The Rotary Club of Ann Arbor teamed up with the Ann Arbor’s Parks & Recreation department to successfully establish one of the region’s first universal access playgrounds, Centennial Playground at Gallup Park. The playground exemplifies a philosophy that puts accessibility and safety first, welcoming children and families inclusive of age, ability, background and interest. All of the senses are engaged and everyone can play and enjoy the outdoors. However, the success came at some price: the thoughtfully-designed playground experience felt separated from the natural 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 signs that guide a scavenger hunt. 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 function for both solitary and group play. Scientific content — ecology, and biology — is thoughtfully interpreted. The matching game features illustrations by local artist Marissa Johnson.
The Huron River Wildlife Match-up interactive is a conjoined 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 matchable silhouettes of a wide range of riverside sights, 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 counters allow visitors a tactile way to keep score.
Gallup Park in Ann Arbor, MI