Park Spy — Question on Multi-generational family activities.



Families are a huge market segment for any outdoor facility. But families aren’t just two parents and a couple kids—multi-generational families, including grandma and grandpa, enjoy participating in activities together, too. Even if the facility is not conducive to the less agile or very young, there are ways to say that and still leave a good impression.

Have a question we should ask for Park Spy? Send Sarah Ebbott ([email protected]) your question and, if we use it, you’re immune for one issue! We present eight Spy missions here.


First contact: Automated machine. Chose reservations.
Answering phone: Male.
API: Stated question.
Staff: (sounding half asleep) So, the zip line, the minimum age is 10 years old.
API: OK, do you have any other activities the younger kids might be able to do?
Staff: Ummm, if it’s five years old, they can do the pony rides.
API: OK, is that in the same area as the zip line?
Staff: Ummm, no. So the zip line, they are taken up the hill to the zip line area. The, uh, pony rides, they meet in the horse barn where they are put on a pony and taken out to do the pony ride.
API: OK, great. Are there any other activities they might be able to do?
Staff: Uh, no.
API: OK, thanks so much.
Staff: You’re welcome, have a good day. Buh bye.

Score: 3
Comment: If you don’t sound interested in me coming to hang out at your park, why would I be?


First contact: Male.
API: Stated question.
Staff: Yeah, you betcha. As far as the zip line, this is a ride for all ages. I believe our youngest rider has been two, and our oldest rider 97. You just have to be 42 inches tall to do the zip line, so the five-year-old should be tall enough. As for other activities, the train ride, the mine tour, mystery shack—you should be able to all enjoy the attractions together. I think the zip line and the horseback riding are the only activities with a height requirement, so everyone should be able to participate.
API: Great. And that would apply to everyone through the grandparents in the group?
Staff: As long as they are mobile and able to walk, they shouldn’t have any problems.
API: Yes, they are very athletic.
Staff: Great. They’ll have a ball out here.
Staff: Well, we’d welcome your family out here and we hope to see you.
API: Thank you!
Staff: Alright, bye bye.

Score: 7
Comment: I called the zip line directly, and all the other activities sound awesome, but where do I get more info? A website mention would have earned extra points.


First contact:  Automated machine. Chose operator.
Answering phone: Male.
API: Stated question.
Staff: Well, I am sorry to say that our minimum age is seven to complete the aerial course. This is primarily due to height, as anyone participating needs to be able to reach certain elements and touch points on the course.
API: No problem, is there anything else the younger kids could do while everyone else did the aerial course?
Staff: Not at this time, no.
API: OK, thank you so much.
Staff: OK, bye!

Score: 4
Comment: That was a great way to say no, and gave a reason why. But this park DOES have a cool playground for smaller climbers—that’s key information! #productknowledge


First contact: Female.
API: Stated question.
Staff: OK, we do have both a junior course and an adventure course. Availability may differ, though, because we are nearing the end of our season. Do you know when you might be looking to visit?
API: We are still deciding on a date.
Staff: OK, no problem. Now, we have had guests participating in the adventure course who have been all the way up into their 90s. As for the junior course, any child under the age of six would need to have an adult participate with them. Ages 10 or older can participate on the adventure course, we just have a supervision ratio that for every two children between the ages of 10 and 15, one adult 18 or older must participate with them. This could be something that your entire family could do. Now, what I would recommend is visiting our website at You can look and see what the course looks like by watching videos we have on there. That might give you an idea if this is something your family might like to do, because we’re not just a zip line course, we’re an obstacle zip line course, so in order to go down the zip line you must complete the obstacles.
API: OK, is there a certain level of fitness you need to be able to complete the course?
Staff: No, ma’am. As long as you can climb a rope ladder you can complete our course.
API: Fantastic.
Staff: Now, I will let you know that we are just the zip line obstacle course at the park. There are quite a few other activities at the park, but you would need to contact them directly for information. I would be more than happy to answer any more questions you have about the zip line, though.
API: That’s OK, zip lining was one of the activities we had all talked about doing. We just wanted to be sure there wasn’t an age restriction.
Staff: Absolutely, we have no age restriction because we have both the junior course and the adventure course, we should be able to accommodate your entire party.
API: Great, thanks so much.
Staff: Thank you for calling, enjoy the rest of your day.

Score: 9
Comment: Great attitude, tons of info, and I didn’t have to pull teeth to get it. Minus one point for using a rope ladder as the fitness requirement example; something common like climbing a set of stairs would be easier to understand.


First contact: Automated machine. Chose operator.
Answering phone: Female.
API: Stated question.
Staff: Our course is open for all ages!
API: Fantastic, are there any restrictions on which course the younger kids can do?
Staff: Nope, we’re all ages!
API: Do you have any requirements for parents participating with kids under a certain age?
Staff: Yup! Silence…
API: And what are those?
Staff: Oh, yeah! Any child under 11 participating in the course has to have an adult on site, and any child five to eight needs to have an adult on course, too!
API: Great, we’d like to all go together so having adults on course with the kids shouldn’t be a problem.
Staff: OK! We hope to see you soon!

Score: 4
Comment: Enthusiastic, but to a fault, that fault being an almost complete absence of information.


First contact: Female.
API: Stated question.
Staff: So, ours start at six. They have to be six years and above.
API: OK. Would there be any other activities that the five-year-olds can do?
Staff: Umm, no.
API: OK great, thank you very much.
Staff: Bye.

