Monkeying Around: Malted Monkey officially opens rope course, restaurant on the Strip

MITCH PRENTICE
One of the many Malted Monkey attendees Thursday afternoon carefully attempts to navigate the course.

After nearly a year and a half of planning, designing, redesigning and constructing, the Malted Monkey is finally open to patrons on the Bagnell Dam Strip. And to anyone who’s driven down the Strip anytime in the last couple months, they know it’s hard to miss. With pastel green, blue and orange framework and a massive, sunglasses-wearing Monkey front and center, it’s safe to say the Malted Monkey is sure to get a lot of attention.

Owner George Tucker says the team behind the project worked hard to come up with a design that would bring something unique to the lake. The on-site work for the course began in August 2019. Tucker says the course had to get a variance approved by the city, as it sits at 55-feet tall.

Tucker says the appeal of the course and restaurant is meant to be interesting for both kids and adults. He envisioned a scenario where the parents could sit outside the restaurant, enjoy a meal and still be able to watch their kid play along the course. With the open design of the structure, he says it allows for the best of both worlds.

“I wanted to come up with something that appealed to kids, adults, everybody that wasn’t another bar. I think there’s enough of that around here now on the Strip,” Tucker said.

The current iteration of the Malted Monkey is actually the third concept that Tucker and his team worked with. He says the original concept was a drop-tower ride for eight people with a restaurant attached. He says that design couldn’t work with the area available to build on. The next concept Tucker says was a container park, but the engineering challenges of the idea were too demanding. Finally, the idea came up for a rope course, which snowballed into the final product seen today.

Some of the features currently seen on the Malted Monkey course include a zip line that swings out over the Strip and a giant drop that is one of the exit points along the course. Tucker says that buying access to the course gives you unlimited access while you’re there. He says they will even allow kids to leave the course and jump back in if they need water or a bathroom break. If you do the free jump, however, your run is over.

Keeping the course clean is a top priority for Tucker, especially during the pandemic. He says that course staff have been trained to clean the ropes and all parts of the course constantly. He says the open environment of the course also helps to keep things safe.

The course itself is only half of the experience. The Malted Monkey also houses a restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating. Items on the menu include milkshakes, burgers, hotdogs and even adult beverages for parents. With much experience in the restaurant industry, Tucker says that it felt natural to add this element to the otherwise brand-new experience of the rope course.

“Parents can come, have a beer and a burger while watching their kid have fun. It’s a unique experience,” Tucker said.

The Ropes Course is open seven days a week, 11am-10pm. It costs $25 per person. Participants must be 40” or taller and under 300 lbs. The restaurant officially opened on July 15.