Wheatlands Park in Denver, Colorado
Wheatlands Park is located in the Wheatlands neighborhood in a southern suburb of Denver and is the premier playground and gathering place for the community. The site is surrounded on three sides by neighborhood streets and homes, so the design required consideration of the homes that are in close proximity to the park. The fourth side of the park is a new YMCA facility that is currently under construction.
Landscape architecture firm The Architerra Group developed the master plan for the park. The plan included a custom, two-tiered playground, shelter area, and plumbed restroom. Architerra developed the construction document package and provided construction administration services for those park features. A future phase of this park will include a basketball court, a multi-use sport court, and a 'neighborhood patio' area with lawn and patio games.
The playground is inspired by the idea of allowing children to experience play from the perspective of the size of an insect. They are greeted into the playground with ants marching along a spiral wheat stalk path. The ants gradually get larger which allows the children to feel they are shrinking. They arrive into the playground as 'miniature' versions of themselves and are greeted by an 8' tall ant hill with marching ants returning to the colony, an earthworm burrowing out of the earthen wall, a curly leaf climber, a spider spinning a web climber, and a honeybee perched on a piece of honeycomb. In addition to the custom playground features, prefabricated playground equipment supports the insect-oriented design using colors and shapes found in the insect world.
The whimsical playground is supported by a large semi-custom shade structure that provides seating for six picnic tables. A new plumbed restroom building has a bottle filling station and drinking fountain as well as baby changing stations in the restrooms. The park is completed with an informal blue grass lawn, decorative blue grass berms, and large shade trees.
As seen in LASN magazine, March 2021.