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PHOTOS: Michelle Smigielski


VIRIDIS Design Group assisted John Ball Zoo with design and implementation of The Playground in the Park--a neighborhood, nature-inspired play space designed with universal and inclusive design principles in mind. An amenity for the surrounding community, the playground was envisaged as a space where children and youth of all ages, of various abilities, can come together to play, learn, and celebrate.

Inspired by West Michigan’s native flora and fauna, the playground maximizes the use of natural materials to help foster curiosity and reverence for the natural world. Wood, rock, and native vegetation are seamlessly woven throughout the play areas, supporting nature-based play experiences.  A wide range of wooden play equipment with varied user options enable multiple sensory experiences and motor challenges while encouraging children to interact together with natural materials.

VIRIDIS Design Group worked side-by-side with neighbors and staff and students at Sacred Heart Academy to create an iconic playground tower. Working with Toronto-based playground designers, Earthscape, the team created a custom design for the John Ball Zoo Park community. Children of all abilities are invited to use their imagination and storytelling skills to create their own unique adventures and experiences at this one-of-a-kind playground. 


Location:  Grand Rapids, Michigan

Size:  .75 Acre

Client: John Ball Zoo

Completion Date:  Fall 2019

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