Little houses in the sky
If you’ve been by Skyline Park lately, you’ve likely seen our very cool new playscape starting to rise into the sky! When it’s complete early next year, Skyline Park will feature two different playground areas as well as additional swings, hillside slides, and a zip line! Kids ages 5 up to adults will love our 3-story playscape featuring multiple connecting structures as well as our own miniature version of the Pennybacker Bridge called the Mini Penny! A playscape for kids ages 2 – 5 will offer lower climbing structures and bright rubber mounds that are great for running, bouncing, and jumping. We sat down with designer Ismael Velo to get the inside scoop on how these amazing custom structures came to be.
Creating a destination
The playground was designed by the playground designers at Earthscape in partnership with Easton Park’s land team and the landscape designers at TBG. Because Skyline Park will be Easton Park’s biggest signature park, the team wanted to create a dramatic design that would make the most of the amazing city views from the Skyline site. “We often talk about playgrounds as being a destination, because when you build a playground that is so unique and great, people will drive or travel specifically to play,” says designer Ismael Velo. “Our goal is placemaking; making the neighbors proud of their public space and their playspace, and that’s a big part of what building a custom playground is about.”
Stacked houses for the neighborhood
After several site visits, the team envisioned a structure that reflected the neighborhood, offering smaller house-like towers “We presented a few options – the first version had more of a Hansel and Gretel feel,” Ismael says. “We quickly settled on a more sleek and modern design with that same principle of interconnected stacked houses. Those who are brave enough to climb to the top are rewarded with a trip down the tube slide and beautiful views.”
For kids of all ages
The stacked house play structures and three-story tube slide are designed to be fun for adults as well as kids. Not only can adults climb to the top to admire the scenic vistas of downtown Austin, but they can also get anywhere to help smaller climbers who might need a little help. ”To be a successful playground, adults need to love it, too,” Ismael says. “We always build things so an adult person can get anywhere a child might need to be rescued by dad and mom if they get scared or need a little help getting down.”
Spots to discover
While passers-by can already see the stacked towers, there are other features of the new playground that might not be visible at first glance. “We wanted to give kids a few experiences that they might not be expecting,” Ismael says. “For example, at the bottom of the smaller tower, there’s a secluded basement space that you can only access by climbing down a ladder. Another experience is inside the tower, there’s a section where the floor is slanted as if it were the roof of the house. Kids feel like they are climbing on the roof, but it’s walled off so they won’t fall off. When they reach the very top, there’s more open space, and they can hang out and look at the view of downtown.”
A place for the little guys
For younger kids and less adventurous climbers, the other side of the park features a play section designed to look like a tree canopy with a tree house. This smaller-scale playground offers climbing opportunities more tailored to smaller children aged 2-5.
Bringing the vision to life
The play structures were manufactured at the company’s facility in Ontario and brought by truck to Easton Park. “We make everything in wood, and it was all designed to be safe and durable,” Ismael says. “It wouldn’t be too smart to install metal slides – they would get too hot – so those will be plastic. The ropes are made of nylon and steel so they last a long time even
after long years of wear and thousands of hands and feet over them. We do use metal for structural integrity and for certain features like certain climbing bars. We want the playground to last a long time.”
Introducing the Mini-Penny!
Another iconic feature of Skyline Park is sure to be the Mini-Penny bridge that connects the smaller and larger playgrounds. Designed to be a miniature replica of Austin’s Pennybacker Bridge, the Mini-Penny was made from self-weathering steel with a concrete deck. The bridge was manufactured in Minnesota and will be trucked down to Austin soon. We can’t wait to see it all in place.
Skyline Park should be open early next year. Want to live within walking distance? Come live with us in Easton Park! Beautiful new homes are available now from some of the best builders in Austin.