New playscape highlights Family Fun Day
Created largely of earth, granite and wood, the playscape offers kids an opportunity to play outdoors, exploring the types of features one might find on a hike up a mountain trail. They can balance on a log bridge, jump from stump to stump, cross a suspension bridge, or climb to the playscape's summit. Or they might choose to explore an area known as the bear cave. They can also make their way through a meadow maze as they observe the birds and plants that inhabit the area. A sandbox area is also provided.
The playscape's official opening is part of today's Family Fun Day at the AMC Highland Center on Route 302 in Crawford Notch. Free, the event is set to feature games for kids, animal track casting, a map-and-compass demonstration, sing-alongs and other family-friendly activities.
The L.L. Bean Bootmobile is also slated to roll in as part of the festivities. The Bootmobile is an oversized replica of the iconic L.L. Bean boot, fitted to a truck chassis, created in celebration of the famed Maine outfitter's 100th anniversary this year. L.L. Bean representatives are set to demonstrate fly-casting throughout the day.
“Because of its unique design and inviting nature, the playscape can be a first step into the world of outdoor exploration, learning and fun for kids who may not have spent much time in the outdoors or who are uncomfortable with the idea of venturing too far,” explained AMC Highland Center Director Rick McCarten.
AMC created the playscape to provide an outdoor play option for children, in keeping with the organization's dedication to helping kids and families get engaged in outdoor activities.
The playscape is designed for kids ages 5 to 12. It is open to the public when it is not being used for guest programming. Organized groups wishing to use the playscape should contact the Highland Center in advance. The playscape incorporates barrier-free design features, and sections are wheelchair-accessible.
Halvorson Design Partnership designed the playscape, with a focus on natural materials. Native plantings are part of the landscaping details. That allows the playscape to blend in with its surroundings.
AMC purchased materials from several area suppliers and employed area contractors for the project. Stone Gardens in North Sandwich provided the stone masonry. Quarry stone was purchased from A.J. Coleman & Son of Conway, which also poured concrete footings. Gravel was purchased from Pike Industries in Gorham, and fencing is from Vermont Fencing Co. in Monroe.
Rob Burbank is director of Media and Public Affairs for the Appalachian Mountain Club in Pinkham Notch. His column, “Outdoors with the AMC,” appears monthly in the New Hampshire Sunday News.
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