Southeast Metropolitan Park in Del Valle, just a 10 minute drive from the airport and a stone’s throw away from the heart of southeast Austin, has long been a haven for families and nature enthusiasts. And now, there’s even more reason to celebrate this gem of a park.
For too long, children with disabilities have watched from the sidelines as their peers have played. They’ve faced barriers — both physical and social — that have limited their ability to enjoy some of the most fundamental joys of childhood: swinging on a swing, sliding down a slide, or simply running around with friends. But change is afoot, and Southeast Metro Park is leading the charge in making play inclusive for all.
How To Find The Playground at Southeast Metropolitan Park
The brand new playground can be tricky to find. When you enter the park, take your first right. Then follow the road allllll the way down (it’s a very long road) til it ends. You will begin to wonder if you are on the right road. You are. The playground is down by some walking paths and there’s a parking lot and a bathroom nearby. Good luck using that bathroom though, unless you’re a fan of spiders.
New All Abilities Equipment: A Vision Realized
The newly installed all-inclusive playground equipment at Southeast Metro Park is a testament to the commitment of the local community, park officials, and numerous advocacy groups to ensure that no child feels left out. This revamped space has been carefully designed to be both functional and fun, ensuring that kids of all abilities have a chance to play, learn, and grow together.
The 30 Foot Long Mosasaur
The real stand out highlight of this new playground is the 30 foot long mosasaur. You can climb right into its mouth and use its body as a jungle gym.
Other Features of the All-Inclusive Playground
- Wheelchair-accessible ramps and platforms: Now, children in wheelchairs can smoothly roll onto platforms and access various play structures without hindrance.
- Sensory play equipment: These are especially beneficial for children with autism or sensory processing disorders. Elements like tactile panels, sound tubes, and visually stimulating components allow kids to engage multiple senses as they play.
- Swings with harnesses: These ensure that children with mobility challenges can experience the simple joy of swinging safely. (Coming soon!)
- Low-impact ground materials: The rubberized surface ground materials have been chosen to cushion falls and facilitate easy movement for all kids.
- Shaded areas: Recognizing that some children might have medical conditions that make them sensitive to the sun, several sections of the playground offer ample shade.
More Than Just Play
While the immediate joy and excitement these structures bring to kids are undeniable, the implications go far beyond play. The all-inclusive playground equipment serves as:
- A lesson in empathy and understanding for all children
- A means of fostering social skills and friendships across ability lines
- A message to parents and caregivers of children with special needs that they are seen, heard, and valued
The Power of Community
The fruition of the all-inclusive playground at Southeast Metro Park in Del Valle stands as a testament to what can be achieved when a community comes together. It’s a heartwarming reminder that when we pool our resources, talents, and compassion, we can create spaces that welcome and cherish all members of our community.
In conclusion, the next time you’re in southeast Austin, make it a point to visit Southeast Metro Park. The laughter, joy, and spirit of inclusivity that fills the air will serve as a beautiful reminder of what we can achieve when we believe in play for all.