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Wabun Picnic Area, Minnehaha Regional Park

Minneapolis, MN USA

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Playground Overview

Not only does this playground in Minneapolis, Minnesota, step back in time with its thematic nod to its origins as an auto tourist camp, but it also takes a giant step forward as the first inclusive playground within the city’s parks system. The 2- to 5- year-old area features a classic car with a finger maze on the grill, plus a Sway Fun® glider that’s been outfitted with a custom surround to make it look like a camper trailer. The PlayBooster® playstructure for kids ages 5 to 12 has wood-like siding and cobblestone features to capture the idea of simple cabins. Sturdy “tents” are perfect for hiding under and climbing over. An accessible scavenger hunt encourages kids to work together as they explore the play area.


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Playground products shown in video may not be appropriate for every age group. Playsystems shown in video are for demonstration purposes only. Product configurations may vary.

Video features an auto tourist camp themed playground at Wabun Picnic Area in Minnehaha Regional Park of Minneapolis Minnesota.  

[video: camera pans a large lush garden as people walk on surrounding sidewalks. A green banner appears in the center of the screen reading: Minnehaha Regional Park.]

[video: close-up of two pink flowers as a bumble bee buzzes around. Close-up of white flowers in the garden. Camera switches to a close-up of the top of a waterfall. Camera pulls back for a full view of the waterfall. A green banner appears in the center of the screen reading: Minneapolis, MN.]

[video: view of the top of the waterfall with the winding river below. Camera switch to a ground level view of the waterfall and its landing pool, fade out. Fade in to a trash and recycling can sitting on the side of a playground sign with park and playground information. The sign reads: Welcome to the Wabun Picnic Family Play Area!]

[video: children and families play all around the cabin themed recycled wood playground. Two adults sit on a park bench as they watch the children climb all over the playground. A girl smiles and leans out a window opening on the top of the playground. A girl climbs towards the camera on a horizontal cargo net. A boy slides down towards the camera on a SlideWinder slide. The camera follows as she slides to the bottom of the slide.]

[video: a girl sits up from the end of a roller table as another girl rollers her body through from the other side. Top down view of a boy as he slides down playground the Fire Pole. Camera pans down from the playground deck as children climb and play all around. A green banner appears in the center of the screen reading: This play area mimics its.]

[video: scene switch to a girl climbing up toward the camera on a playground climber. Green banner appears in the center of the screen reading: Auto Tourist Camp roots,]

[video: scene switch to a fly over view of the play area. Green banner appears in center of the screen reading: which was once located here.]

[video: camera pans across the playground area. Green banner appears in the center of the screen reading: Complete with 1930’s inspired]

[video: scene switch to children sitting in a vintage style care play structure. Green banner appears in the center of the screen reading: play car.]

[video: a man leans on the outside of a SwayFun shaped like an old-style trailer camper. Green banner appears in the center of the screen reading: camper.]

[video: A boy walks around the back side of the SwayFun as it moves. A young boy sits underneath the playground decking on the ground in the shaded corner of a rock climber. A girl slides down the Fire Pole in the foreground. Green banner appears in the center of the screen reading: and “cabin-like spaces.]

[video: Top down view from the playground decking of a boy climbing on the rope Sling Shot climber. A large group of children play all over the SwayFun camper. Close-up of a boy’s hands as he turns the steering wheel in the play car. Top down view of children as they try to keep their balance while playing on the SwayFun. A young girl swings towards the camera on the ring handle swaying monkey bars.]

[video: children play all over the playground as a green banner appears in the center of the screen reading: This is a universally accessible play area.]

[video: two boys run after a boy in a motorized wheel chair across the PebbleFlex playground surfacing. Camera is mounded to the handle of a boys motorized wheel chair. He wheels up one of the playground inclusive ramps. Green banner appears on screen reading: with 70% of its features designed for use by children with disabilities.]

[video: the boy maneuvers his wheelchair to an hourglass play panel. Scene switch to a view of the playground where parents look on as their children play all over. A girl pulls herself down the roller table on her stomach towards the camera. Top down view as a girl plays at the Ring-a-Bell panel. She looks up noticing the camera and smiles.]

