26 Sep


When I was a kid growing up in the South Bronx of NYC, climbing things was an everyday activity.

We would climb gates to get into the park, climb the side of a building to get our baseballs and would just have a crazy time climbing the spider like webs in the park.

I thought my son would inherit these climbing skills naturally but he can’t even climb a gate.

I Blame Myself For His Lack Of Skills

The climbing experiences that I had grown up with don’t exist for my son because we made his ipad his best friend. I let a digital device take the place of his outdoor experiences.

But I have a fix, a rope course. Our first was The Tree Top Adventures @ Turtle Back Zoo.

The Course



The rope course at Turtle Back Zoo has two different levels of difficulty.
We picked the easy course, the Junior Course.

That “easy” course turned out to be challenging. I won’t lie, after the 1st obstacle I immediately knew my son would say it was too hard.

I was right, it wasn’t easy for a 9 year old but he could still make it through.

So we focused on the 1st obstacle which was the “easiest” and worked on conquering the entire course one obstacle at a time.

Then the DAD side hits


A video posted by James J Lopez (@imjamesjlopez) on

The power of having a dad tell their child they can do it, or just simply being present to lend a motivational voice is REAL and POWERFUL!!!

This is where YOU the dad have a chance to become a hero and you know that feels GOOOOOD!

No need to scream at them or call them “weak sauce” like I routinely do when my son gives up or does something I consider weak.

Here is where you consistently give them words of encouragement and let them feel the love. Tell them how proud you are of them!

Guide them on overcoming their fear of the unknown. Setup some structure by telling them which leg to move first, how to move it and how to hold their balance.

Then Lead by Example

turtle back zoo cool4dads.com

It doesn’t start and end with motivational encouragement. It starts with YOU setting the example.

I see parents tell their kids, “this is nothing, you can do it,” and they will leave their kids to conquer this on their own.

In my opinion, they suck! And don’t try to make them go 1 st either!

The best thing you could do is strap up and take on the challenge just like them, even if you yourself are scared.

Some parents might want to quit while doing the course, but nothing beats seeing their faces when they’ve completed the course and they did it together.

Focusing Is The Only Thing That Matters

cool4dads @ turtle back zoo

When you 1st look at any of these courses, your first thought is “this will be easy and we will finish this quick!”

The situation is completely different when YOU have to do the course YOURSELF!

Courses range in difficultly, but if you’re like me the biggest challenge is getting your kids to focus on making it through without getting distracted by everything else.

Let them know that all that other stuff doesn’t matter.

Take your time; get them to focus on you and what you are telling them to do. Repeat yourself as much as possible, and remember to have FUN during the experience.

My 9 year old still can’t climb a gate without me feeling like he is going to fall hard but that won’t stop us from working on it.

Every rope course we see, we try and we create some dope memories together! Worst case scenario we get a great workout in!

There is nothing COOLER than seeing your kids overcome obstacles, and this activity is definitely Cool4Dads!

Know of any rope courses in your area that crush the rest? Or want to put some dads on to some cool events, click here and let us know what you think is Cool4Dads!


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