You probably think you know playgrounds.
I know I certainly did. That was before I set eyes on the playground at The Hills at Charlesworth. The first thing I noticed was that it doesn’t really look like any other playgrounds I’ve ever seen before.
That’s kind of the point.
The aim is to do things a little differently here. It’s billed as a green community, with homes that carry higher efficiency ratings, constructed using sustainable building practices.
At the centre of the neighbourhood, and basically the first thing you see as you drive in, is the Sustainability Plaza – a multi-purpose area that features a large green space, a solar-powered wifi zone, and benches made from recycled shipping containers. An oversize watering can sits off to one side, serving as a rain collection system to help water the nearby community garden.
And then there’s the playground.
The main section is huge wooden rectangle. The features are sparse and the look is very natural, right down to the wood chips the park is based in. Aside from the lone silver slide, there are few things jutting off the structure. Simple. Clean. Very modern.
There are plenty of ways for going up – rope ladders, small wooden ledges with hand holes, a staggered peg ladder, and a black metal plate with hand and foot holes cut at various intervals. The coolest features are arguably the climbing walls, made of red holds on clear walls.
I have one confident climber who found several ways up the main structure and loved it. Her twin sister, though, is leery of heights, and didn’t want to ascend the main playground, other than by using the inside of the cylindrical ladders, or by clambering up the slide. Still, both girls loved this park, and all it’s unique little features, right down to the finger maze built into one of the interior walls.
Though small in size, the toddler park really captured their imaginations. There’s a little climbing wall, a staircase, a rope bridge and a small slide. Two activity panels feature sliding pegs and spinning stars. My girls were especially enthusiastic about a small ledge with painted circles of various sizes. They imagined a stove, a pet feeding zone, and the base of a hopscotch-like game!
The playground at The Hills at Charlesworth is visually gorgeous, and a true testament to the fact that kids love to play, and no matter what the facility looks like, they adapt and create and imagine. It’s a beautiful space to sit back and watch your kids find their way. It will be lovely for winter visits, too, as there is a terrific toboggan hill and the community plans call for a 200 metre Ice Ribbon for outdoor skating.
The Sustainability Plaza has a solar-powered wifi zone, and plenty of benches, but no bathroom or porta-potty. That said, you are just minutes from the new Harvest Point Shopping Centre, which has plenty of options for both snacks and restrooms.
The Playground at The Hills at Charlesworth:
Where: Just off Ellerslie Road at Charlesworth Way SW, Edmonton