04-26-21 | Department

The Adventure at Lowcountry Celebration Park

Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

The Lowcountry Celebration Park in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina is a unique public park serving the residents and visitors of the community. With directive from the town, landscape architecture firm Wood+Partners created a destination playground that integrates the local culture with an exciting play experience. The ten-acre park features a lagoon and discovery trail with interpretive play elements representing the region's animals and ecosystems. The focus of the playground is a reimagination of a historically significant ship, the Adventure, created by Landscape Structures, Inc. The color of the poured-in-place rubber safety surfacing imitates sand with a compass rose made of colored concrete behind the ship leading to boardwalks over the park's lagoon. A playground for younger children carries the color theme of the park, unifying the space.
Inside the large, multi-level ship is a challenging assortment of netting and rope climbers, tunnels, and bridges, integrating various opportunities for play that offer a unique experience every time.
An inclusive play element attached to the ship features a back-and-forth gliding movement, designed as a dinghy for added imaginative play.
Small nozzle misters, typically used in shade products, were adapted to create the ship's canons which mist the exterior of the play structure, controlled by buttons from the inside.

The town of Hilton Head Island in the Lowcountry region of South Carolina is a community known for their beaches and golf courses. Abundant with recreational opportunities and rich in history and culture, the town envisioned a unique public park for the community and visitors that would immerse them in elements found in the area while encouraging reinvestment in the town. Landscape Architects with Wood+Partners, Inc began brainstorming on the design of a playground that would allow for a new and different experience each time that also highlights the specific environs and ethos of the Lowcountry. Opened in December 2020, the Lowcountry Celebration Park provides the public with ten acres of unique attractions designed to educate through play.

Integrating the history of Hilton Head was an integral part of the park's design. The genesis of the playground was the creation of a 1,400 sq. ft. ship called Adventure, named after the ship of seafaring explorer, Captain William Hilton who eye'd the South Carolina island in his travels, later becoming the location's namesake. The ship-themed play structure is the focal point of the park, created by playground manufacturer Landscape Structures, Inc., and features imaginative play elements for a unique experience of unprescribed play. Multiple levels create opportunity for underplay and overplay through ropes and tunnels in the center of the structure with wood-grain recycled plastic as ship planks. A captain's bridge leads to double slides on the upper level and six interactive misting cannons can be engaged from buttons inside the ship to spray mist outside the ship's sides. To complete the playful theme of the structure, shade fabric was used for the ship's sails, providing ample shade and further telling the story of the park's design.

Attached to the large ship is an inclusive, dinghy-themed gliding element for children to experience a subtle swaying movement as if out to sea. A play structure for younger children is set off to the side with age-appropriate elements and a corrugated roof as integrated shade that ties into other elements found in the park. Anchored to the playground is an observation pier above the park's lagoon with additional boardwalks along the water leading to trails encircling the site.

The goal to include designs that reflect the town's local heritage can be found in the indigenous materials and detail throughout the park. Directly behind the ship is a compass rose with interpretive signage on how it is used and its purpose, with integrally colored concrete and a shell concrete banding. A discovery trail adjacent to the ship structure allows visitors to walk through the different ecosystems natural to the area with a series of interpretive concrete stamped imprints representing the flora and fauna. Water features offer a glimpse into the island's wetlands with an interactive splash pad "tidal beach" where water ebbs and flows, and mud flats and freshwater observation areas that are inhabited by wildlife commonly found in those environments. A sand area creates additional opportunities for learning and play with the excitement of digging for shark teeth. Sand-buried features expose fossilized teeth and educational signage explains the different shark species.

The next phase of the park, currently underway and set to open this summer, is a children's museum. Built around a donated airplane cockpit used at the nearby Gulfstream aircraft training facility, the museum will extend the park's value of learning through play for resident and visiting families of the Lowcountry.

As seen in LASN magazine, April 2021.


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