Universally Accessible Playground To Open Saturday In Santa Monica

Sunday, 7 Jul 2013, 9:06:00 AM

Mirror Staff

Santa Monica’s first Universally Accessible Playground is set to open next Saturday, July 13.

It is located at South Beach Park, near the 2900 block of Ocean Front Walk.

The playground provides children of all levels of ability to enjoy time at the beach in a way that may not have been possible before.

Accessible playgrounds include barrier-free equipment, increased maneuvering space, and accessible surfacing and paths.

Being wheelchair accessible is only one aspect of accessible playground design which also considers the needs of children with physical, cognitive, seeing and hearing disabilities, as well as children with complex developmental behavioral conditions, such as autism.

Sensory play elements to touch, feel, and hear, such as sand and water complement swings, slides, and climbing equipment and inspire activity, mobility, and imagination.

Mayor Pam O’Connor and members of Santa Monica’s Disabilities Commission and Recreation & Parks Commission, will officially open the South Beach Park playground at 10 am Saturday.

Santa Monica school children, whose winning Disability Awareness Month posters have been displayed along the construction fence, will receive fresh copies of their artwork from the Disabilities Commission.

“Inspired by Santa Monica's seaport history, and influenced by the sand and sea, the inclusive, multi-sensory playground takes the form of a ship, its blue and green sails welcoming visitors to the magnificent beaches of Santa Monica,” said playground designer Katherine Spitz of Katherine Spitz Associates, Inc. “The playground celebrates the marine environment with sensory and active play that recall elements of the marine world, providing an accessible place for children of all abilities to play on the beach.“

South Beach Park is served by Big Blue Bus line 1, which runs along Main Street. Short term and all day parking is available in Beach Lot 5S at 2600 Barnard Way.

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