Adventure Playground

Adventure Playground is located on a small hill just north of the West 67th Street entrance. When it was constructed during the Moses era, the playground had two entrances: one leading directly from the Park entrance up the hill via a steep set of stairs, and one off the path that runs along the east side of the playground. Only the latter is in use today. Several large trees provide shade and help integrate the playground with the Park.

In 1966, the playground became the first in the Park to be reconstructed in the adventure style. Based on a design by architect Richard Dattner, it featured a granite-faced climber, wood pyramid, tree house, concrete maze, and unique water feature. This was also the first of the adventure-style playgrounds that the Conservancy reconstructed, completing the work in 1997. At that time, the wood elements were reconstructed, safety surfacing was installed, and some of the concrete elements were repaired or modified.

An open feel and small-scaled play structures make this playground appealing to younger children, most of whom are between ages two and five. Play features are interconnected by a low concrete wall that undulates around the play space, winding around the trees at the perimeter. In addition to demarcating the play zone as separate from the area for adults, the meandering wall is integral to the play environment, forming a series of intimate spaces (including a maze) that lend themselves to games like hide and seek.

Design Goals and Opportunities

In the years since the previous reconstruction, the playground has seen a dramatic increase in use, and the wear and tear that comes with it. While the design framework is firmly established, renovation in connection with the effort to improve all the playgrounds concurrently will involve refurbishing aging elements; modifying the water feature to update its infrastructure, conserve water, and comply with accessibility standards; creating a stronger functional and visual connection between this playground and the adjacent Tots Playground; and restoring the landscape surrounding both playgrounds.