Anchorage is leading the way in inclusive play. The Anchorage Park Foundation and the Municipality of Anchorage are making inclusive play a priority because children of all abilities deserve a place to play. A recent study by University of Alaska graduate student Adam Schoffstall found that Anchorage is a leader in the nation, having built a whopping 12 inclusive playgrounds and working with multiple stakeholders to continue to plan and construct even more. The Governor’s Council on Disabilities and Special Education recently recognized the Anchorage Park Foundation and partners for the work that has been done on inclusive play. We know there’s still a lot to do, but we have made great strides this summer!
In July, we helped host the second annual Anchorage Teddy Bear Picnic. Over 3,000 people came together to celebrate inclusive play in Cuddy Family Midtown Park, home to Anchorage’s first inclusive playground. The picnic included bouncy castles, a Teddy Bear parade, salmon burgers, and many activities that catered to all abilities and ages. We partnered with The Arc of Anchorage, Ted Stevens Foundation, Anchorage Parks and Recreation, Stone Soup Group, Governor’s Council on Disabilities and Special Education, Special Olympics, Equine Assisted Therapy Alaska, FOCUS, Girl Scouts of Alaska, Anchorage Public Library, Anchorage Skating Club, and Parks for All to make this day a resounding success.
In September, the inclusive playground at South Anchorage Sports Park opened. This playground boasts a little bit of everything: an ADA accessible parking lot, two roller slides that inspire healthy competition and provide a unique sensory experience, an oodle swing that encourages collaborative play, accessible play surfacing, and the largest net-climber in the city—30ft tall! The whole playground was built with inclusive play in mind, and we are thrilled to see so many children enjoy all the fun features this playground offers.
Construction continues at Chanshtnu Muldoon Park (previously referred to as Muldoon Town Square Park). The playground design is inspired by the Alaska Greenhouses that once resided on the land, with a greenhouse net climber, sculptural grass spinners, and floating rocks. Other inclusive features include accessible play surfacing, musical instruments, two oodle swings, and a supernova spinner for group play. We look forward to the playground opening in the coming weeks and the work on Phase 2 of the park which will begin next summer.
Also on the docket for next year, Jewel Lake Park, Chugach Foothills Park, Whisper Faith Kovach Park, and Frontierland Park are all set to get new inclusive play features. We are also excited for our first indoor playground, which will be at the Fairview Recreation Center.
Currently we have 12 inclusive playgrounds. Check them out!