well maintained exhibit on the history of the park here. There is nothing at all interactive. I'm not sure that the subject matter or how it is presented would interest children of any age.
We didn't go to any ranger programs. There was a schedule outside the door.