Treehouses offer escape to new world
The neighborhood treehouse is a way for kids to create their own world, hidden away from parents and teachers.
And now the roles are somewhat reversed as parents are building mansionlike structures far above the ground for the enjoyment of both their children and themselves.
Treehouse World, a theme, or amusement, park with two treehouses and twelve platforms recently became visible from Route 202, at 1442 Phoenixville Pike.
Or alternately, founder Dan Wright and his crew will build you a custom treehouse on your property, or gather the needed supplies and furnish the plans.
“For those who don’t have a tree to build in they can come and play for the day or have a birthday party,” Wright said.
Wright talked about what it’s like to climb into another world.
“It’s a taste of freedom, independence and creativity,” he said. “When a child is seven to nine feet above the ground, and their parents can’t reach their ankles, they’ve escaped.
“You get a different perspective on life.”
Treehouse World builds above-ground structures, but it’s up to kids to provide the imagination, Wright said.
Devin Carre, assistant manager, agreed.
“We didn’t build anything here to entertain you, you have to entertain yourself.”
Climbing the ropes and stairs is a good workout.
“Everything here takes energy ... the kids are like little hurricanes,” Carre said.
Wright talked about a Main Line treehouse where kids developed their own newspaper, the “Treetop Gazette.”
“Do not trespass or take any of my things out of my treehouse,” reads a posted sign at another custom treehouse. “If you do I will sue you to the full extent of the law.”
At one treehouse the kids personalized the space. They constructed a pulley and bucket system, stretching from the treehouse to the kitchen window. Mom or dad could then send out a sandwich without the kids ever having to come back down to Earth.
I’m reminded of the old Bill Watterson comic strip “Calvin and Hobbes.” Calvin wasn’t fond of girls, although Hobbes, a stuffed tiger, was. Calvin often fought with his ‘friend’ Susie Derkins.
In Calvin’s treehouse, a note might have been posted, with the acronym, G.R.O.S.S. (Get Rid Of Slimy girlS)
The treehouses at Treehouse World are glorious.
A train runs high above the ground. It’s a joy to discover each railroad car.
At the nearly completed Grey Beard Treehouse, a three-tiered pirate ship, visitors climb rope ladders from level to level. One day soon, young pirates will walk the plank for a nice freefall.
Asa Pehlert, assistant instructor and high school student, enjoys working with a younger crowd.
“Seeing families here together, interacting in ways they wouldn’t otherwise, is great,” he said. “It’s exciting seeing people able to do things they didn’t think they could.
“Kids say, ‘There’s no way I can get to the top,’ but you encourage them and they ring the bell at the top and that’s a good feeling.”
The 14-acre property is located at the head of Valley Creek. Oak, poplar, sycamore, walnut, spruce and hickory trees make for a perfect setting for future expansion.
You wouldn’t believe where we are,” Carre said. “It doesn’t feel like we’re in West Chester.”
I’m most excited to try out flying on the now-under-construction zip line course, which is scheduled to open next spring.
Carre said the park is designed to develop positive characteristics.
“It’s about facing your own fears, overcoming adversity and letting go,” he said.
I would have to agree. But maybe that’s the kid in me talking, though there’s nothing wrong with that?
The park is open, while under construction, with plans to expand during the next two to three years. Hours are limited. The park closes, except for those holding reservations, for the season, Nov. 30.
For more information call, 484-329-7853. The park hosts birthday and other types of parties.
To build your own treehouse, call 610-696-1066 or go to www.treetopbuilders.net.
Admission is $12, with extra fees for staff-assisted activities.
There is an extra charge for activities such as the bungee trampoline, “rock climbing” on trees and archery tag.
Devin Carre of Treehouse World guides the way.
A train treehouse chugs along at amusement park Treehouse World near West Chester.