Two miles from the Pacific Ocean is the Westchester Community Center in Los Angeles, California. The center is a favorite destination for thousands of families each year, but it lacked a creative play space that inspired the imaginations of children. The community needed a playground and wanted to integrate their natural history and components of the ecosystem into the project. They also were seeking a partner who was committed to sustainability and environmental conservation.
GameTime’s custom play division, PlayWorx, developed preliminary sketches that featured a sculptured humpback whale as part of ocean-themed play elements. Community leaders enthusiastically approved the design, requesting more custom sculptures and opportunities for children to explore and learn about the ocean and its wonders. A baby whale and wave climber were added to create a cozy spot for children to gather, observe until ready to engage in play, or provide a place for children to seek sensory relief. Utilizing the best practice design guidelines outlined in Me2, an inclusive playground design guidebook developed by PlayCore and Utah State University’s Center for Persons with Disabilities, this playground offers play activities that provide both physical and social inclusion, for children of all abilities.
GameTime combined a traditional play structure with custom fabricated play elements, such as ocean piers featuring barnacles, crabs and other sea life at the base of each post. The ocean wave climbers incorporate fish and rock formations to provide endless hours of fun, exploration and discovery. By bringing the elements of the ocean to the playground, children are able to discover the underwater world while engaging in more creative, imaginative types of dramatic play. The community’s goals of constructing a sustainable play space were achieved by using recycled steel for the play structure, recycled composite wood for the piers and recycled tires for the playground surface. This destination playground will impact and inspire thousands of young imaginations today, and protect natural resources in the future.