Landscape Architect & Specifier News

MAR 2017

LASN is a photographically oriented, professional journal featuring topics of concern and state-of-the-art projects designed or influenced by registered Landscape Architects.

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34 Landscape Architect and Specifier News Oz, Balloon Escape, and Ruby Red Shoes. Entering the playground, the Scarecrow storybook character sign shows two paths to choose from, either following the Yellow Brick Road or clicking your heels through the ruby red shoes. A 24-foot rainbow arch casts colorful patterns on the glittery Yellow Brick Road entry. Toto's doghouse roof has colorful dog bones, which serve as climbing grips and help teach children rainbow color names. Farming becomes fun at Aunt Em's crooked farmhouse with cornfield talk tubes, farm spring animal rides, garden flower roller slide, big red barn, tall silo red slide, chicken coop, big green play tractor, and the Wicked Witch trapped underneath the house. The existing mature woodland was a perfect setting for the Emerald Forest, which has flying monkeys, climbing ropes, and a forest play area. The Emerald City has climbing towers, balcony overlooks, bubble view windows, and scientific gizmo panels used by "Oz," the great and powerful wizard. Three hot-air balloon structures await children for a pretend ride home. Most impressive are Dorothy's magical Ruby Red Shoes, Left: The Yellow Brick Road is painted onto the asphalt path and coated with wet-look sealer and glitter. By following the Yellow Brick Road, children and families can go from Oz to the rest of the park. Above: Dorothy's magical pair of glass fiber reinforced concrete (GFRC) Ruby Red Shoes is a set of giant 6-foot slides custom designed with a glitter surface. In the background, three big hot-air balloon play structures await children for a pretend ride home to Kansas. To the left of the hot air balloons is a set of woodland music chimes (Freenotes) that connect children to an artistic/acoustic sense of play. Park visitors post comments and photographs on social media about the playground. An "Our Kids" webpage post sums it up . . . "My daughter was clicking her ruby slippers saying she felt like she was in the real Land of Oz!" a pair of giant 6-foot slides custom designed with a glitter surface. Custom accessible equipment was specifically designed for this playground so children can easily navigate the Emerald Castle ramps and ground-level play equipment. Diligent measures were taken to save trees during the design phase. The accessible play surface was redesigned with a drainage system to allow water and air for existing tree roots. Native Eastern redbuds (Cercis canadensis), red oaks (Quercus rubra), and white dogwoods (Cornus florida) were planted. The entry landscape has tall stalks of corn plants, and Aunt Em's farm garden includes pink Echinacea and coral-bells, lavender-blue balloon flowers, red daylily, white Shasta daisy, and blue/ pink hydrangea flowers. In addition, the "Yellow Brick Road" walkway has yellow black-eyed Susan flowers and wheat-like ornamental grass. Leaving the playground, users can ride an accessible carousel from the early 1900s or hop on the miniature train to the Old Maryland Farm. Guests can also explore the nature center and its wildlife exhibits, hike on one of the park's several trails, go camping, or play mini golf, baseball, or tennis.

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