Round Rock’s New Play for All Abilities Park

After five years of planning and thanks to a community-wide effort, the City of Round Rock recently celebrated the grand opening of the Play for All Abilities Park. The park rose out of a very simple wish of Kenneth Seymore’s: “Every kid deserves to be able to play on a playground.” Now 12-year-old Dennis can explore Dennis’ Dream (above) on his wheelchair and check out the other features of the Austin area’s first universally-accessible park:

  • Retreat Pod
  • Sensory Pod-Sand Box
  • Rock Band Pod
  • Rolling Hill/Performance Lawn
  • Sensory Pod
  • All Ability Swings
  • Brushy Creek Village life skills area

I had the opportunity to visit the Park with my friend Catherine and her 6-month-old daughter, Pearl. Here are our observations.

It’s unlike any park you have ever been to before. Yes, there are special swings for easy wheelchair access. Yes, there are ramps on the playscape. Yes, there are lots of places kids can attune fine motor skills and interact. But, apart than the bucket swings and “big kid” swings, it’s unlikely your child will have played on any of the equipment in the park before. In an era when many playscapes look very similar, this is a refreshing change. I especially liked the “Rock Band Pod” where you can play various “instruments” like drums and xylophone-like bells.

The layout and design maximizes shade. The park itself is fenced and quite large. I was really impressed that many large oak trees were incorporated into the design of the park, which will undoubtedly provide shade during our miserable hot Texas summers. The playground structure also is partially covered and the life skills area, Brushy Creek Village, could provide a cool(er) spot to take a break from the sun.

Kids of all abilities can play side by side. Yes, I realize I’m stating the obvious, but what better way for children to understand each other than to play together? I really like the idea that my son can see that although someone else may be in a wheelchair, he or she can still experience the same joy as he does on a swing.

 

“Little” accommodations can go a long way. You may have seen cars like these two below before. But upon closer inspection, you can notice that while the red car has small seats which can transform it into a pretend race car, the blue car does not, to allow a child to wheel him or herself in and race to the finish!

This park may get popular – quickly! The day we visited was overcast and a little rainy, so the park was understandably empty. Even so, the Park is so large that I would imagine it would accommodate many visitors at a time. I look forward to taking my son so he can see all of the features of the park and give me his own review.

Pearl gave the park two enthusiastic thumbs up!Advertisement

* If you want to read another article about the park, and for some directions, I’d recommend you read Heidi’s post (the signage was not that prominent right when the park opened).

If you are a special needs family here in the Austin area, here are some resources you might find helpful:

Have you been to the park yet? If so, what were your impressions?

Written by: Nicole Basham

About Nicole Basham 793 Articles
A native Austinite and soccer-playing mom, Nicole uses her 10-year-old son as an excuse to rediscover her hometown through his eyes. In Thoreau's words, her mission is to "suck out all the marrow of life", or in her son's words, to cultivate in him a love of "advenchers".

2 Comments on Round Rock’s New Play for All Abilities Park

  1. this park is amazing! it was hard to find the first time, but i’m so glad we did. when we got there, there were only a couple parking spaces left in the paved lot. when we left, the paved lot was completely full, and an adjacent dirt lot also was full. even with all those park goers, there was plenty of area to play, and my kiddos didn’t have to wait long to try stuff. while there aren’t picnic tables, we saw lots of people sitting down on benches and under the group of trees that is just to the left of the gate to have a picnic lunch/snack…we will definitely do that the next time we go.

  2. I live in Killeen, but can’t wait to check it out for my 4 year old autistic son. He has a lot of sensory issues.
    Thanks

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