Category Archives: Nonsense

‘Tis the season to find fun winter activities

About Go Ape

‘Tis the season to be jolly. And so you should be.

Not too long now and you’ll be waking up with a stocking filled with gifts by your bed and presents under your tree. We’re still gutted that we don’t get gifts under every tree in the forest on Christmas morning – we’ve asked, but Santa doesn’t take any notice.

Brrrr! It’s pretty chilly this time of year, but how can you make the most of the lovely British winter? Here are our top tips for making the most of the crisp Christmas climate.

Look local

DeerChristmas means something different to everyone. But, whether you live in the big city, or your home is in a village so quiet that you sometimes feel like you’re in an episode of Midsummer Murders (minus the murder of course), there are plenty of ways to celebrate and things to do. Keep a beady eye on local noticeboards, forums and papers to find the best activities nearby.

Ice skating

Vroom. Glide like you’ve never glided before with some ice skating. Most cities cater to the flock of migrating tourists by setting up a temporary ice rink in the winter months. This is the perfect time for you to dust off your skates and get back into everyone’s favourite winter pastime.

Christmas markets

This little shed went to market, this little shed went too, and all the people came, to buy some things… for you. Christmas markets have such a wonderful atmosphere. They also have mulled wine. Mmmm. Christmas markets are often packed to bursting with local businesses that have something interesting to offer. Whether it’s home-grown chilli or a local mince pie recipe, you can get to know your local traders a little better at a seasonal market stall, as well as find tasty treats to tide you over until Christmas.


Deck the halls with Christmas spirit. Tra la la la la, la la la la.

What could be more scenic that carollers singing away complete with a flickering candle and your favourite merry tunes? Whether you join in or just go to watch, carols are an important part of Christmas.

Tree Top Junior in WinterWinter walks

Autumn has been showing off for the last few months, flaunting its leaves around like nobody’s business, so now it’s time to give winter some love. Take a walk in your local forest and appreciate the beauty of bare trees and winter fauna. Perhaps grab a camera and take some snaps, or even a selfie – #nature.

Snow thing like Christmas

Snow: every year it’s what we hope for, it’s what we long for. From snowball fights to making a snow-ape, there are so many ways you can play with snow. You could even get your sled out and zoom down your nearest hill (carefully of course). We personally like to take this rare opportunity to make a herd of snow creatures great and small. Then, when we go to bed, we wish them alive (you’ve seen The Snowman, right?) We know it’s unlikely, but we can’t resist rooting for a miracle. After all, it’s Christmas.

Anyway, Merry Chrimbo to you and your little apes from the whole Go Ape team. We’ll see you in the treetops in the New Year!

Art Attack…Go Ape style!

Monkey art pulp fiction

Fancy yourself an art aficionado? Well, what if we were to tell you that some of the world’s most famous art works have been taken over…by apes!?

A number of creative folk thought it would be fun to monkey around with some classic works of art, removing the original characters and replacing with apes! Not even da Vinci escaped this ape invasion – and we’re already debating which painting would work best as a centrepiece in BananaHQ!

Monkey Lisa

mona lisa monkey ape













Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa painting has been hailed as “the best known, the most visited, the most written about, the most sung about, the most parodied work of art in the world.” Everyone from captain Jack Sparrow to Edward Scissorhands and Kim Kardashian has been photoshopped in place of poor old Lisa, but this one gets our vote (of course).


Gorilla with the pearl earring

Gorilla with the pearl earring













This one’s a parody of Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring painting. A couple of years ago, Dutch astrophysicist Vincent Icke raised doubts about the earring’s material, arguing that it looks more like polished tin than pearl. All we know is that the Gorilla has one hell of a pout (move over Kim K)…


Banana Pulp Fiction








Put bananas in your artwork and you’re asking for a monkey spoof! The original piece, created by Bristol-based Graffiti artist Banksy, depicted Samuel L Jackson and John Travolta’s characters in the 1994 film Pulp Fiction, with their guns replaced by our favourite yellow fruit. A print of the stencil sold for £10,600 back in 2012.














Ladies and gentlemen, we give you Chimspeare! This ape definitely pulls off ‘smart’ better than we do…



Monkey scream Edvard Munch 











A cheeky parody of Edvard Munch’s Scream painting, we reckon this ape is thinking either one of two things – “How do I get back to the forest from here?!” or “Why did I buy a onesie that makes me look like I’ve just come out of prison?!”

Have we missed any monkey masterpiece takeovers? If so, share them with us on Facebook or Twitter!

Happy birthday to us!

Highest Go Ape Obstacles

Where’s the banana cake and candles… it’s our birthday!

This Easter Saturday (26th), Go Ape turns 14 years’ young and we plan to celebrate with lots of monkeying around in the forest. Who’s with us?!

There have been one or two obstacles to overcome in building a business around the concept of swinging through trees. It’s been quite a journey – we thought you might like to read about our story..

Here’s our story one step at a time.


Eureka moment – Tris and Becs discover Go Ape concept on holiday in France with six month old baby in tow. Spent a whole day talking to James Comte from Altus who has built all our Go Ape courses to date.  Back in the UK a multi-site deal is agreed with the Forestry Commission.


Tree Top Adventure Go ApeMarch 26, a special day for us. The first Go Ape Tree Top Adventure opens in Thetford forest. Within a year, 15,500 gorillas and baboons have swung through the trees. Our cabin is five feet tall and all bookings are taken on a mobile phone.


Crunch time with three further courses opening at Moors Valley, Grizedale and Sherwood and no money in the bank. A small loan keeps us afloat and we are amazed to win the NFU Rural Attraction of the Year for 2002.


Go Ape opens at Swinley Forest, Bracknell – our first site with a different landowner, the Crown Estate.


