Shawn and Amanda Bakker were on a family trip in Idaho when their vision of an all-inclusive playground began to take shape. After visiting Brooklyn’s Playground in Pocatello, Idaho with their son and two daughters, including Tatum who has spina bifida, the Bakkers felt inspired to bring an all-inclusive playground to their own community in Salinas, California. When they arrived back home the Bakkers began researching options and rallying their community to help design and build a one-of-a-kind playground where all children regardless of ability can come together, interact, be included and grow, through the gift of play. We are so proud and feel so honored to be to be working with the Bakkers and Salinas community in designing and building Tatum’s Garden.
The Bakkers also visited Matteo’s Playground in Concord, CA, another all-inclusive playground designed by Leathers and Associates, to make this video about Tatum’s Garden (email subscribers may need to view full post on our website to play video):
Tatum’s Garden will have a vegetable garden theme reflecting the heritage of Salinas Valley and many local artists are involved in creating artwork. An example of this is a beautiful mosaic entry wall at the playground. Kids will have fun exploring the unique features including a giant broccoli tree house which is the focal point of this playground’s design. There will be a barn and stable along with a produce stand that reflect those that you find in Salinas, along with a celery slide, grapevine climber, spinach spinner, asparagus climbers and much, much more! Children will also be able to take a break in “safe zones” created within the park, and kids will be delighted by the sensory garden.
L&A designer Jim Houghton explains, “We used to say, ‘fully accessible’ to describe this kind of playground. Now, we are doing more than just getting children to something. We design an all-inclusive, fully accessible playground, so all children have opportunities to interact and play cooperatively at all levels.”
The 20,000 square foot all-inclusive playground will be built September 10-15 with a pre-build scheduled for September 6-8. It will be built with 94 percent post-consumer recycled plastic. To learn how to donate your time or money towards building Tatum’s Garden, please visit their website or Facebook page. You can also view our portfolio of all-inclusive playgrounds and contact us to learn how to bring a custom playground to your own community.