Sunshades, zip lines, and roller massages are words one might associate with resorts or cruise ships, but these actually describe an inclusive playground in Woodbury, Minnesota. Madison’s Place, named for a child lost to spinal atrophy, was a passion project for her mother, Dana Millington, who raised $830,000 over 12 years to build it.
Noticing that the local playgrounds were inaccessible to disabled children—and that she couldn’t even push Madison’s wheelchair onto one due to sandy ground—Millington consulted with play specialists and with manufacturer Landscape Structures to plan a sensory-play experience suited to children ages five to 12, of every ability.
The manufacturer’s bucket seat zip line, called the ZipKrooz, offers a 50-foot thrill ride while the Xylofun Panel beckons budding musicians to play its bars. Sight- and hearingimpaired children were considered, too: There’s a learning wall with braille and slides that don’t generate static (which can interfere with cochlear implants and hearing aids). Oodle swings accommodate four to six children at once and are specially designed for transfer from a wheelchair or walker. And Roller Tables feature the manufacturer’s TenderTuff-coated steel rollers and arched overhead handrails to help kids slide across its surface, affording them sensory stimulation via deep-muscle pressure. Finally, 4-inch-thick rubber flooring and a series of ramps and connecting decks ensure safety and easy access for children—whether on feet or on wheels.