Kids Kingdom 2: An Expanded Vision Includes Kids with Disabilities in Redding’s Treasured Playground

Once upon a time – or, in this case, about 23 years ago – parents and community members in Redding, California, joined forces to build a royally fun playground called Kids Kingdom. Kim Niemer, Director of Community Services in Redding, describes the 1994 fundraiser and subsequent construction of the park as an “incredible volunteer effort.” Well-shaded and outfitted with a large, sheltered picnic area, Kids Kingdom instantly won the hearts of kids and adults alike. The construction in 1999 of Fantasy Fountain Park right next to Kids Kingdom greatly enhanced the popularity of the original playground.

Now, decades later, Kids Kingdom is reopening its gates to new generations. In response to growing concerns about children’s safety on weathered, splintering wood, the City of Redding decided to replace the original structures. The new kingdom will retain much of the look and feel of the original Kids Kingdom, including the luscious shade trees and darling tiles decorated with handprints of the playground’s first children. “We want to honor that founding effort,” says Niemer. Customized pieces of the original structures, including those with donor plaques, have been refurbished and incorporated into the new design. Narratives of the kingdom’s history will remind visitors of the original playground.

New elements of Kids Kingdom 2 include a zipline and a climbable train sculpture.  Even better, the new playground will open its gates to a wider population, thanks to its “universally accessible design.” Niemer explains: “The new structures are designed with children of all abilities in mind,” and says “there isn’t another universally accessible playground in California north of Sacramento.” Features include wheelchair-friendly ramps and extra straps for kids with limited strength and posture control. Side-by-side amenities will enable children with disabilities to safely engage in play, rather than watch the fun go by. A new 4-foot-high perimeter fence will enable parents to sit near the single entry point and let their children freely run around the playground without fear of them straying too far.

Playgrounds in general facilitate experiences and interactions critical to physical and social development. Kids Kingdom 2 expands that vision, opening the door for interaction between kids of varying abilities. As Niemer says, “Especially in our digital age, there’s nothing better than kids and parents coming together outdoors, and kids learning to take turns and make new friends.”

Check Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/rowlettkidskingdom) for an official opening announcement and royal celebration in early July. Call (530) 245-7176 to get your name engraved on kingdom-themed sculptures ($50-$150) to support the playground.

Jenna Christophersen is a Chico native who fondly recalls playing at local playgrounds. She encourages families to take advantage of these outdoor memory-makers.
North State Parent
About North State Parent

North State Parent is a free monthly publication that circulates within five California counties: Butte, Glenn, Shasta, Southern Siskiyou and Tehama. Our pages are filled with family-oriented places to go, services and products geared for women and things to do; a focus on parenting, community, health, education, teens, youth, and much more.

Updated: Oct 10, 2017 @ 11:07 am