Carla Seddon and daughter Olivia

Carla Seddon and daughter Olivia

Discovery Park playground opens up a world of natural fun

Saturday is the official opening of the new Discovery Park at Skaha Lake, South Okanagan Children’s Charity’s (SOCC) Miracle Fund project.

Play time is going green.

Saturday is the official opening of the new Discovery Park at Skaha Lake, South Okanagan Children’s Charity’s (SOCC) seventh Miracle Fund project.

It was built with the help of the City of Penticton, Rotary Club of Penticton and 19 other businesses and organizations.

“It’s a lot of fun, really awesome,” said nine-year-old Olivia Carleton-Palanio, who was one of the lucky kids who had a chance to preview the playground earlier this week. “I really like the high wire thing over there, it’s neat.”

According to president Deborah O’Mara of the SOCC, the park is the first “natural” playground and provides an opportunity for children and their families to socialize, explore and discover nature in a community park.

Custom designed and constructed using primarily natural and recycled ingredients, just over $100,000 was secured by the charity in the form of cash and in-kind donations.

“Discovery Park is an incredible addition to Skaha Lake and the vibrancy on our southern waterfront,” said Penticton Mayor Garry Litke in a prepared statement. “This park is an excellent space for young families and truly an amenity the community will treasure for years to come.

“We are so grateful to the South Okanagan Children’s Charity for their work to make the project a reality, and to all the donors who contributed to this park.”

It is among several projects designed to enhance Penticton’s waterfronts, an ongoing project that is included in council’s strategic priorities. The city gave the organization $30,000 towards the cost of construction.

Discovery Park is in line with the growing “natural playground” movement, which incorporates elements found in nature into play equipment.

The idea is to encourage children to move and use their imagination, fostering physical, cognitive and emotional development according to proponents of the concept.

Visitors to the playground will find boulders sourced from local rock quarries with ropes attached, balancing logs from pine beetle-infested trees, natural musical instruments and earth-berm slides.

As well, there is an interactive water feature to educate and remind kids about the value of water and the fact it is a limited resource.

The grand opening is at 9 a.m. Saturday

The Rotary Club of Penticton will be holding a pancake breakfast, and Sun-Rype juice and Tim Hortons coffee will be available.

Shirts will also be given to the first 200 children in attendance.