After a year of planning and building, it’s time to roll out the sidewalk and invite everyone to come and play with us at Lake Pleasant Regional Park! Please join us for the grand opening of our new nature-themed playground on Saturday, November 9, 2019, from 10 am to 2 pm.
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. “The county’s regional park system is an open space park system that is dedicated to showcasing its natural surroundings. So, 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. Instead of seeing the traditional climbing pieces in our parks, you’ll now see Tarantula rockwalls and cactus climbers.”
Over the past five years, the parks department has been removing outdated playground systems and installing new nature-themed playgrounds in their regional parks.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. Here, you can attend an interpretive program either indoors or in the amphitheater, hike along a nature trail, visit either the Desert Tortoise exhibit or indoor critter exhibits, purchase a gift for a friend in the retail store, or just enjoy the scenic views from the patio. Relocating the playground to this area will help visitors enjoy all of this in one place.”
“The lake has installed some of the most stunning pieces yet. Here, kids will find a larger than life Bald Eagle climber with a double slide and nets, and an impressive 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.
To learn more about the playground grand opening, visit bit.ly/2MC7qsV. 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).
At approximately 120,000 acres, Maricopa County is home to one of the largest regional park systems in the United States. The parks are located throughout the County and are all within a 45-minute drive from downtown Phoenix. For information about activities at a County park near you, call (602) 506-2930 or visit www.maricopacountyparks.net/.