The vision for the new Outdoor Play Plaza at the Children’s Museum in North Carolina, USA, was to have an area with a theme-park feel, something that was more of a destination rather than a collection of swings, slides and spinners in a playground. It needed to be something that would bring visitors in, something special.
The Berliner team designed a revolutionary solution, a playground with an amusement park feel, by putting not just one of their 9-meter high Neptun XXL structures on the playground, but two and then connecting the structures with a 9 meter long aerial tunnel!
Drive down the street and you can’t miss these duelling climbing pyramids, enticing visitors to stop and explore. It is a highlight for the museum and a one-of-a-kind attraction. These sculptural additions to the landscape provide children with plenty of ways to challenge themselves, make independent decisions and build their self-confidence.
The structures, taller than most houses, are metal with rope netting inside and each has a play volume for more than 200 children and adults.
Yet, it’s more than simply climbing to thrilling heights; the pyramids offer horizontal and close-to-the-ground play, and the open design (i.e., the lack of platforms inside the structure) encourages plenty of interaction among the children, which helps to develop social skills. The true 3-dimensional climbers stimulate creativity and cognitive skills getting children to think about where they want to go, creating their own path to get there.
Another unique feature to the design is the 9-meter long rope tunnel. Created using a small mesh, the tunnel offers an exciting challenge as children cross from one pyramid to the other. To make this even more unique, the pyramids have been customised with numerous climbing elements, such as: 3D nets, twisted nets, inverted ladders, climbing ropes, chin-up bars, sway bridges and Berliner’s ‘Wasp nest’ lookout.
If children don’t want to climb down, they can always speed down the 12-meter long, stainless steel slide. The ride down is fast!
The ‘Flubber Cube’ offers a different climbing and sensory experience. Whereas the 3D net climbers provide great transparency, the Flubber Cube provides a little more privacy where children can sit or lay comfortably. Like a big, multi-level trampoline, when one child jumps in one corner, it affects other children throughout the cube with a swaying up-and-down movement. Good for some great interaction and fun among the playing children.