We are a group of fun-loving volunteers from Friends of Missoula Parks (501c3) who joined with Missoula Parks and Recreation to make a big dream come true!
Kids, parents, teachers, therapists, and playful souls from across Missoula came together to create Montana’s first BIG universally accessible playground. Nearly an acre in size, Silver Summit has something for everyone!
The design started with the kids. Focus groups including kids using wheelchairs, kids on the autism spectrum, and youth with a variety of disabilities met to look at dozens of ideas and accessible playground designs from around the world. They completed visual questionnaires and rated equipment using the “smiley face scale.”
Kids using wheeled mobility wanted smooth surfacing, adaptive swings, an accessible playhouse…and a stage! They wanted to use ramps to get up high and they wanted to experience nature and gardening.
Those on the autism spectrum had some similar wants, but also asked for a Sensory Retreat – a place just outside the hustle and bustle to enjoy a peaceful atmosphere and recharge when needed. Plenty of plants, trees and a Cabin in the Woods were chosen.
The priorities that emerged form the focus groups drove the fabulously inventive design by landscape architect, David Shaw, which reflects the Montana landscape and our surrounding mountains and rivers. The final result is a world-class playground – where universal design is beautiful, functional, and opens doors to social life and community building.
Inclusive camps and recreational activities offered by Missoula Parks & Recreation are helping guide a new generation of kids who are skilled at making friends in today’s inclusive world! Contact Meg Rogosienski at (406) 721-PARK to learn more about outdoor recreation for all!
We hope that visitors from throughout Montana and the region will visit, get ideas, contact us, and learn how easy it is to incorporate inclusive elements in every playground. From an inexpensive adaptive swing to pour-in-place rubberized surfacing, the joy of seeing happy kids join the fun without a fuss is priceless!