Moors Valley wins ‘Small Visitor Attraction of the Year’ (South West Tourism). Grizedale wins ‘Best Tourism Experience’ (Cumbria Excellence Awards).


Record-breaking first-year customer numbers for Delamere and Forest of Dean – in September customer number 500,000 swings through the trees.


Five more courses, including the first Scottish course with the longest zip line in the UK. Go Ape launches its own magazine, Tribe.


Go Ape now has 17 courses and we celebrated our millionth customer in June. The Chief Gorilla (Tris) is a National Business Awards finalist in the ‘Entrepreneur of the Year’ category. Go Ape is listed in the Sunday Times Fast Track 100.


21 Go Ape Courses including the first franchise site at Woburn Safari Park and the first Go Ape course in Wales.Go Ape Forest Segways


A further four adventures join the Go Ape family tree; Beecraigs, Pembrey, Coed-y-Brenin and Black Park Country Park. Go Ape branches out into other adventures with our Forest Segway adventure at Thetford Forest.


Two new tree top adventures at Crathes Castle and Itchen Valley Country Park, and our segway adventure lands at Moors Valley Country Park and Swinley Forest, Bracknell. Tree Top Junior was launched in October at Moors Valley Country Park – our first adventure for the under 10’s.


It’s our 10th birthday. Our first tree top adventure lands in the Capital. Sadly, we lost our Beecraigs adventure following extreme storms. A further five segway adventures joined the family, and Tree Top Junior landed in Thetford Forest.


So another busy year. Our Forest Segways were let loose in Grizedale and the Forest of Dean. Our Tree Top Junior adventure landed at Leeds Castle, Alice Holt, Cannock Chase and Bedgebury Forest and we opened another Tree Top Adventure at Tilgate, near Crawley.


We rolled out our Tree Top Junior adventures for Mini Tarzans across the country, including Black Park, Dalby Forest, Grizedale Forest, Sherwood Pines, Delamere Forest and Wyre Forest. We also launched our very first Zip Trek Adventure at Grizedale Forest. We sadly lost our Coed-y-Brenin adventure.


We rolled out another Tree Top Junior for Mini Tarzans at the Forest of Dean. We also launched our very first Tree Top Adventure in central London at Battersea Park – it’s a first for any UK city!


It’s been a busy few years, now’s where is that cake?

Books that inspire adventure!

Books that inspire adventure

Novels at the ready…World Book Day is less than two weeks away!

Described by UNESCO as a ‘worldwide celebration of books,’ World Book Day is marked in over 100 countries across the globe. It’s a celebration not just of books, authors and illustrators, but also a celebration of our love of reading!

World Book Day falls on Thursday, 3rd March this year. The aim is to get kids reading confidently and together – but who said adults can’t join in the fun, too?!

Here at Banana HQ, we’ve been thinking about books that have inspired us to live life adventurously (the Go Ape motto, as you know). The books that opened our eyes to what’s out there and encouraged us to go and experience it for ourselves!

Bookworm or not, here’s a list of page-turners bound to give you and your little ones serious wanderlust:

For the little ones…

Oh, the Places You’ll Go! ­– Dr. Seuss

You don’t need to be a kid to enjoy a Dr. Seuss novel. In fact, many of our favourite quotes come courtesy of the zany wordsmith, such as “You’re off to great places! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting, so…get on your way!” and “You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.”

Oh, the Places You’ll Go! is a book about travelling to faraway lands, reaching new heights and seeing new sights! It addresses the fact that not everything goes to plan in life, but that all those mishaps are simply part of the adventure!

Mirror – Jeannie Baker

This picture book comprises two stories designed to be read simultaneously. The stories focus on two young boys – one from Australia and one from Morocco – who lead distinctly different lives but are in many ways very similar in the values they share.

This books can help open kids’ eyes to the different cultures that exist around the world, hopefully inspiring them to get out them and experience them one day…

James and the Giant Peach – Roald Dahl

Fruity, fun-filled and (at times) frightening, James and the Giant Peach is the story of one boy’s cross-world adventure with seven magical garden insects. It teaches kids another one of Go Ape’s mottos: the best adventures are shared adventures!

Fun fact: Roald Dahl was initially going to write about a cherry in the story, but he ended up choosing a peach because he said it is “prettier, bigger and squishier than a cherry.”

Not For Parents – Lonely Planet

Not For Parents is a series of non-fiction books aimed at budding travellers aged 8 and up and written by the globe-trotting team at Lonely Planet. Their aim? ‘To open up the world to a whole new generation of adventurers.’

The books cover countries, continents and several cities across the globe and address those all- important questions such as: Why are New York taxis yellow? Did the ancient Romans wear underpants? Where can you see the infamous Platform 9 ¾ for real?

And for adults…

The Alchemist – Paulo Coelho

This book – which tells the story of a young shepherd who travels from Spain to Egypt – highlights the importance of following your heart and dreams. It’s a real eye-opener, teaching the reader to embrace life. Our favourite quote: “Don’t give in to your fears. If you do, you won’t be able to talk to your heart.”

On the Road ­ – Jack Kerouac

A timeless travel book written by Jack Kerouac; an author famed for his gripping, spontaneous prose. The book is based on the adventures Jack has as he travels across America – the people he meets, the things he sees and experiences. This book has one overarching message: adventure makes you a better, stronger and more confident person.

Tracks – Robyn Davidson

A tale of sheer bravery and determination, Tracks is a factual account of one woman’s solo trek across 1,700 miles of Australian Outback. Though, she’s not totally solo – four camels and dog are also in for the ride.

Davidson explains in her memoir: “The two important things I did learn were that you are as powerful and strong as you allow yourself to be, and that the most difficult part of any endeavour is taking the first step, making the first decision.”

What books have you read that have inspired you to live life adventurously?

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