Florida on a Tankful: Scaling new heights with TreeUmph Adventure Course

By Scott Fais, Feature Reporter
Last Updated: Thursday, July 27, 2017, 11:17 PM EDT

Climbing a tree isn't just for kids in the Bay Area. Pushing one's self comes naturally for Steve Pellizzaro.

"Every now and again, I'll go on a mission and serve my country,” Steve said proudly.

Believe it or not, the buff Army National Guardsmen was once terrified of heights, until he hit the ropes.

“You got through these obstacles, you can get through anything now,” Steve said of the encouragement he offers to climbers at Manatee County’s TreeUmph Adventure Course.

The bald, modern-day Tarzan climbs through the aerial obstacle course.

"Go ahead and step into it for me,” he said while helping a climber get into their harness. Once safety gear is checked, visitors will watch a training video, move on to a ground-level skill class and then a practice course 4 feet off the ground.

The carabineers used here have magnets embedded in them. The lifeline system is advanced enough to ensure one line is always attached to a safety wire.  This ensures at no time, can someone be disconnected at any level of activity.

"It's going to be a fun workout,” Steve predicted.

At TreeUmph in Bradenton, it's not about being the best, rather team building and building self-esteem.

"There you go, Indiana Jones,” he shouted to Scott Fais. "You get better. You get more confident."

There are five different courses in the sky, each with a greater degree of difficulty.

Climbers are allowed to navigate the cable wires, boardwalks and tight ropes at their own pace.

Should a climber become dehydrated, tired or frightened, Steve is trained to lower them to the ground mid-course.   

"I have rope and rescue gear on my back at all times," he said.

Several ziplines tucked away around are a great way to get back down to earth. 

"You try to push yourself to get all the way through,” Steve concludes.

Know Before You Go:
TreeUmph is open every day, except Wednesdays. Steve says visit early, since afternoon thunderstorms can close the course. Steve also suggests buying a “water pass.” For an additional $4, climbers are welcome to bottled water found around the course. 

You can find TreeUmph located outside Bradenton, a short drive east of I-75. Find ticket prices here.

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