Just in time for the sweltering heat of summer in the Valley, I took my brood to check out Mason Park in Chatsworth which boasts two all-access play areas and a splash pad as well as lots of shaded picnic tables that are also universally accessible. My son actually thought it was a mistake because the bench didn't extend as far as the table. I explained that it was so that people who used a wheelchair could use the table along with everyone else. He nodded his acceptance, which is exactly what the all-access movement hopes to achieve.
Shane's Inspiration , First 5 LA, The LA Parks Foundation and the City of Los Angeles Department of Parks and Recreation all worked together to improve and upgrade the area beside the Mason Recreation Center at 10500 Mason Avenue in Chatsworth. The park officially opened in May. This was actually the second time we tried to check it out, since the area draws lots of locals and has a camp onsite in the recreation center. At the first visit the area was so crowded we could't find parking, even on the residential streets that surround the park. The two play areas, one for younger kids and one for the older crowd, offer all-access ramps and lots of sensory play such as spinning seats and stands, sound-amplifying tubes, a four-person teeter-totter and a beach worth of sand. The older area has a sports theme and the younger one is all about knights and castles - there is even a beautiful, interactive sand castle sculpture.
Behind the playground there are infant swings, typical swings and high-backed secure swings. There is even a hammock-style swing. The splash pad had lots of wide-open spaces, sprinklers of different heights and dump buckets so kids can decide the level of wetness they desire. Kids of all ages were enjoying themselves and there were lots of parents and guardians getting in on the fun, too!
This is a great park and I hope that it will remain as clean as it is now that it is new. Other universally-accessible play areas have fallen into disrepair so let's hope the spinners will keep spinning and the swings will keep swinging for a long time to come.
If you know a child who needs lots of sensory input, check out my review of Sentio Chews, fashionable chew-able jewelry and other items. For more ideas about activities for your special needs child, read my article on the surprising sport your special needs child should try. Like the Los Angeles Special Needs Examiner page on Facebook to see all the local and national news stories I share!