Evan ducharme/special to the S.F. ExaminerThe Elinor Friend Playground reopened Sunday after a year of rebuilding efforts.

Evan ducharme/special to the S.F. ExaminerThe Elinor Friend Playground reopened Sunday after a year of rebuilding efforts.

Remodeled 36,000-square-foot playground opens at San Francisco Zoo

There were a few roars at the San Francisco Zoo on Sunday morning, and a lot of howling and swinging about.

The antics weren’t from the wild animals, though, but rather the pack of kids enjoying the first day of the newly reopened Elinor Friend Playground.

The rebuilding of the playground took about a year, and the reopening of the space brought out several hundred families Sunday morning to the play area, which is modeled after three bioregions of the world.

Toddlers climbed all over the smaller River Play Area, which is designed for kids 6 months to 2 years old, while gaggles of older children scaled the nearby Polar Zone’s white structures, built for kids ages 2 through 5, and climbed through the Banyan Tree structure, constructed for kids ages 5 through 12.

The new structures and rubberized flooring replace the old wooden and metal equipment, which was set in sand and concrete. The former playground was the focus of a lawsuit about disability access that was settled in 2005, and the new one incorporates a design intended to make it accessible to all zoo visitors.

The new play structures were built with “fully compliant ADA [Americans with Disabilities Act] accessibility features to accommodate children with physical and mental disabilities, with a strong emphasis on exploration and adventure encouraged for all,” according to the zoo.

“From Day 1, it has been our priority to create a play space that enables all zoo visitors — including those with visual, physical or cognitive disabilities — to connect with nature while engaging in active play,” San Francisco Zoological Society President Tanya M. Peterson said in a statement. “We are overjoyed with the outcome and so appreciative of everyone who made this visionary playground possible.”

Much of the $3.2 million project was funded through donations, according to the zoo.

By the numbers

300,000: Number of kids who visit the zoo each year

36,000: Square feet of space in the new playground

24: Years since the playground was last updated

$3.2 million: Donated for the redesign and rebuild

12: Months it took to fabricate and install new equipment

26,000: Pounds of steel used to create play areas

12,000: Square feet of rubber for play areas

0.5 ton: Wood from fallen redwoods reclaimed for use in River Play Area

3: Bioregions of the world represented in playground

Source: San Francisco ZooBay Area NewsElinor Friend PlaygroundSan Francisco zoo

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Dr. Barbara Ferrer, director of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, during a news conference on March 10, 2020. (Myung J. Chun/Los Angeles Times/TNS)
LA County suspends outdoor dining at restaurants as coronavirus surges

By Alex Wigglesworth Los Angeles Times Los Angeles County public health officials… Continue reading

Renderings of the main entrance to upcoming Mission Bay elementary school on Owens Street. (Courtesy photo)
SFUSD offers first look at planned Mission Bay elementary school

San Francisco school officials this month unveiled the design of a planned… Continue reading

James Coleman (Courtesy Morgan McCarthy)
Young progressive set to shake up South City

The 21-year-old is the newest Councilmember for District 4

Arturo Mendez, co-curator of the Mission Arts Performance Project, invites artists of all types to participate in the free-wheeling community program. <ins>(Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)</ins>
Mission Arts Performance Project could be poised for a comeback

Before the pandemic, the Mission Arts Performance Project, the roving multimedia art… Continue reading

B-Boy Spaghetti of Norway was among the international artists taking part in the world premiere of “Isolation in Humanity,” a collaboration commissioned by the International Hip Hop DanceFest festival showcasing b-boying, popping, krump, house, and contemporary dance. (Photo courtesy Ekopics)
Performers pop, lock, spin and sit at International Hip Hop DanceFest Saturday

Spinning, popping and flipping — and at times sitting — performers in… Continue reading

Most Read