“In all this world there is nothing so beautiful as a happy child.” ~L. Frank Baum
Playgrounds are places of joy, adventure, and imagination, where children create memories to carry with them for the rest of their lives.
Friends of Virgin Islands National Park is working with the National Park Service and the community to rebuild the playground in front of the Park Visitor Center that was damaged in the 2017 hurricanes. The playground and the adjacent ballfield are managed by the Virgin Islands Department of Sports, Parks, and Recreation under a special use permit. Much of the open play space for children in Cruz Bay was lost as a result of the hurricanes making the reconstruction and completion of the playground even more important! Subject to raising the funds, construction is set to begin in 2022! Please help us gift the children on our island a place of wonder and exploration!
THANK YOU FOR HELPING REBUILD ST. JOHN'S PLAYGROUND TODAY!
This is a big expensive project with a funding goal of $800,000 so every donation will make a critical difference! Thanks to a wonderful and generous gift from Dr. Steven and Jann Paul of $350,000, as well as smaller donations from some 100 individuals and businesses we are nearly halfway to our goal! The scale of the playground funds needed is a major challenge but we feel blessed to have the opportunity to build a future for our children and provide a safe space to play!
A Child's Gateway to Virgin Islands National Park
The playground is a wonderful location for integrating natural landscapes, cultural history, community meeting areas, and play structures with multiple opportunities for learning because of its location and established use as a play area for island youth as well as a community meeting spot. Approved plans include a landscape of shade-bearing native plants, a playhouse inspired by the past and modeled after the first VINP ranger station; and a range of equipment like swings and slides.
PLAYING IS LEARNING
The playground equipment list includes a large playhouse (6-12 years old), a small playhouse (0-5 years old), a large swing set, a Supernova rotating balancing ring, a toddler swing set carousel, a Ranger Station replica, and interpretative signage.
PLANTING A FUTURE
Trees and plants selected for the playground are native and shade bearing. They will be part of a native plant garden with interpretive signage along pathways and in the playground. Our thanks to Eleanor Gibney who has been propagating native plants alongside our trail crew, and our thanks to Alfredo's Landscaping who will help with planting.
Plants selected include: Tabebuia Heterophylla (Pink cedar), Coccoloba Uvifera (Sea grape), Bucida Buceras (Gre Gre), Pimenta Racemosa (Bay Rum), Cordia Sebestena (Cordia), Capparis Cynophallophora (Jamaican caper), Conocarpus Erectus (Buttonwood), Guaiacum Officinale (Lignum Vitae), and Grass (Zoysia).
RIDGETOP TO REEF: Playground Blueprints
Projects like this depend on a wide range of members of our community and the National Park Service sharing a collective passion to give our children a place to be just that, children!
- Thank you to the community members who attended community meetings and completed a feedback survey. Your input was invaluable in the design process.
- The development of the design and the process would not have been possible without the contributions of Barefoot Architect, GT Construction, Kurt Marsh Jr., Chelsea Baranowski, and Melissa Wilson.
- Thank you to David & Rhonda McCay for donating a Gary Lee Price sculpture of three children playing.