The state’s first playground designed by Boundless Playgrounds for kids of all abilities celebrated its 10th anniversary on Saturday and announced plans for an expansion in order to welcome even more visitors to the North Wilmington park.
The Can-Do Playground at Alapocas Run State Park is a safe place where kids and even adults can play and socialize regardless of their physical, mental or sensory abilities. The entire area was was designed to eliminate some of the barriers that older playgrounds pose for visitors. For some, this is a uniquely special place where parents and grandparents can play outdoors with their children.
Smooth surfaces and ramps allow for wheelchair access, activity panels are placed lower to the ground so kids and adults in mobility devices can reach them, even backhoe diggers are close to the walkway in case kids can’t walk over to them. “This has certainly been a very powerful experience for community members,” said Susan Staats, superintendant of Wilmington State Parks. “A number of organizations, schools and families enjoy this park. For the last 10 years the Can-Do Playground has really filled an important community need.”
The 10th anniversary celebration included face painting, a scavenger hunt and a visit by the Brandywine Zoo, who brought reptiles and other animals for kids to see and learn about. “We were glad to have so many people come out today to see what we’re trying to achieve,” said Christopher Johnson, park management intern.
After the success of Wilmington’s playground, Rotary clubs up and down the state raised funds to develop additional Can-Do Playgrounds. Milford opened one two years ago and Middletown is opening one soon.
And thanks to the Junior League of Wilmington who identified a need, another all-accessible playground was developed at the Leach School in New Castle in the mid-1990’s. “The Leach School playground was created at the request of teachers who hated to see their students watching others play without being able to join in,” said Andrea Rotsch.
Six Wilmington area Rotary clubs are currently fundraising for an expansion of the Wilmington Can-Do playground, which will include additional picnic areas and nature play spaces. People can contribute and learn more here.