Category Archives: New Brunswick

Zip zip hooray

Skimming inches above the ground attached to a pulley hurtling down the line is an adrenalin charged zip, zip hooray moment. A steady stream of kids cycles through to the top of one of the twin ‘towers’ preparing to be airborne. Two zip lines, four feet apart are an invitation for back and forth races covering a distance of 100 feet.

Hands tightly grip batons as the zippers run down the 20º take-off slope before they launch — dangle — zip, or launch — drag — sputter in the sand.

This is a legs up course as there isn’t much clearance to glide over the ground surface. Either the lower legs are bent and thrust behind the zipper, or the legs are held in front of the body – both are a real workout for the abs. Of course where there are kids, there are variations….

Like the feet first ‘slice’ cutting through the air…

The ‘hopper’ reminiscent of a frog getting ready to spring off a lily pad.

Or as we can see below the closed-eyes wishing (left) and the eyes open, dust kicking dishing (right),

And the ‘going for the gusto’ parallel power start.

This zip line is located in New Brunswick’s Fundy National Park a two minute drive from the main visitor centre at the Alma entrance. There is a large grassy area, picnic benches and a variety of play structures. Our kids frittered around the other pieces but it was really the zipper that held the day.

Truth be told the kids haven’t encountered a functioning zip line they didn’t love. It’s the derringer-do, the exhilaration of defying gravity and yes, where there are double lines, the fun and thrill of racing…..

For Nova Scotia readers, there are a couple of new zip lines that have been installed recently in Kentville’s Oakdene Park

Zip you later…

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New Brunswick, Canada’s Call to Action – Get the Kids Outside

I heard the radio version of this promotion piece earlier today driving Nova Scotia’s highways. Just the soundtrack made me smile.

The visuals add to the fun. I hope this turns out to be a successful campaign for New Brunswick. The simplicity and beauty make for a powerful message. Be nice to see a series developed on the same theme.

Unplug the kids and go solar!!!

As this comes from Canada’s only officially bilingual province, there is also a French version.

Débranchez!!!

Simple Treasures

There is nothing quite like stumbling across a new treasure. Sharing the find with an appreciative audience like PlayGroundology readers makes it just that much sweeter. When the kids are with me too to revel in the discovery then we’re pretty much wallowing the nirvana zone.

Play opportunities are always top of mind when we’re on the road. We frequently hear a three part harmony from the back seat of the Orlando, “can we go to a playground here?”. In Edmundston, New Brunswick we hit gold in a municipal park located next to our campground.

DSCF7486Four tires, three kids and some chains

In my five years of visiting playgrounds, scouring the interweb and receiving photos from other play enthusiasts, this was the first time I come across this particular piece of equipment, truly a simple treasure.

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In the course of 15 minutes the kids were rodeo cowboy bronco riders, firefighters scaling a ladder to fight a blazing building, aerial daredevils manoeuvring around the perimeter just a stumble away from falling into boiling lava.

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The apparatus was also well suited for balancing, sundry acrobatics and gyrations, mountaineering, gale force laughter and slowmo tag.

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Bravo to the designers for the countless hours of fun they have made possible. Kudos to the local authority for retaining this wonderful piece for the kids.

Readers, what are your favourite simple treasures from the world of play?

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Let’s Play, Play, Play in St. Andrews By-The-Sea

It’s always a treat to unexpectedly come across a playground jewel. I love those sweet spot moments when I first see a new playscape that will become the subject of a PlayGroundology post.
Click photos to enlarge

On the rare occasions that I travel for work, the discoveries usually take place before the business day begins. I then have to wait patiently until the following morning, or the end of the work day to return to the site and shoot some photos. This was the case recently in St. Andrews By-The-Sea in southwestern New Brunswick on the Canadian shore of Passamaquoddy Bay.

At the St. Andrews Creative Playground, ten towers march skyward creating vertical sightlines for the many walkways, ramps and bridges that connect and lead to a variety of play areas. In addition to standard climbing, swinging and sliding stations, there are opportunities to test balancing prowess, play a tune on percussive pipes, let your fingers do the walking on an etched maze, or play tic-tac-toe with wooden blocks.

There are wonderful decorative touches throughout the playground including a red-spiked green dragon that wraps around one of the structures, fired tiles and concrete squares with symbols, names and collages embedded in a wall and a do-it-yourself pegboard art station.

In keeping with attention to details, a standard plastic tube swirl slide has two plexiglass windows installed on either side at the launch point. Small ones can look out and wave before they push off and whoosh momentarily through the darkness to the circle of light below. This is a customized design element that I haven’t seen anywhere else.

In 1993, Leathers & Associates from Ithaca, New York led the community in the design and building of this playground. Bob Leathers got his start in the playground world in the early 1970s when he was asked to organize people to build a playground at his children’s school. Since then, he’s been to every US state and seven countries with his brand of kid consultation and community build. Toronto’s High Park playground is another of his Canadian creations.

With an estimated lifespan of 25 years, there is still time for lots of laughter and play at the St. Andrews Creative Playground. If you’re in the neighbourhood of a playground designed by Leathers & Associates, take a moment and let your kids explore, run and play. They’ll love you for it.
Click on photo above for flickr slideshow.

NoteTomorrow, KaBOOM! will celebrate its 2,000th build in Washington, D.C. with a little help from First Lady Michelle Obama. Bravo for bringing communities, kids and playgrounds together and a big hats off to the KaBOOM! team for their social enterpreneur prowess