AUSTIN'S FIRST PUBLIC
ALL ABILITIES PLAYGROUND!

Austin Parks Foundation, in collaboration with the Austin Parks and Recreation Department, is excited to announce the development of Austin's first public All Abilities Playground at Onion Creek Metropolitan Park.

AUSTIN'S FIRST PUBLIC ALL ABILITIES PLAYGROUND!

Austin Parks Foundation, in collaboration with the Austin Parks and Recreation Department, is excited to announce the development of Austin's first public All Abilities Playground at Onion Creek Metropolitan Park.
This proposed All Abilities Playground will offer universal accessibility and inclusivity for all visitors, especially for children with disabilities and special needs. It will showcase innovative design features and diverse programming opportunities, ensuring an engaging and welcoming environment for all.
A family comprising a father, mother young son and young daughter run and play. The daughter leads the group, followed by the father holding the son on his shoulders. The mother follows closely behind the father.
Our mission is to create a welcoming, accessible and inclusive All Abilities Playground where everyone can enjoy the magic of play!
This proposed All Abilities Playground will offer universal accessibility and inclusivity for all visitors, especially for children with disabilities and special needs. It will showcase innovative design features and diverse programming opportunities, ensuring an engaging and welcoming environment for all.

THE FUTURE SITE OF THE ALL ABILITIES PLAYGROUND

The Future Site of the All Abilities PLAYGROUND

Two young children play independently - the boy kicks a soccer ball in the foreground while the girl hoola hoops in the background.
The All Abilities Playground at Onion Creek Metropolitan Park will include:
  • An inclusive play area
  • An accessible (and inclusive) restroom facility
  • Picnic pavilions for shade
  • Drive connections and parking
  • Innovative stormwater solutions and methods of maintenance
  • Pedestrian trail connections to park and community
Click here to learn more about Onion Creek Metropolitan Park and the All Abilities Playground.
The All Abilities Playground at Onion Creek Metropolitan Park will include:
  • An inclusive play area
  • An accessible (and inclusive) restroom facility
  • Picnic pavilions for shade
  • Drive connections and parking
  • Innovative stormwater solutions and methods of maintenance
  • Pedestrian trail connections to park and community
Click here to learn more about Onion Creek Metropolitan Park and the All Abilities Playground.
A young boy in a blue shirt and dark blue shorts plays on a playground structure with stairs, a climbing net and a covered slide.
We all deserve to play, but most playgrounds aren't designed for everyone. We plan to build an incredible playground for all!

What is an All Abilities Playground?

Inclusive playground design goes beyond accessible design, enabling users to access and travel through their play spaces freely by ensuring that playgrounds offer physical accessibility and rich play opportunities that meet the physical, social and cognitive needs of all children.*

*Source: Children’s Usage of Inclusive Playgrounds: A Naturalistic Observation Study of Play

AUTHENTIC NATURE

  • Design nature play areas, trails and respite vignettes that speak to the uniqueness of the natural setting.
  • Maximize habitat areas to reintroduce native species (flora and fauna) allowing visitors to experience firsthand.

RESPONSIBLE RISK-TAKING

  • Establish an environment that encourages exploration beyond comfort zone.
  • Allow children at play to experience apprehension followed by accomplishment.

INCLUSIVITY

  • Create and enhance natural environments experienced by all age groups and ability levels.
  • Collaborate with medical and academic professionals to ensure spaces are comfortable for users of all abilities.

PRODUCTIVE ENGAGEMENT

  • Design park elements that build, change, or affect their surroundings, increasing focus and stimulating imagination.
  • Play doubling as work enhances early childhood skills.
  • Loose parts, digging, and water play build confidence and create a sense of accomplishment.
  • Programming for all improves community connection, provides educational opportunities and aids in park stewardship.

EXPLORATION

  • Topography, planting and pathways encourage independent exploration.
  • Identifying "play rooms" at different scales creates memorable experiences.
  • Designing play areas that change—time of day to seasonal—creates a sense of wonder, appreciation and suspense.

What is an All Abilities Playground?