Score: 2
Comment: It’s OK that you don’t accommodate younger climbers, but don’t make me feel like I’m bothering you for asking.


First contact: Male.
API: Stated question.
Staff: I dunno. But I’m not sure this will be the best activity for your family.
API: Why is that? Is there any age restriction that would prevent some of our group from participating?
Staff: Well, I’m pretty sure the five year olds can’t. I think you have to be six, but the seniors probably shouldn’t either. Don’t want them to break a hip. Ha ha.
API: We’re all very athletic, even the 80-year-old.
Staff: Still, I think it would be an issue. Liability, and all.
API: OK, have a good day then.

Score: – 2
Comment: I am so angry on behalf of my fictional adventure-seeking grandpa, this guy gets negative points.


First contact:  Automated machine. Chose operator.
Answering phone: Female.
API: Stated question.
Staff: Definitely. With the broad range of ages, I would definitely recommend our XYZ location. Five is the minimum age, and five- and six-year-olds can do five out of the seven courses. Anyone seven and up has no restrictions and can do all seven courses. Reservations are required; we are selling out fairly quickly, so I would recommend booking soon! Is everyone in your group relatively active?
API: Yes, we’re all decently athletic.
Staff: Great, they are active courses. Each session is two-and-a-half hours, so anyone feeling pretty fit and ready to go is welcome to enjoy the courses.
API: That sounds great.
Staff: Great, would you like to check out some dates for availability?
API: Thanks, but I need to check our schedule before booking. I just wanted to see if there were any age restrictions as we are looking to do a fun activity together.
Staff: Great, well, you can book through me or online at our website,, and just select the XYZ location. There is also a pretty cool video that gives you an idea of what the course looks like and the kind of elements you’d be working through.
API: Great! I’ll check it out.
Staff: Hope to see you soon.

Score: 10
Comment: Friendly, concise, and to the point. She even made a suggestion about which of their locations I should go to based on the composition of my group. Identity Revealed: Tahoe Treetop Adventure Park.

Park 9, FL

First contact: Female.
API: Stated question.
Staff: Well, yes, the five-year-olds can certainly climb. We do require that an adult climb with any five- or six-year-old kids. My concern would be, I guess, what’s the motion health or physical abilities of the older ones?
API: The older kids or older adults?
Staff: The seniors of your group.
API: Well, the grandparents of our group are very mobile. Is there a high level of fitness required, or would it be just basic mobility?
Staff: Well, that would really depend on what course they’re interested in. The lower ones, the beginner and the intermediate ones, are not as intense. They require balance, total body strength; they’re pretty easy. So what we say is, if you can climb stairs and keep your balance, you should be able to do these. There’s not much bending. Well, there’s some bending, so I would worry about people who have issues with their joints, knees, hips, or backs, because you do need to be flexible to make your way through some parts of the course, but generally it’s not that difficult until you get to the blue or the black level. They would require more core and upper body strength. You can become exhausted very easily if you’re not in shape or exercising regularly. We don’t want anyone to get winded or find out they are not able to move the way they thought they could.
API: Understood. I feel pretty confident that everyone in our group would at least be able to do the first two levels. I think the people in my family who would be least likely to move up to the tougher courses wouldn’t be the grandparents, but the few of us who are afraid of heights. Ha ha!
Staff: Yeah, we actually have had climbers that age and above. It just all depends on the individual.
API: Great, is there anything else I should know about the course?
Staff: Well, our course is structured in a way that everyone is allowed to use the courses. However, while we don’t have a specific kids course, the younger children are restricted to the lower levels by their age. Depending on their age, they may need an adult to participate with them to go on an additional course, but as long as you have one adult to one child at the age of five or six, you’re covered. But they’re only able to go on the lower courses with that adult.
Staff: I’ve seen plenty of people spend their entire time on the lower courses and not complete all of them and still have a great time. There’s plenty to do, it just depends on your group, your family, and their specific personalities and choices.
API: Great, thanks so much.
Staff: OK great, if you have any other questions just call us back.

Score: 7
Comment: Informative and helpful, but the physical requirements of your course are applicable to everyone, regardless of age.

Park 10, IL

First contact: Answering machine.
Outgoing message: Thank you for calling! Our season is starting soon and we can’t wait to see you. Opening day is Saturday, May 28! Visit our website for more information or leave a message here and someone will call you back.

Score: 1
Comment: One point for the website mention. But a six-month-old message? C’mon.



We had a wide range of ages in our fictional family group and a wide range of answers. Two things to consider when working with your staff:

1. You will always have questions to which the answer is “no,” and that’s OK! But when you aren’t able to accommodate a guest, answer more thoughtfully. If the caller is asking about a child that is too young to participate, tell the guest you would love to have them participate in the future. One-word answers with no explanation are a putoff, and that guest won’t be calling back when the kids are old enough.

2. Questions about seniors or folks with physical limitations completing your course should be handled carefully. We all know there are physical requirements to participate in adventure activities, but those requirements apply to everyone, young and “experienced.” Frame your answers to reflect that. It is not the phone staff’s responsibility to screen participants beyond clearly explaining minimum physical requirements—the onus falls on the guest when making a reservation. If there is question about a participant’s ability level later, you’ve already CYA because you clearly explained those requirements in advance.


About Author

Sarah Borodaeff is the former research editor for Adventure Park Insider magazine and current freelance contributor. A professional ski bum and former zip guide, Sarah enjoys any excuse to talk about outdoor adventures.

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