Magical Bridge Playground

The Magical Bridge Playground, located in Palo Alto's Mitchell Park, has re-opened and will be open to the public, Tuesday through Sunday, from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.. The playground will be closed every Monday for cleaning.

 Magical Bridge Image with features listed out

The flagship Magical Bridge Playground opened to the public in April 2015 in the heart of Silicon Valley. Located in Mitchell Park in Palo Alto, California, Magical Bridge is heralded as the nation’s most innovative and inclusive playground, attracting visitors of all ages and all abilities.  

Magical Bridge Foundation
Donate Volunteer

COVID-19 Protocol

  • Capacity is limited to 55 visitors on the playground. Once the playground reaches capacity, a line will form with markings on the ground to remain 6 feet apart (similar to what you experience at Trader Joe's and Whole Foods Market). Staffing at the entry and exit gates will ensure capacity is monitored and lines (and social distancing) are maintained.
  • Based on state guidelines, visits are limited to 30 minutes.
  • We kindly ask that visitors sanitize their hands before entering. There will be hand sanitizers at the entrance gate. We also encourage visitors to bring personal sanitizing wipes.
  • If able, visitors are required to wear a mask inside the playground. Friendly stickers will be provided to those who are unable to wear a mask. Please be understanding that not all our visitors are able to wear a mask.
  • Visitors are asked to stay in their "pod" and distance 6 feet from other guests.
  • Food and beverages are not permitted inside the Magical Bridge Playground at this time. In addition, cardboard boxes (which we know are very popular on the slide mound) and personal toys are not allowed in the playground.
  • Kindly use the gate (near the top of the 2-story treehouse) when exiting the playground.
  • Be patient and be kind to make sure this playground will remain “magical” for all. Those unable to follow these guidelines will be asked to leave.
  • Palo Alto's Magical Bridge will be open to the public, Tuesday through Sunday, from 9 AM to 4:30 PM. The playground will be closed every Monday for cleaning. We will be opening the playground Monday mornings for limited hours to disability classes and organizations. Please contact Chase Hartmann to reserve your time.

Please continue to follow the Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommended social distancing and mask protocols. These limits are in place for the safety of the whole community. Your actions affect the health and safety of everyone and will help to keep our playground open.

About Magical Bridge

The first of its kind, Magical Bridge Playgrounds are intentionally and mindfully designed to meet the needs of everyone, including the 1-in-4 of us living with visible or invisible disabilities.

Heralded as the nation’s most innovative and inclusive playground, Magical Bridge thoughtfully considers the needs of those living with cognitive and physical disabilities, autism, sensory challenges, visual and auditory impairments, the medically fragile, and even our aging population. In short, Magical Bridge is NOT a special needs playground – rather, Magical Bridge Playgrounds are a playground for everyone and everybody, at every stage of life. These intergenerational, fun, and safe playgrounds are:

100% INCLUSIVE

  • Distinct play zones designed to accommodate everyone.
  • Retreat spaces for those needing a break from play.
  • Smooth, seamless pathways and surfacing.
  • Wheelchair access to a two-story playhouse, treehouse and top of a slide mound.
  • Fully accessible equipment including bucket swings, joyful spinning features, wide slides, a sway boat, and a merry-go-round flush with the ground so everyone can join in the fun.

100% INNOVATIVE

  • Far surpasses the minimum ADA requirements.
  • Designed by inclusive play experts, educators, therapists, families living with various disabilities, and leading landscape architects.
  • Surprising and innovative features such as an artist-designed 24-string laser harp, whimsical artwork, seamless turf, custom wooden structures for tactile and visual impact, and many others.

100% ENRICHING

  • Outdoor play is the foundation for physical development, as well as social-emotional lessons such as cooperation, sharing, problem solving and kindness. Without inclusive playgrounds, many families do not have a place to bring their children to play.
  • Everyone in a community benefits from the elimination of social stigmas and prejudices, and this naturally happens when people of all abilities have the chance to play together.

Magical Zones

Play has such a profound impact on ALL of us, at every stage of life, and Magical Bridge staff design every playground so every visitor, young and old, experiences the health and wellness benefits of playing in our magical space.  Staff intentionally divides Magical Bridge into zones, because predictability matters for many who play here.

SWINGING ZONE

Swinging creates vestibular stimulation, activating the inner fluids in our ear canal that are critical to maintaining body posture and equilibrium, especially beneficial for people with various autism spectrum disorders. Swinging restores balance to the vestibular system, provides proprioceptive input (deep pressure), and also soothes, relaxes and increases concentration.

SLIDING AND CLIMBING ZONE

Sliding and climbing activates our vestibular systems, which contribute to our sense of balance and spatial orientation. Vestibular input coordinates movement of our eyes, head and body, which affects our body’s balance, muscle tone, visual-spatial perception, auditory-language perception and emotional security.

MUSIC ZONE

Music stimulates more parts of the brain than any other human function. In children, it motivates interaction, facilitates socialization and improves social skills. The brain processes music in a different area than speech and language, therefore, for those who have difficulty communicating verbally, music provides a way to express themselves in a non-verbal manner.

SPINNING ZONE

Rotary vestibular input, caused from spinning, is the most powerful form of sensory input that the brain can process. Just 15 minutes of vestibular input can have a 6-8 hour impact on the brain.

KINDNESS CORNER

The heart of Magical Bridge, the Kindness Corner is a gathering place for reflection, compassion and education. Magical Bridge offers a dedicated section of the playground to help spark conversations and lessons about making friends with someone who is “different,” modeling positive behavior, and encouraging kids to be up-standers and address the issues of bullying.

PLAYHOUSE + PLAYSTAGE

Through pretend-play, children experience the full range of their senses and feelings, how their bodies move through space, and how their imaginations can create alternate worlds of existence. Since 1987, Barbara Butler Artist-Builder, Inc. has created over 600 unique play structures — and their first wheelchair-accessible, two-story playhouse and treehouse was designed and built especially for Magical Bridge.

Volunteer

The city is running a volunteer program for those in the community (ages 14+) who would like to give back by volunteering as a Magical Bridge Kindness Ambassador.