One of the more popular areas of the Zoo is, arguably, our 66,000 square-foot Jungle Gym playground. Of the 1.26 million guests in the Zoo last year, a good portion of them spent time climbing, swinging, sliding, crawling, and running throughout our play space. All of this use takes its toll on the wooden structures and, inevitably, we must occasionally close for repairs. When we open in the spring, the Jungle Gym will offer a new area designed for children with all abilities and disabilities to play side-by-side.
Thisbe & Noah, a nonprofit organization based in Nashville, partnered with the Zoo to create Thisbe & Noah’s Promise Park, a new section within the Jungle Gym that will incorporate equipment for all types of disabilities, including apparatus for children in wheelchairs, with leg braces, sensory disorders, autism and cochlear implants. The best part is that this equipment will be for all children. All-inclusive playgrounds help prevent isolation in children and adults. They foster empathy, compassion, and philanthropy within a community as well as so much more.
Thisbe & Noah was created by Laurian and John Scott and named after their two children who died of a neurological disease. Its mission is to improve lives by promoting research, awareness and support for children’s neurological diseases. Nationally, 1 in 5 people live with a visible or invisible disability. Since its founding, the organization has worked tirelessly to “fill the holes” the Scotts experienced in the quality of medical and communal care for their terminally ill children.
“Being able to take your children to playgrounds is one of the most integral day-to-day activities that’s taken for granted,” said Laurain. “For many children with disabilities, playgrounds are a place where they can ‘look but not touch.’ Our custom designed Promise Park will bring enchanting and engaging play for all.”
Promise Park will include modified swings, slides, zip lines, climbing structures and more. Several shade structures will also be included over play equipment as well as sitting areas for parents and caregivers. To learn more about Promise Park and the Thisbe & Noah organization, visit www.promisepark.org.
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