Tampa Parks and Recreation is set to officially open another fully inclusive and sensory-friendly playground–The Tampa All Abilities Playground. It is funded by the City of Tampa and approved by the Tampa City Council.
This new playground features 10,000+ square-feet of play space. It's designed for children with a wide range of physical, cognitive, sensory, and neuro-diverse abilities. It also features multiple play pieces that are wheelchair accessible.
"This playground has truly set a new standard for inclusivity and accessibility that we continue to strive towards throughout our entire Tampa Parks system," said Sherisha Hills, Director of Tampa Parks & Recreation. "Our goal was to create a safe and engaging play space where all children of all abilities can create fun and interactive playground memories."
The New Tampa All Abilities Playground
The New Tampa All Abilities Playground also includes a sensory area and interactive art installation geared towards children with autism or other disabilities. A communication board is also available for those who do not verbally communicate as well.
"As a sibling to a man with intellectual disabilities, I know how important parks like this are," said Councilman Luis Viera. "Parks like this are more than brick or pavement. They represent inclusion, understanding, and empathy with people like my mother and late father. Who raise and care for persons with special needs. This park, the first of its kind here in Tampa fully funded by our City, is a gesture of solidarity to every family out there raising a child with special needs. It is about the City of Tampa taking 20 steps forward so that these families can leap forward 20,000 steps."
Custom shade structures and an EPDM rubber ground material make the Tampa All Abilities Playground a safe and fun space for kids and adults alike to spend time. The rubber ground makes slip and trip accidents far less likely. And the shade structures ensure families can enjoy the playground even in the hottest summer months.
Mayor Jane Castor is excited to announce the opening of the playground:
"Inclusive playgrounds welcome children of all ages and abilities to play, learn, and grow together," Mayor Castor said. “This incredible space provides a variety of developmental options for kids to choose from. I’m so proud of the Parks and Recreation team for continuing to build upon an inclusive parks system that can serve as an example for other departments nationwide.”
The playground even features an interactive art mural by Artist Pep Rally, titled “Wild Florida Parade.”
This new public art installation celebrates the natural wonders of Florida through a vibrant, playful, and tactile experience. The color palette and stylized composition of plants and animals add an unexpected twist for all who visit the park.
To ensure that the installation is accessible for all, Pep Rally developed an experience for low to no-vision children. Each layer of the art has carved grooves that kids can observe through touch. And it is designed at a height that is wheelchair accessible.
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