New Water Features at Tilles Park Playground Can Be Enjoyed by Children Regardless of Physical Abilities
Accessible, inclusive water play for children of all ages and physical abilities is the idea behind the new interactive water features now in splashing action at Tilles Park in Ladue. The water features were built as part of the new St. Louis Children’s Hospital All-Inclusive Playground by St. Louis-based fountain consulting firm Hydro Dramatics, in collaboration with St. Louis Children’s Hospital, the St. Louis County Parks Department and SWT Design.
Located on a one-acre site within Tilles Park, the inclusive play space is the newest and largest facility of its type in the St. Louis area.
The playground was designed with guidance from health-care professionals to incorporate opportunities for children of all ability levels to play together in a safe and stimulating environment. “Water is cooling and great fun, while also stimulating to all of a child’s senses—sight, sound, touch, smell and taste,” says Kerry Friedman, vice president and general manager for Hydro Dramatics. “One special challenge at Tilles Park was to provide exciting, interactive water features that were easily accessed by children of all abilities. Watching the kids play there, it’s gratifying to see that we succeeded on all counts.”
Friedman noted that one accommodation that is making a big difference to kids who might be unsteady on their feet is the use of start buttons rather than motion sensors to set off the interactive sequences of water jets, squirts and splashes that kids so enjoy. “The water sequences set off by the buttons are still great fun to play in, but not so startling—an important consideration for water features in an inclusive playground,” he says.
The St. Louis Children’s Hospital All-Inclusive Playground also features ramps; steps and mock rock climbers; a multi-sensory area with sound and physical tactile stimulation equipment; an inclusive swing area; shade structures; a sand play area; a “challenge walk” that encircles the entire play space; and a rubberized ground covering that is accessible to wheelchairs, walkers and other assistive devices.
Established in 1972, Hydro Dramatics is a division of Missouri Machinery & Engineering Co. Inc. (www.momach.com). This affiliation enhances Hydro Dramatics’ technological and fountain creative expertise and provides its design team with direct access to the fabrication/manufacturing capabilities needed to tackle the most sophisticated fountain projects, including the Gateway Geyser in East St. Louis, the tallest fountain in the United States.
Among recently completed area projects are several new fountains and water features at the Missouri Botanical Garden, the Grand Basin and Jewel Box in Forest Park, the Cypress Swamp at the Saint Louis Zoo and several fountains at Saint Louis University. In addition to creating fountains regionally and nationally, Hydro Dramatics provides fountain equipment overseas. The firm’s recent international projects include designing and creating fountains in San Juan, Puerto Rico; at Weil University in Doha, Qatar; and at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow.
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Media contact: Patricia Binder, 636-441-0022, or Debra Finkel, 314-878-1213, Finkel & Binder Communications LLC, agent for Hydro Dramatics