The Imagination Tree Aims to Inspire Young Minds
DELTA, Ala. – Cheaha State Park visitors who might not yet be old enough to enjoy a hike on one of the five trails at the state’s highest point or don’t have an attention span sufficient for a CCC Buildings tour now have a great spot to burn off some pent-up energy. The new Cheaha State Park Imagination Tree Playground is now open for business.
The playground, located in the Education Village between the Bunker Tower and Picnic Trail, is recommended for children from 2 to 12 years old (with adult supervision). The tree-themed attraction includes a secret hollow tree entrance to a slide, a tree fort on top with two “escape” slides, swings and special “expression” swings that allows children under 5 years old to swing face-to-face with a grown-up in the comfortable adult swing. The expression swings allow the adult and child to experience each other’s facial expressions while playing together!
“This wonderful new playground is a great example of state government entities working together,” said Chris Blankenship, Commissioner of the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. “The Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs handled the administration of the grant that built the playground and the Parks Division of the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources worked to make this dream for children come true.”
The Imagination Tree Playground is intended to spark a love for the outdoors through play in a beautiful state park setting.
“Cheaha State Park desires to reconnect families to natural resources such as parks and forests through nature-based play,” said Cheaha State Park Superintendent Renee Raney. “Research indicates that when children play and learn in nature, they do so with more vigor, engagement, imagination and the symptoms of attention deficit disorders and depression are reduced. Experts agree that children need more access to nature the same way they need good nutrition and adequate sleep.”
The Imagination Tree is Cheaha’s second playground, joining the Lakeside Playground that is a short walk from the Lower Improved Campground. Families can walk the one-eighth mile interpretive Heritage Trail to Bunker Tower – the highest point in the state – to the Civilian Conservation Corps Museum, the Leave No Trace Bigfoot Pavilion, the Mike Bosarge Memorial Dog Park and to the Imagination Tree Playground. The new playground’s surface is made from International Play Equipment Manufacturers Association certified recycled, shredded rubber mulch.
The playground was built using a Land and Water Conservation Fund Program grant, with Ladd Environmental Consultants, Inc., serving as the architect/engineering firm. The contractor was J.A. Dawson & Company.
“We are excited about the new Imagination Tree Playground and proud of the hard work put into the planning and building of this attraction,” said Greg Lein, Director of the Alabama State Parks Division of ADCNR. “Assistant Director Rob Grant, Northern Operations and Maintenance Supervisor Tim Haney, Central District Superintendent Kelly Ezell, North Region Trails Coordinator Ken Thomas and Parks Engineer Jeffery Thomas led this effort, with Cheaha Superintendent Renee Raney, and it has paid off with a wonderful place for our visitors to have more fun in the outdoors.”
The 2,799-acre Cheaha State Park is located at 19644 Alabama 281 in Delta, with parts of the park in northern Clay and southwestern Cleburne counties. Mount Cheaha, located in the park, is the state’s highest point at 2,407 feet above sea level.
About Alabama’s State Parks System
The Alabama State Parks is a division of the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. The division maintains 21 parks encompassing approximately 48,000 acres of land and water. These parks rely on visitor fees and the support of other partners like local communities to fund the majority of their operations. Download the State Parks app at pocketranger.com. For more information about Alabama State Parks, go online to www.alapark.com. Partners Pay the Way.