Monthly Archives: January 2016

Do you remember doing this?

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“We didn’t realise we were making memories. We just knew we were having fun.”

Cast your mind back to your childhood: what’s your fondest, and most vivid, memory? Perhaps it’s the first time you camped out alone with your mates, the time you swam in the sea as the sun set, or the time you built a den with your dad in the back garden.

The childhood experiences we tend to remember most all have one common theme: adventure! Memories of adventures are the memories that live on, and that’s because they involve us experiencing something new and exciting for the very first time.

The sad thing is, there are plenty of stats to show that kids just aren’t experiencing the same things we did when we were young. In an age of smartphones, iPods, games consoles and tablets, kids are becoming increasingly disconnected from the natural world. Well, parents, it’s time to help them reconnect!

This weekend, why not relive some of your favourite childhood memories with your little ones? If your memory needs jogging, we’ve put together some ideas to get you started:

1. Get lost in nature

“Back in my day, there were no SatNavs or GPS.” Yep, we’ve caught ourselves saying this once or twice, too. But, in knowing where we are all the time, we lose the ability to get lost; to explore and enjoy the unknown.

So, when you head out this weekend, switch off the SatNav, store away those smartphones and let your intuition guide you! (OK, it’s probably a good idea to pack a pocket map, but only use it if you really need it).

2. Play Poohsticks

Poohsticks: a simple concept that’s loads of fun! If your winter walk takes you across a bridge, stop for a while to play Poohsticks in the stream. Get your kids to hunt for their own sticks – count to three before dropping them in and racing to the other side to see who wins the race!

3. Scavenge for material to build a den

Remember the first outdoor den you made, and how you pleaded with your parents to let you camp out overnight in it? Alright, so it might be too chilly for an outdoor sleepover, but you can still build a den to chill out in for a few hours. Keep it basic – all you need is a frame and cover, and the forest floor is an ideal spot to scavenge for materials.

4. Climb trees!

As kids, we were fearless and carefree. We can’t be the only ones who used to compete with our mates to see who could climb the highest tree (and we’d tell a white lie to our parents when they asked what we’d been up to).

It’s true: trees are nature’s climbing frames! So, the next time you’re strolling through a park or forest, why not show your little ones how fun it can be to clamber up a woody trunk?! (If you’d prefer the safety of a harness – which most people do – then you can always come and climb some trees at one of our Go Ape courses!).

5. Become photographer for the day with a disposable camera

OK, so the quality of the photos were never amazing, but there was something exciting in taking snaps on a disposable camera, not being able to view or delete them, and then waiting until you finished the film for the photos to be developed. You’d forget what photos you took, which made looking through them really exciting!

Nowadays, kids snap photos on their smartphones all the time. And these photos either end up deleted or stored only in the digital space. So, here’s an idea: why not take photos of your family adventures on a disposable camera, get the snaps developed and create a scrapbook with them!

6. Make your own vegetable patch

Plant it, grow it, eat it! Your kids are bound to love growing their own food; not only it is fun, but it’s educational, too. Plus, there’s something extremely satisfying about picking your own carrots and parsnips to cook for Sunday roast.

What do you remember from your childhood that you think kids nowadays are missing out on?

If you’re lacking inspiration, check out for real-life adventures.

Henry Worlsey’s Greatest Adventures

Henry Worsley - Great British Adventurers


We were extremely saddened to hear the news that British explorer Henry Worsley died attempting to become the first man to cross the Antarctic unassisted.

Henry, an ex-Army officer from London, had trekked 913 miles unaided before he had to be airlifted to hospital just 30 miles short of his goal. He was attempting to complete the unfinished journey of his hero, polar explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton.

Before Henry embarked on his adventure, he had managed to raise more than £100,000 for the Endeavour Fund, which was set up to provide assistance to wounded servicemen and women.

The Antarctic has been successfully crossed before, by Norwegian Borge Ousland in 1997 and by British adventurer Felicity Aston in 2012. However, both explorers had assistance; Ousland used a kite to help drag the sled whilst Aston received air-dropped supplies.

Henry Worsley certainly wasn’t shy of adventure. Ever since he was a child, he’d been extremely interested in the lives of Antarctic explorers from the Edwardian time, such as Sir Ernest Shackleton, Roald Amundsen and Captain Robert Scott. Henry was related to a famous adventurer, Frank Worsley, who served as ship captain on Sir Ernest Shackleton’s Imperial Trans-Atlantic Expedition.

In 2008, to mark the centenary of the ‘Nimrod Expedition’ – the first of three Antarctic expeditions led by Shackleton – Henry and his team pioneered a route through the Transantarctic Mountains, reaching a point just 97 miles from the South Pole.

Just three years later, Henry returned to the Antarctic and led an expedition to repeat Roald Amundsen’s successful 900-mile journey to the South Pole in 1912. Robert Falcon hoped to be the first to reach the South Pole, but on arriving there he realised that Amundsen and his team had beat them by 34 days.

After completing the journey to the South Pole with six soldiers in tow, Henry became the first person to successfully undertake all three journeys of Shackleton, Amundsen and Falcon Scott.

It goes without saying that Henry Worsley was a true hero. Not only did he pursue his passion, he used it to raise money for a great cause. He was selfless and courageous – let him be an inspiration to us all.

Discover other Great British Adventurers on the Go Ape blog.

Out of the classroom, into the trees

Tree Top Junior Southampton

This year, get outside and put those classroom theories into practice.

Class doesn’t have to take place inside to teach you something valuable, right? Here at Go Ape we’re all for getting your hands dirty, your clothes grubby and your cheeks a bit red. So, for all those hard-working teachers out there, here are just some of the benefits of an outdoor educational experience:


1. Healthy living

More than 1/3 of children are overweight by the time they are 10 years old. Encourage some physical activity and show the children just what they’re made of.

2. Moods

Exercise releases endorphins, so an energetic school outing will leave the children chirpier for more reasons than one. Fresh air and rosey cheeks never hurt anyone!

3. Brainpower

Exercise increases blood flow around the body and that includes the brain! Learning outside the classroom has even been shown to improve grades.

4. Confidence building

Turn “I can’t” into “I can.” There is nothing better than the sense of accomplishment after tackling a challenge head on. From climbing a rope ladder, to defeating an extremely wobbly crossing, show the children they can achieve whatever they put their minds to.

5. An unforgettable day!

After all that excitement, what you’ll be left with is an extremely memorable school trip. Why not test the formula for speed as you zoom down zip wires, design your own course, or study sustainability as you explore the forest grounds?


So if exercising outdoors can improve your learning, doing both at the same time must do wonders! If you’re a teacher thinking of arranging a school trip, why not combine a mental and physical challenge on one of our memorable Go Ape school trips. Find out more and book by calling us on 0845 643 1517.

It’s National Gorilla Suit Day.


31st January 2016: National Gorilla Suit Day. It’s a date for everyone’s diary!

It’s the day when men, women and children of all ages don their gorilla suits. It’s one of our favourite days of the year; the day when it’s not unusual to see the office overrun with hairy beasts!

Here at Banana HQ, we’ve got hundreds of snaps of us in our gorilla suits in the archive. The last half hour has had us rolling about on the floor laughing at some of the things we get up to…

Take a look at a few of our favs:

From a gorilla wedding to a sunny afternoon punting on the river Cam, everything seems more fun in a gorilla suit!

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Time to get that dusty gorilla suit out of the closet!

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