[video: a young girl slides down a small swirl slide, her hair stands up from the static electricity. A boy walks in front of an A frame cliff climber as a boy and girl climb up from either side. Kids sit and stand on the SwayFun as two boys push from the outside. View from behind as children swing the long playground swing set. Front view of four boys as they swing on the swing set. Camera is mounted to a swing chain as a boy swings. Camera shifts sideways showing the other children swinging on the swing set. A girl quickly spins the gear of the Optigear paly panel. Close up of a girl’s face as she rides on the SwayFun. She looks down and shouts to a small boy near her trying to find somewhere to hold onto.]

[video: two girls race down a playground ramp towards he camera. A boy in a motorized wheelchair speaks to the camera about the playground.]

Boy: It’s better than all the other ones I’ve been to. This whole thing is accessible.

[video: the camera is mounted to the boys control panels of his wheelchair pointing back at him. Another young boy wearing glasses leans into frame looking into the camera lens saying: Hello.]

[video: the boy wheels himself around on the playground decking while the camera is mounted on his wheelchair control panel. Camera switches to being mounted to the boy’s wheelchair back handle. He wheels himself underneath a playground bridge and past a pan sitting on a log bench in the middle of the play area.]

[video: camera zooms in on the boy’s wheelchair wheels as he speeds off across the playground. Screen goes black and white text appears on screen reading: Better playgrounds. Better world. The Landscape Structures logo slides up from the bottom of the screen replacing the text.]

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Flagship Recreation
275 4th St E Ste 810
Saint Paul, MN 55101
USA
Phone 763-550-7860
info@flagshipplay.com
www.flagshipplay.com

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Making History

Travels Through the Past, Present and Future

Not only does this playground step back in time with its thematic nod to its origins as an auto tourist camp, but it also takes a giant step forward as the first inclusive playground within the Minneapolis Parks system.

Playground products shown in video may not be appropriate for every age group. Playsystems shown in video are for demonstration purposes only. Product configurations may vary.

Video features an auto tourist camp themed playground at Wabun Picnic Area in Minnehaha Regional Park of Minneapolis Minnesota.  

[video: camera pans a large lush garden as people walk on surrounding sidewalks. A green banner appears in the center of the screen reading: Minnehaha Regional Park.]

[video: close-up of two pink flowers as a bumble bee buzzes around. Close-up of white flowers in the garden. Camera switches to a close-up of the top of a waterfall. Camera pulls back for a full view of the waterfall. A green banner appears in the center of the screen reading: Minneapolis, MN.]

[video: view of the top of the waterfall with the winding river below. Camera switch to a ground level view of the waterfall and its landing pool, fade out. Fade in to a trash and recycling can sitting on the side of a playground sign with park and playground information. The sign reads: Welcome to the Wabun Picnic Family Play Area!]

[video: children and families play all around the cabin themed recycled wood playground. Two adults sit on a park bench as they watch the children climb all over the playground. A girl smiles and leans out a window opening on the top of the playground. A girl climbs towards the camera on a horizontal cargo net. A boy slides down towards the camera on a SlideWinder slide. The camera follows as she slides to the bottom of the slide.]

[video: a girl sits up from the end of a roller table as another girl rollers her body through from the other side. Top down view of a boy as he slides down playground the Fire Pole. Camera pans down from the playground deck as children climb and play all around. A green banner appears in the center of the screen reading: This play area mimics its.]

[video: scene switch to a girl climbing up toward the camera on a playground climber. Green banner appears in the center of the screen reading: Auto Tourist Camp roots,]

[video: scene switch to a fly over view of the play area. Green banner appears in center of the screen reading: which was once located here.]

[video: camera pans across the playground area. Green banner appears in the center of the screen reading: Complete with 1930’s inspired]

[video: scene switch to children sitting in a vintage style care play structure. Green banner appears in the center of the screen reading: play car.]

[video: a man leans on the outside of a SwayFun shaped like an old-style trailer camper. Green banner appears in the center of the screen reading: camper.]

[video: A boy walks around the back side of the SwayFun as it moves. A young boy sits underneath the playground decking on the ground in the shaded corner of a rock climber. A girl slides down the Fire Pole in the foreground. Green banner appears in the center of the screen reading: and “cabin-like spaces.]

[video: Top down view from the playground decking of a boy climbing on the rope Sling Shot climber. A large group of children play all over the SwayFun camper. Close-up of a boy’s hands as he turns the steering wheel in the play car. Top down view of children as they try to keep their balance while playing on the SwayFun. A young girl swings towards the camera on the ring handle swaying monkey bars.]

[video: children play all over the playground as a green banner appears in the center of the screen reading: This is a universally accessible play area.]

