New Nature-Themed Playground Coming to River Legacy
By Office of Communication
Posted on February 27, 2012, February 27, 2012

Time was when Elisabeth Olden couldn't come within a mile of River Legacy Park without stopping long enough for seven-year-old daughter Aubrey to bolt from the family car and get her playground fix. She'd swing, climb and even toss dirt in the air.

Playground trips to River Legacy are less frequent these days for Aubrey, who turns a big-girl eight next month. But that's about to change.

The playground located in the northwest corner of the park will soon receive a noticeable redo. All the equipment is being replaced. Once the playground renovations are complete, it will make the play area larger with more things for small children to do as well as been-there-done-that veterans like Aubrey.

Right now the playground consists of swings and a pair of small climbing structures with slides. It's small with visible signs of age and is made almost entirely of wood.

The new playground will have slides and swings as well, but it will feature an elevated play structure as its centerpiece. Users will be able to crawl through tunnel-like sections, moving upward and, basically, among the tree branches where they can eventually come down a big slide, if they so choose.

Smaller climbing and play structures for really young children will be designed to look like a T-Rex, a bumblebee and a spider, among other things. Parents who don't necessarily want to partake in the aerobic climbing activities can watch from one of several benches that will circle the playground.

Parking spaces, the walkway leading to nearby restrooms, and the restrooms themselves will also be updated. Funding comes from the 2008 Bond program.

"This is a big deal,"Park Project Manager Kurt Beilharz said of plans for the city's largest and most heavily used park. "River Legacy is an important park to Arlington because it's a regional park. People come here from all over."

The new playground will have a nature-oriented theme with some structures resembling old trees and tree houses.

"There's nothing like this in our park system,"Beilharz said.

Parks Planning Manager De'Onna Garner said it's not just the playground getting an overhaul. The master plan calls for a trail to connect with two other park trails, creating a loop to other areas where families can play or just rest and enjoy the beauty of River Legacy. The idea is to encourage families to move around for additional exercise.

Plans are also in the works to include an educational component with signage and information cards that explain park habitat.

"This is going to be the most unique playground we have and will give park patrons the ability to enjoy a nature-themed playground in a very natural setting,"Garner said. "We believe it will be a very popular with kids and parents."

Nature-Themed PlaygroundPlease keep in mind that not all of the components will not be installed in this phase, but will be added later as funding becomes available.

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