April 06, 2022

How Custom Playgrounds Turn Any Park Into a Theme Park

Do you remember your last visit to a theme park? One central memory likely jumps out as you reflect on the tasty snacks and fun rides you experienced: theming. 

Disney® is the master of themed entertainment. Their theme park engineers (dubbed "Imagineers") are famous for turning any space into an immersive experience. Sometimes, even waiting in line can be fun as you step into the different environments crafted with care by a team of Imagineers.

As the years progress, the technology that gives these creative professionals their trademark innovation is becoming available to the world of parks and recreation. In honor of World Landscape Architecture Month, let's look at some of our favorite custom playgrounds that provide the same magic as a trip to a theme park!

Abuzz With Play at the Smithsonian Playground

When the Smithsonian National Zoo wanted to create an interactive exhibit to promote bee conservation, GameTime's Landmark Design custom playground designers knew they had to create something unique.

Giant bee scultpure at the Smithsonian National Zoo playground by GameTime

Their creative expertise was put to the test when creating "Me and the Bee" – a 4,900 sq. ft. immersive experience where children can learn about these friendly pollinators. There are towering flowers, hop-along particles of pollen, honeycomb steps, crawl-through hollow trees, and tree stump slides dripping with golden honey.

Visitors "shrink" down to the size of a bee as they step through the honeycomb entrance and discover larger-than-life-sized figures of European honeybees and blue orchard mason bees. The poured-in-place rubber play surfacing includes yellow pollen particles, which children can "fly" over with their colony of friends to explore the bees' hive.

Giant flowers surround the play area at the National Zoo

As children take flight around the exhibit, they will find leaf-shaped signage that tells the story of pollination from the hive to the table. They can also interact with cranks and buttons to hear bees hard at work making honey!

A Hideaway Playground That Gets Lots of Attention

Toucan's Hideaway Playground is located next to the Toucan Splash Waterpark in West Chicago, IL. 

This play space immerses visitors in a tropical jungle environment by taking inspiration from African, Caribbean, and Pacific architecture. The high PowerScape Timbers® towers give children a toucan's-eye view of the entire playground with net climbers connecting all sections of the playground. Children can climb up twisted branches covered with vines and interact with friendly jungle creatures from top to bottom.

If the weather in this jungle adventure is getting warm, don't worry! There are rock climbers that spray super fine mists of water to cool things off. The entire playground also features accessible surfacing so every toucan can play together!

Play With a Friendly (Gila) Monster 

The Lake Pleasant playground in Morristown, Arizona, is an excellent example of a playground that wanted to break the mold of what a neighborhood park could be. Instead of a traditional set of swings and slides, the community wanted to give the playground a connection to the community and its geography. 

GameTime's Landmark Design created play sculptures that mimic animals native to the area around Morristown, Arizona. These creatures are at a near-heroic scale and super fun to encounter. 

As children explore the custom playground, they can climb up a bald eagle, rest on a tortoise, and even slide down a Gila monster! These play sculptures are a unique, eye-catching addition to the park, but it also instills a sense of pride among children in their Morristown identity. 

While the larger-than-life play sculptures are fantastic in their own right, one of the most appreciated features of this play area is the large shade structures that shield children from the heat of long Arizona summers.

These durable fabric shade structures block up to 97% of harmful UV rays and keep the play area cooler and more comfortable.

Make Way for Custom Play

Wouldn't it be great to have a Disney-like experience in your neighborhood? With the creative talents of GameTime's Landmark Design, your dream can become a reality! 

Whether you want to give families the experience of joining a bee colony, exploring the tree canopy with toucans, or sliding down a Gila monster, we can help. Contact a GameTime custom play expert in your neighborhood and bring your imagination to life!




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