[video: two boys run after a boy in a motorized wheel chair across the PebbleFlex playground surfacing. Camera is mounded to the handle of a boys motorized wheel chair. He wheels up one of the playground inclusive ramps. Green banner appears on screen reading: with 70% of its features designed for use by children with disabilities.]

[video: the boy maneuvers his wheelchair to an hourglass play panel. Scene switch to a view of the playground where parents look on as their children play all over. A girl pulls herself down the roller table on her stomach towards the camera. Top down view as a girl plays at the Ring-a-Bell panel. She looks up noticing the camera and smiles.]

[video: a young girl slides down a small swirl slide, her hair stands up from the static electricity. A boy walks in front of an A frame cliff climber as a boy and girl climb up from either side. Kids sit and stand on the SwayFun as two boys push from the outside. View from behind as children swing the long playground swing set. Front view of four boys as they swing on the swing set. Camera is mounted to a swing chain as a boy swings. Camera shifts sideways showing the other children swinging on the swing set. A girl quickly spins the gear of the Optigear paly panel. Close up of a girl’s face as she rides on the SwayFun. She looks down and shouts to a small boy near her trying to find somewhere to hold onto.]

[video: two girls race down a playground ramp towards he camera. A boy in a motorized wheelchair speaks to the camera about the playground.]

Boy: It’s better than all the other ones I’ve been to. This whole thing is accessible.

[video: the camera is mounted to the boys control panels of his wheelchair pointing back at him. Another young boy wearing glasses leans into frame looking into the camera lens saying: Hello.]

[video: the boy wheels himself around on the playground decking while the camera is mounted on his wheelchair control panel. Camera switches to being mounted to the boy’s wheelchair back handle. He wheels himself underneath a playground bridge and past a pan sitting on a log bench in the middle of the play area.]

[video: camera zooms in on the boy’s wheelchair wheels as he speeds off across the playground. Screen goes black and white text appears on screen reading: Better playgrounds. Better world. The Landscape Structures logo slides up from the bottom of the screen replacing the text.]

Family Fun from Yesteryear

When Peggy Halvorson puts her mind to something, it gets done. Like when she approached the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) with the idea "It was exciting to have a theme that required historical research."Chris DesRoches local playground consultant, Flagship Recreation of establishing an inclusive play space. Turns out they had the perfect spot for it.

The Wabun Picnic Area no longer looked like the camping spot it once was in the 1920s-1950s. But now it’s been transformed to thematically reflect its heritage. The 2- to 5-year-old area features a classic car with a finger maze on the grill. A Sway Fun® glider has been outfitted with a custom surround to make it look like a camper trailer. And in the 5- to 12- year-old area, wood-like siding and cobblestone features capture the idea of simple cabins. Sturdy “tents” are perfect for hiding under and climbing over.

“The design is so important,” states Andrea Weber, project manager with Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board (MPRB) Planning. “Working with Landscape Structures, from the design all the way through to making sure things are correct at installation—they know how to do it right.”

One Playground for All

This playground gives all kids a chance to be on top of the structure, something kids with disabilities don’t often get to do. An accessible scavenger hunt encourages kids to work together as they explore the play area.

The Roller Table™ can be very therapeutic for some kids. “But all kids love it and play on it in very different ways,” says Andrea. “All kids are kids, and they should be able to play together.”

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"Playing together on the same equipment helps to take away the stigma of having a disability."
Andrea Weber
Project Manager, MPRB Planning

Chris DesRoches of Flagship Recreation says this was the largest inclusive playground he’s worked on. Even so, he believes inclusivity can be affordable. “It just takes a good amount of creativity and a holistic mindset: What can we do to make it a positive space for child development, social play and physical activity for all kids.”

Thoughtful Landscaping

A quiet play area was included in the design along with a sensory garden that features plants with different scents, textures, colors and sizes. “Kids with autism and sensory processing disorders have different needs, including the need to get away, calm down and explore tactile needs,” explains Andrea. An elevated walkway encircles the space, contributing to universal access while reducing the amount of ramping. According to Andrea, “We wanted to be inclusive while also being less visually obtrusive and more aesthetically pleasing.”

Historic Results

Peggy Halvorson, who started it all, is thrilled with the results. “The playground ended up being nearly 90 percent accessible, even though the goal was only 70 percent. It’s exciting to see that the community knows it's there and is using it.”

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