Grand opening of nature-themed playground at Lake Pleasant happening this week

PEORIA – After a year of planning and building, Maricopa County Parks Department is rolling out the sidewalk and inviting everyone to come and play at Lake Pleasant Regional Park for the grand opening of the new nature-themed playground.

The celebration takes place on Saturday, November 9, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

In 2009, the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors approved the Maricopa County Parks and Recreation System Master Plan that envisioned county parks playing a critical role in connecting and reconnecting people with nature.  One vital component of the plan was to ensure the county parks truly represented Arizona’s unique Sonoran Desert environment.

But, how does a parks agency that is located in the “fastest-growing county in the U.S.” connect people with nature when the amount of available open space located in urban areas is shrinking?

“You get very creative,” said R.J. Cardin, Maricopa County Parks and Recreation Department Director. “It made sense for us to look for playground pieces that blended with the landscape while providing youth with a safe place to explore their natural surroundings when we began redesigning our playground systems.”

Cardin says that “instead of seeing the traditional climbing pieces in our parks, you’ll now see Tarantula rockwalls and cactus climbers.”

(Photos courtesy of Maricopa County Parks Department)

Over the past five years, the parks department has been removing outdated playground systems and installing new nature-themed playgrounds in their regional parks.

In 2016, the tired playground system located in the Roadrunner Campground Area at Lake Pleasant Regional Park was dismantled.

“At the same time the playground was being removed, the Discovery Center was receiving a complete makeover,” said Maricopa County Board of Supervisor Clint Hickman, District 4. “The Discovery Center is the hub for visitor activity. Relocating the playground to this area will help visitors enjoy all of this in one place.”

At the new playground kids will find a larger than life Bald Eagle climber with double slide and nets, and a brightly colored Gila Monster rock climber with a roller slide.

“We’ve also included a Cottonwood tree climber, Desert Tortoise and spiderweb climbers, and red hawk topped spinner under a massive shade structure to help keep the kiddos from overheating,” added Cardin.

Lake Pleasant Regional Park is located at 41835 N. Castle Hot Springs Road. Castle Hot Springs Road is located roughly near Mile Marker 19 on the Carefree Highway (Hwy. 74).

To learn more about the playground grand opening, visit bit.ly/2MC7qsV.For information about activities at a County park near you, call (602) 506-2930 or visit www.maricopacountyparks.net/.