Slides, swings, and fun things to climb on are all classic elements of a childhood favorite playgrounds.
At the Huron Clinton Metroparks they are not in short supply. For the last few years, they have been opening new play structures at various Metroparks, but these look a bit different than the ones many of us grew up with.
Gone are the wood chip pits with hot metal slides, and in with cushioned plastic ground and roller slides.
We spoke to Danielle Mauter, their Chief of Marketing and Communications, about these new parks and how they were designed.
Accessibility, Mauter says, was top of mind when they were planning out these new playgrounds.
“Every time we design a new project, including new playgrounds,” says Mauter. “We are looking for ways to remove barriers and make it more accessible to all.”
This not only means people in wheelchairs but people with sensory issues as well.
The aforementioned poured-in-place rubber safety surfacing allows wheelchairs to easily move across it, while also being soft with a bit of a bounce, aiding people with mobility difficulties.
The swing set is another element that got an update. The swings are designed more like big discs made of either plastic or rope, allowing children to sit in them in a variety of configurations, so they can interact with it in a way that’s comfortable for them.
Instead of a merry-go-round, they’ve upgraded to a we-go-round. This spinning play structure is similar to its forefather, but is flush with the ground, and has enough space so a wheelchair users can come inside and spin themselves.
There are also areas with shade and tactile walls for children with sensory issues.
Most of the Metroparks have playgrounds all with different fun elements, and the playscapes have the same hours as the parks they are in.
The newest playgrounds with a lot of these developments are the Maple Beach Playground at Kensington Metropark, the Space-themed play-scape at Lower Huron Metropark and the playground by the beach at Lake St. Clair Metropark.
To explore the different types of playgrounds at the Metroparks, and to find the park nearest you, click or tap here.