If you are looking for an amazing workout, a date night or have a child that loves to climb everything, Ape Index is the place for you! Located conveniently at Olive at 91st Ave in Peoria (exact location is 9700 N 91st).
Before I start with the pictures, if you are planning to go rock climbing you should sign the waiver online first.
Also, if you plan on doing rock climbing or have a child that wants to do the rock climbing, you need to learn how to belay first. What is belaying? A simple answer is the counter weight and rope holder of the person climbing. The belayer (person holding the rope) needs to be at least 14 years old. The staff will do a tutorial on how to belay or do a quick belaying test if you already know how to belay. My husband did rock climbing in the Army, and I did it years and years and decades ago, so we needed the tutorial. They will also provide you with harnesses and rock climbing shoes.
Our trainer, Aiden was showing us the ropes (haha!). This was the wall where my husband (green shirt) was reminded on how to belay. Munchie. This wall was one of the least challenging with a lot of grab holds and footholds and not many bumps.
You may also see on each wall there is a bump out at about 8 feet or so. Climbers are able to climb up to that without being attached to ropes (but put one of the floor pads underneath in case you fall).
Not all of the walls require belaying. some of the walls have clipping systems in which you can clip yourself in, but it is always more fun to have a partner anyhow! Ask one of the great staff at Ape Index for information on which walls require what!
Munchie made it up to the top in record time. With his collared shirt on (My kids really wear just about anything. He was well dressed for a climber). However, Munchie has been a huge climber forever. He isn’t really afraid of heights and pretty much climbs anything he can (and even shouldn’t climb). He has been a great climber since he could walk, so I highly recommend thinking about your child’s likes and dislikes and personality before attempting a climb. My other two kiddos really have little interest in climbing, but fully enjoyed the slide!
The 16 years old sign was a little bit confusing-it is not for the slide, but instead for the cave underneath the slide platform. At the top of the slide platform is also a small workout gym with weights and an ab/pull up machine.
The stairs t the top of the slide platform, the top of the slide and the weights area. Make sure your curious kids don’t get their hands on the weights !
These walls are HUGE ! Yes, the people who are there are full grown adults! So, the wall is really, really tall! And the globe is rounded for extra challenge (you have to hook yourself into different places on the face). There are also mats that can be moved around on the floor if you are doing the climbing under 8 feet in case you fall. On each wall there are different challenges, textures to the walls and spaces between the footholds and handholds.
Munchie was able to check out their climb club, where they have trained belayers who help the kids learn how to climb more efficiently. The kids were cheering each other on as well. I was super impressed by the staff and the other kids who were part of the program. There is also a waiting area for parents at the entrance and near the “peach pit” where the kids do a lot of their practice.
There goes Munchie! Two mounds in the wall that he climbed over. I estimate the wall was over 24″ tall in total. The Peach Pit is a bit lower than the rest of the climbing floor (6-8′ or so), which makes it a little bit of a higher wall! There were kids younger and older than Munchie who were climbing!
Ape Index also has challenges, climbing classes and clubs for adults, kids, teens, field trip availability and trips out to real rock climbing too. If you have teens who are bored during the summer, or kids who like to climb, this place is amazing! They use equipment that is tested for safety and have experienced trainers. I was highly impressed with the knowledge of the staff and how encouraging they were of my kiddos. Munchie was beyond excited, while Giggles and Dimples were very hesitant. However, the staff was encouraging with them but not pushy, which I truly appreciated!
My recommendations: While little kiddos are welcome at Ape Index, if you have a kiddo that loves to run or be a bit wild while others want to climb (and you have to belay), this may not be a place for you. Belayers (rope holders) have to be 14. There are ropes on the ground and hanging from the ceiling, making it enticing and a bit trip worthy for a little one who may be a bit on the wild side. If you have an adventurous four or five year old, they may really like the climbing, and can take a break on the slide. Munchie was a great climber at 4 and probably could have gotten up half a wall if not more. If you have an older child that is willing to try new things, the climb club may be a great place to start. If you are an adult who needs a ladies night out or a date night, this is a great place to check out as well. I also suggest bringing your own bottle of water and padlock (they provide lockers and places to put your items, but not locks).
We really loved the different areas and I was super excited for Munchies progress and how accomplished he felt. The space was huge, open and had places for people to sit and watch as well, and the staff was so very helpful, kind and encouraging!
If you are looking for a challenge and a place that is out of the heat, Ape Index is perfect for your next outing, birthday party or field trip!
9700 91st Ave Peoria
We received complimentary admission. All opinions are 100% my own.