Universal Design Playground Opening Celebration Saturday, November 13 at 11 a.m.

11/4/20212 years ago

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Universal Design Playground at Danehy Park

The City of Cambridge invites the community to attend the opening celebration ceremony for the new Universal Design Playground at Danehy Park on Saturday, November 13, at 11:00 a.m., at 75 Field Street. The ceremony will include a speaking program, followed by refreshments. Rain date is November 14.

The 30,000 square foot play area is the first playground in Cambridge to fully incorporate Universal Design (UD) - the concept that all parts should be as usable as possible, without changes, by everyone. In addition to physical accessibility, UD takes sensory, cognitive, and emotional abilities into consideration to create an environment that is welcoming to all people to the greatest extent possible.

“Cambridge is known for the healthy, safe, and innovative designs of our parks and playgrounds, and many of our playgrounds incorporate elements of Universal Design,” said Cambridge City Manager Louis A. DePasquale. “By constructing a playground that demonstrates UD principles in every feature, we are taking the city’s commitment to inclusivity further and reimagining how we think about built spaces.”

The UD Playground has several areas that encourage visitors to interact with each other, including the Swing Zone, Spin Zone, and Climbing Slope. The Junior Play Area features a train-shaped play structure with various climbing features and a double slide. The Senior Play Area includes a tower, climbing ladder and wall, sliding bars and slide, and a talk-tube network that communicates messages to different parts of the structure. Both play areas accommodate people of all ages who use mobility devices, and both reflect details of Danehy Park’s history as the former site of the New England Brick Company.

The Sensory Walk Zone features a pathway designed with bands of crushed stone, concrete, and granite pavers. Whether or not someone uses a mobility device, they will experience tactile and auditory responses from the changing textures. There is also a music area that produces rain and chime sounds. Plantings on either side of the pathway engage the senses of smell, sight, and touch.

The playground’s “Sensory Hilltop” is reached through an accessible, labyrinth-style pathway. The Hilltop’s wooden features, designed by Cambridge artist Mitch Ryerson, are constructed from Black Locust wood, which is resistant to rot and splintering. These include log steppers, a log climber, and a central wooden structure. A wooden marimba invites visitors to experiment with sound, and animal-shaped engravings invite tactile exploration. A “Scentsation” vine provides shade and the smell of honeysuckle.

For more information about the Universal Design Playground, visit