Inclusive playground design goes beyond accessible design, enabling users to access and travel through their play spaces freely by ensuring that playgrounds offer physical accessibility and rich play opportunities that meet the physical, social and cognitive needs of all children.*

*Source: Children’s Usage of Inclusive Playgrounds: A Naturalistic Observation Study of Play

AUTHENTIC NATURE

  • Design nature play areas, trails and respite vignettes that speak to the uniqueness of the natural setting.
  • Maximize habitat areas to reintroduce native species (flora and fauna) allowing visitors to experience firsthand.

RESPONSIBLE RISK-TAKING

  • Establish an environment that encourages exploration beyond comfort zone.
  • Allow children at play to experience apprehension followed by accomplishment.

INCLUSIVITY

  • Create and enhance natural environments experienced by all age groups and ability levels.
  • Collaborate with medical and academic professionals to ensure spaces are comfortable for users of all abilities.

PRODUCTIVE ENGAGEMENT

  • Design park elements that build, change, or affect their surroundings, increasing focus and stimulating imagination.
  • Play doubling as work enhances early childhood skills.
  • Loose parts, digging, and water play build confidence and create a sense of accomplishment.
  • Programming for all improves community connection, provides educational opportunities and aids in park stewardship.

EXPLORATION

  • Topography, planting and pathways encourage independent exploration.
  • Identifying "play rooms" at different scales creates memorable experiences.
  • Designing play areas that change—time of day to seasonal—creates a sense of wonder, appreciation and suspense.
A man in a blue hooded sweatshirt holding the hand of a woman in a wheelchair  as they embark on an adventure together.
Did you know?
Research shows that children who have access to playgrounds engage in more physical activity and display an increase in gross motor skills.

Community Engagement

Through the summer of 2024, we'll foster community engagement to craft a comprehensive concept plan that will steer the future development of this inclusive space.
A father in a brown suit holds his son, in an orange t-shirt, above his head as the son pretends that he is flying.
The All Abilities Playground at Onion Creek Metropolitan Park will be thoughtfully designed to meet the diverse needs of the disability community, neighboring areas and the wider Austin community. We want your input!

UPCOMING COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT EVENTS

No event found!

Community Engagement

Through the summer of 2024, we'll foster community engagement to craft a comprehensive concept plan that will steer the future development of this inclusive space.

UPCOMING COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT EVENTS

No event found!

Thanks to everyone who joined us for our first community engagement meeting on January 18, 2024. Your enthusiasm and innovative ideas will shape a truly inclusive and engaging space for all families and children.

    • Missed the Meeting? No Problem: If you couldn't attend, we've got you covered. A recording of the meeting is readily accessible for you to watch at your convenience. Get up to speed with the project details and feel the shared excitement.

    • Share Your Vision, Take Our Survey: If you haven't already, please take a moment to complete our project survey before it closes on February 11. Your unique suggestions are not just welcomed—they're essential. 

MEET THE PROJECT TEAM

Austin Parks Foundation partners with our community to enhance people’s lives by making our public parks, trails and green spaces better through volunteerism, innovative programming, advocacy and financial support.

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All Austin Parks Foundation projects are done in partnership with The City of Austin and the Parks and Recreation Department. Learn more about our partnership on this project at the link below.

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Founded in 1987, TBG specializes in landscape architecture, planning and environmental graphic design and practices a holistic design approach that encompasses everything from visioning and large-scale planning to detailed site-specific design and post-occupancy evaluation.

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Community Engagement Specialist: Cultural Strategies

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Civil Engineer: Malone Wheeler

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Architect: Jobe Corral

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MEET THE PROJECT TEAM

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Contact

For more information about the All Abilities Playground at Onion Creek Metropolitan Park, please email design@austinparks.org.

To learn more about possible funding opportunities, please contact Angela Osborn, VP of Marketing & Development, at angela.osborn@austinparks.org.


To learn more about Onion Creek Metropolitan Park and the All Abilities Playground, visit the PARD project site.

Contact

For more information about the All Abilities Playground at Onion Creek Metropolitan Park, please email design@austinparks.org.

To learn more about possible funding opportunities, please contact Angela Osborn, VP of Marketing & Development, at angela.osborn@austinparks.org.

To learn more about Onion Creek Metropolitan Park and the All Abilities Playground, visit the PARD project site.