Efteling’s new inclusive play forest begins to take shape
Last week saw Efteling – the fairytale theme park in the south of Holland – begin creation of the new Nest! play forest, which is scheduled to open in early summer 2021.
A 6.5 metre high tower weighing 2,500 kilos, which will house two slides, is the first of the play equipment to take shape. One of the slides will be accessible for wheelchair users who, with the help of a guide, will be able to transfer on to it.
The new play forest, 1,200m² in size, will be located in the exciting Ruigrijk area of the park between the Game Gallery and watercoaster De Vliegende Hollander. Nest! play forest will be a safe place where children of all ages and abilities can play together to their heart’s content, while challenging and preparing themselves for their first roller coaster experience. In this way, the new play forest will incorporate familiar elements from Efteling’s big rides.
The tower and the slides will embody a dragon, with a periscope at the top of the tower, so that the younger visitors on the ground can experience the view from 6.5 metres high, through the eyes of the dragon.
A place for everyone
Nest! play forest replaces the Polka Marina pirates carousel, which closed last December, and will be the place for young visitors in Efteling’s exciting Ruigrijk area, where many roller coasters are located. In the development of the play forest, the focus is on accessibility for everyone.
“Accessibility has been a high priority at Efteling for many years. We find it important that everyone feels at home and safe in our World of Wonders. That has become the starting point for Nest! play forest. We want to create a place that is accessible to all young adventurers and where children can play carefree together. Whether it is a child with or without (visible) disabilities, everyone should be able to play together”, says Fons Jurgens, CEO of Efteling.
“Despite the fact that the theme park is currently closed and we are in an uncertain situation, the realisation of the new play forest has started. Nest! has been planned for a long time and this inclusive play forest is an important addition for the youngest visitors in the Ruigrijk area of the park.”
In addition to the accessible slide, Nest! play forest will have a wooden path that is wheelchair friendly, a waterbed that is suitable for everyone and all playground equipment will be made at different heights so that it makes no difference whether a child is playing standing up or sitting down. There will also be a place where children can retreat for a while, where there are fewer stimuli through calmer colours and theming.
Foundation ‘Stichting het Gehandicapte Kind’
For the development of Nest! play forest, Efteling sought advice from the Dutch foundation ‘Stichting het Gehandicapte Kind’. The foundation comprises experts in accessibility for children with disabilities and knows exactly what is needed to make a playground suitable for all children. For this reason, Nest! play forest will be tested before its opening by its representatives – a group of children with and without disabilities. This way, Nest! play forest will become the place to be in the park for all young visitors.