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Riverwild is the combination of three physically connected elements – a splashpad, playground, and garden – all of which were built with the dual purpose mission of 1) learning about the great Tennessee River and 2) accommodating children and adults of all abilities. Support equipment can be utilized throughout Riverwild. Open to the public, there is no admission fee charged at Riverwild.
Built on the footprint of the historic WPA wading pool, Riverwild Splashpad, a universally accessible water play area, runs from Memorial Day (May 30, 2011) through Labor Day (September 5, 2011) each year. A seatwall surrounds the Splashpad, and benches provide additional seating. This area is enclosed with a fence.
The universally accessible Riverwild Playground has ramp access, play panels and graphic panels showing beautiful river wildlife at ground and ramp levels, and poured in place rubberized surfacing with the river running through it that walkers and wheelchairs can ride over with ease. Other features include swings (one high-backed swing), lowered and elevated monkey bars, musical instruments, a rock climbing wall, monkey rings, balance pods, talk tubes, and a section specifically for toddlers. Having been designed by a team including parents of children with disabilities, the playground is also sensitive to the needs of children with cochlear implants whose devices may be damaged as the result of static created when using plastic slides or tunnels; therefore, stainless steel slides and tunnels are used exclusively on this play structure. All children can enjoy at least 70% of the play activities. This playground is not only “boundless” in terms of accessibility, but also “boundless” in terms of social interaction. It is a place where children with disabilities are not segregated from the play experience with typical children. Riverwild Playground is enclosed with a fence.
Riverwild Garden which surrounds Riverwild Playground, celebrates the riverine plants and animals unique to the Decatur area and the great Tennessee River, our region’s chief natural feature. The river has served as the key inspiration for the landscape design and art of Riverwild. The hardscape, native plants, and sculptures in Riverwild Garden represent the limestone bluffs, flood plains, river terraces, plants, and animals along the Tennessee River.