Preston's H.O.P.E. (Helping Others Play and Enjoy), located in Beachwood, is a playground designed to allow children with a variety of disabilities to play with their families and other children, the first such playground in Northeast Ohio.
It is named for Preston Fisher, a young boy with muscular atrophy. It was his mother, Jackie Fisher with her friend, Stacie Halpern, who raised the $3 million necessary to build the playground.
Editor's update: Preston Fisher, the inspiration for this wonderful playground died on Friday, December 12 (2008) at the Cleveland Clinic during a surgical procedure. He was 11 years old.
The 60,000 square feet playground offers opportunities for kids with and without disabilities to have endless fun and learning opportunities. Preston's H.O.P.E. playground is packed with play structures on multiple levels connected by ramps. Activity panels with lively motion activated music are found throughout on walls, pathways, and on play structures. The chance to learn Braille is scattered throughout.
Other playground activities include Granny's pavilion with chess boards, a learning clock, musical bars, ride-ons, rock walls, climbing towers, basketball nets, a ball wall, trapeze bars, monkey bars, sound tubes, swings, slides, balance beams, and lots more.
Make Believe Houses Town Center:
Kids delight in playing make-believe and at Preston's H.O.P.E. There are theme playhouses throughout the playground: the Town Center teaches kids how a city is run with pictures and panels inside the playhouse on government; Large mirrors and cutouts with funny hairdos are found in Arnold's Barber Shop; and the Bank of America teaches about money and even has an outside drive thru. The Construction Company playhouse shows pictures of the various stages of building to teach kids the process of construction. Poppy's Gym has nutritional and exercise facts and challenges on the walls with large characters with weights.
The Firehouse has large pictures on the walls of uniforms with a firetruck structure for the kids to "drive." Kids can "shop" at Tops & Bottoms clothing store. All aboard at Arnie's Engine is where kids can hear and feel the train pass through with the loud whistle blowing. The playhouses are connected by a raised sidewalk that runs over the playground areas. All play houses are wheelchair accessible.
Dinosaur Dig at Preston's H.O.P.E.:
Young paleontologists can be found digging for dinosaur fossils at the Dinosaur Dig. This sand area has several large dinosaurs emerging out of the sand dig area as well as two multi-level, sand playing areas where kids can stand or sit. Other attractions at the Dinosaur Dig include running water sand tables, tractor scoops, and dinosaur ride-ons.
Benches and other seating are spread out throughout the playground for adults and kids to rest. Wheelchair accessible restrooms with changing tables are available May through October. Drinking fountains and bottled water machines are also available.
Preston's H.O.P.E. is a non-profit organization. This $3 million playground is free and open to the public. To preserve the playground donations are accepted and appreciated. You can contribute through the endowment fund, by purchasing a 3x8 bronze engraved plaque, or at the on-site cash donation box. Volunteer opportunities are available, too.
Preston's H.O.P.E is open daily from dusk until dawn.
The Mandel JCC
26001 South Woodland Rd.
Beachwood, OH 44122
Official Website: http://www.prestonshope.com/