The Destination Playground at Clear Creek Valley Park is a uniquely designed and themed playground offering diverse play experiences for children. Several historical themes have been incorporated into the design to pay tribute to the area’s history, especially the Grippa Family with four generations of farming on the property. The total playground site is approximately 1-acre including adjacent lawn and landscape and 3 picnic plazas with shade shelters. The playground consists of three main areas: the 2-5 play area for young explorers; the 5-12 play area for older, more skilled adventurers; and a central sand and water play area adjacent to the group picnic shelter.
Near the entry, the 2-5 play area takes inspiration from the Grippa farmhouse with a small ‘farmhouse’ climbing structure, play mound crop rows, the ‘wood pile’ balance circuit, and over-sized vegetable sculptures with watering can playhouse for dramatic play. At the center of the playground, ‘The Farmyard’ sand and water play space is for all ages especially those who like building and hand-on creative play. The area includes a tractor tire pile filled with sand, a tire tunnel, a water trough, and hand water pumps feeding water runnels with gates to manipulate flow. The eastern play area for 5-12 year olds draws inspiration from the adventures that a child growing up on the Grippa Farm might have had exploring ‘the back forty’ and the cottonwood tree-lined drainages found on the outskirts of the farm. Rolling mounds, a ‘treehouse’ play structure with net bridge, a zipline, and tire swings engage and physically challenge the development of older children visiting the park.
Clear Creek Valley Park was a collaborative effort with landscape architects MIG responsible for the design of the overall park and Urban Play Studio responsible for the design of the Destination Playground. Hyland Hills Parks and Recreation staff brought creativity to the project sourcing hard-to-find materials such as the tractor tires and by contracting with several design-build companies for custom elements such as the water play system and the oversized themed play sculptures.