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THE ANTHEM AWARDS 2023

Magical Bridge Playgrounds

WE ARE A PROUD 2023 FINALIST

Category: Diversity, Equity & Inclusion / Non-Profit

Community Engagement / Community Space 

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Magical Bridge Playgrounds
ALL AGES. ALL ABILITIES. ALL WELCOME.

ANTHEM AWARD SUBMISSION FIELDS:

 

SUMMARY 

Designed for all ages and abilities, Magical Bridge Playgrounds give everyone a place to experience the physical and social benefits of play. Here, the 1-in-4 living with physical, cognitive, or sensory disabilities, autism, and even older adults, are also included. Magical Bridge’s innovative design removes the physical and social barriers found in typical playgrounds so everyone thrives — and our Kindness Ambassador volunteers offer socially inclusive programs that unite the entire community.

 

GOALS AND OBJECTIVES 

In her search for a playground to delight both those with and without disabilities, Palo Alto mom Olenka Villarreal mobilized her community to reimagine play. After 7 years of research, fundraising, and dreaming, Magical Bridge opened in 2015 as a radically new playground designed for every “body.”

 

RESULTS AND IMPACT 

​​Today, 8 playgrounds (more coming!) each welcome 25,000+ visitors monthly, and Magical Bridge is recognized worldwide for innovative universal design. By meeting the needs of varying abilities and ages, Magical Bridge promotes critical intergenerational connections for more inclusive communities.

Where Inclusion Means Everyone.

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First opened in 2015, award-winning Magical Bridge Playgrounds are internationally recognized for inclusive and innovative features, including: 

DISTINCT PLAY ZONES™

Play Zones™ group play experiences such as swinging and spinning for predictable navigation with transitional space in between for real decision-making and open play.

 

Smooth and seamless soft-fall surfaces are used throughout — with no tan bark, sand, or loose gravel that may obstruct breathing tubes or impede access for wheelchairs and mobility devices.

 

Secure, perimeter fencing increases peace of mind as children explore the many opportunities within the space.

UNIQUE PLAY EXPERIENCES 

Quality equipment, carefully selected for maximum accessibility and play value, offers variable challenge levels to help build skills and confidence.

 

Magical Bridge-patented Slide and Sit Landings™ provide a transitional place at the end of a slide for those waiting for a mobility device or assistance from a friend. 

 

Hideaway Huts™ with tactile sensory walls give visitors, such as people with autism, a quiet and safe place to retreat and observe the action.

COMMUNITY CONNECTIONS

Gathering places with ample shade and comfort ignites multi-generational connections with space for games, celebrations, and performances.

 

The Kindness Corner™ encourages reflection and thoughtful conversations. 

 

The Kindness Ambassador™ program activates volunteers to promote kind behavior on and off the playground, including hosting fun and educational activities, events, and performances.

RECOGNITION

Internationally recognized, Magical Bridge Foundation enjoys ongoing recognition for design and community impact and has been featured for its innovation and inclusive playground design by:

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Magical Bridge was thrilled to be featured by PBS NewsHour for our work in designing inclusive playgrounds for all.

This video was created for an interactive exhibit on Inclusive Design featuring Magical Bridge Playground at the 2019 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

Olenka Villarreal, Founder and CEO of Magical Bridge Foundation, speaks about Designing for Everyone at the TEDx Conference in San Francisco.

If you have any questions about Magical Bridge Playgrounds or the Foundation, please contact play4all@magicalbridge.org

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