Letting kids lead the way
New Oakdene Park playground hailed as ‘one of a kind’
Ever heard of the Oakdene Serpent?
The creature can be spotted at the new Oakdene Park Adventure Playground Cobequid Consulting designed while keeping input from Kings County Academy students in mind.
“The Oakdene Park Adventure Play- ground is one of a kind in Atlantic Canada, and we are so pleased to be a part of it. Creating a space for children to explore and be creative is paramount to this park,” said Garnet McLaughlin, owner of Cobequid Consulting, in a press release circulated by the Town of Kentville.
“Incorporating the Oakdene Serpent into the design has allowed our imaginations to run wild.”
Smiling children happily put the playground to the test during the grand opening June 23, a celebration held as part of the annual Oakdene Days hosted by the Town of Kentville and Rotary Club of Kentville.
Rachel Bedingfield, Kentville’s director of parks and recreation, said KCA students specifically requested a zipline, cave and natural elements involving sand, grass and water.
“We’re still figuring things out and building on throughout the years but it’s massively successful and we’re really happy with it,” she said during an interview at the wellattended event.
“This all falls under our Kentville Plays initiative, which is really about reminding people that you don’t need a program, you don’t need a structured event to play – you can just play. As adults, sometimes we just need to let kids lead the way.”
In the spirit of encouraging kids to use their imaginations, Town of Kentville facilities manager Kevin Bennett came up with the idea of adding a mud kitchen with a working sink to the mix.
“I wasn’t really sure it was going to be that popular. I didn’t really know how it was going to be received but it seems to be between the zipline and the mud kitchen is where the kids seem to gravitate to,” said Bennett.
The Oakdene upgrades were supported by Kentville’s town council in favour of improving upon a multi-seasonal recreation site in a neighbourhood that lacked a playground until now. The property is also home to soccer fields, a sledding hill and pond.
The Oakdene Day lineup included the official playground opening, live music by The Hilites and Mark Clarke, a barbecue, a soap slide – and whatever the kids dreamt up with the environment and play objects at their disposal.
The playground is not the only exciting development at Oakdene. The list of improvements at the site also included the addition of an outdoor stage for live entertainment, a new outdoor basketball court and more parking spaces.
“It’s become quite a fun project,” said Bennett, who noted that some local daycares are already using the playground and numerous area residents have expressed their gratitude for the new facility.
“They’re thankful that they have a place to go, and even some of the seniors are coming over and sitting.”
Logan Hirtle of Coldbrook ended his Oakdene Days soap slide trip with a splash. Hunter Greene of Kentville proved to be a natural on the zipline.