Huron River Ecosystem Match-up Game and Scavenger Hunt

The Kiwanis Club worked with the City of Ann Arbor to design and build a new playground in a large popular park along the Huron River. They succeeded in establishing one of the region’s first universal-access playgrounds, using a design philosophy that prioritizes accessibility and safety for the broadest range of children and families. That success, however, came at a price: the thoughtfully-designed playground experience felt separated from the beauty of the park around it. Flutter & Wow united playground and park with a set of interactive playground signs that encourage nature exploration.

Flutter & Wow worked with community leaders, city planners and scientists to develop a suite of permanent outdoor exhibits that highlight local wildlife. We designed and fabricated an illustrated wildlife matching game and five scavenger hunt signs. They send park visitors on a multi-sensory quest into the natural areas that surround the playground.

The exhibits are all-season and they maintain the playground’s high standards of accessibility. They appeal to all ages and for solitary and group play. Scientific content — ecology, biology — is thoughtfully interpreted.  The matching game features illustrations by local artist Marissa Johnson.

One of the exhibits, the Huron River Wildlife Match-up Game is actually a pair of Concentration-style games. It consists of two-dozen spinning tiles. One side has colorful illustrations and facts about wildlife one might encounter along the river. The other side has pairs of silhouettes of a wide range of things — from elm leaves to people fishing.

On the other side of the playground, we placed the Huron River Ecosystem Scavenger Hunt signs. These exhibits send playground visitors on a multi-sensory exploration of nature. Colorful bean counters are built in for those visitors interested in keeping score — or those interested in just moving beads on a hoop, an activity some young park visitors find most interesting.