This week, Thompson Peak Park joined Chaparral Park to offer inclusive playgrounds tailored to children with physical, cognitive and sensory disabilities.
Upgrades to the playground at 20199 N. 78th Place, which include new swings, interactive equipment and other features, began in January. City leaders will celebrate the finished product at a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 2:30 p.m. March 31.
The vibrant new playground has equipment that is challenging for children of all ability levels. One of most popular areas at any park is the swings. With a combination of standard swings, swings with straps for kids who can’t sit unassisted and bucket and belt swings, the park offers a range of options that allow everyone to experience the fun together.
Another play feature – the accessible whirl -- involves spinning, which is popular among children with certain cognitive disabilities.
The playground also has equipment that provides multisensory tactile experiences, slide assist exits that allow caregivers ample time to help children off equipment and cozy spots for children who might get overwhelmed by playground distractions and noise.
A large rubber surface area and small incremental inclines on play structures allow seamless navigation throughout the playground’s inclusive spaces.
“The new playground goes beyond accessibility,” said Nick Molinari, Scottsdale’s parks and recreation director. “People of all ages and abilities can climb, explore, discover and interact together."
In 2012, the federal government made access to play areas a civil right under the Americans with Disabilities Act, which makes it mandatory to include playground equipment, materials and designs that allow those with disabilities to play alongside other children more easily.
All of Scottsdale’s 37 playgrounds are deemed accessible and meet ADA guidelines, but Thompson Peak Park is now one of two in the city that go beyond basic federal requirements.