Meet Squiggles. He's a 343-foot-long "sea-saurus" and the featured element of the Arvada Center's accessible playground -- that means it was designed for physically challenged and non-disabled folks! The playground was created with kids ages 4-12 in mind (though we've seen plenty of grown-ups having a good time on it as well!). It's wheelchair accessible and features various textures that offer a tactile experience for blind children. The grand opening of the playground was held on August 23, 1998.
The playground is located on the Arvada Center grounds, and was designed by local artist Bill Gian
(known for his metal sculptures in downtown Denver as well as his candle-holders at the Wynkoop Brewery). Squiggles is the focal point -- a multi-colored, multi-textured concrete sculpture, its head raised, its body moving in and out of the earth. Kids can explore Squiggles by climbing around, over and under him. Mom and dad will appreciate the padded surface underneath the sea-saurus, which helps decrease the number of bumps and bruises received on the playground.
In addition to Squiggles, Gian created seven other sculptures for the playground. Four of these are metal creations which have been a part of the Center's property for several years. The remaining three are concrete creatures' heads, which were completed during the construction of the playground.
Another fun feature of this accessible playground is the talking trash cans. Yes -- they really talk! Thanks to Jim Green
, an audio artist best known for the sounds on the trains at Denver International Airport and the noises heard coming from underground through the grates off the 16th Street Mall. More than twenty different sounds have been created, including a voice that says "Hey baby, it's hot down here" and a variety of animal sounds including pigs and horses.
In collaboration with Very Special Arts Colorado, a group of children is currently working on creating a story about Squiggles the sea-saurus. This tale will be translated into Braille on the sculpture, for both blind and sighted children to enjoy.
The playground is FREE and open to the public daily. So what are you waiting for? Come check it out!!!
The Arvada Center Playground has been generously funded by many individuals, organizations and businesses within the community. Major donors to the project include: the Colorado Lottery
, the City of Arvada, the Boettcher Foundation, Norwest Bank Colorado, Bonfils-Stanton Foundation, Colorado Council on the Arts, Dr. and Mrs.. Melvyn Klein, Mr. Jay Kenney, Mr. and Mrs. Michael Angus, the ARC in Jefferson County, Ms. Debra Parsons, Colorado Hardscapes, Atlas Steel, Wayne and Norma Hazen, Kaiser-Hill Company L.L.C., Lectra Products and Mr. and Mrs. Harry Mathews.