Magical Bridge Playground

The Magical Bridge Playground will be closed to the public from September 1 to October 14, 2022 for renovations.

The renovation project will address maintenance and safety upgrades to the heavily used playground. These renovations include rubberized surfacing and synthetic turf replacement, cleaning and re-staining the playhouse, playhouse railing replacement, replacement of the net on the net spinner, addition of a shade structure over the spin zone, and miscellaneous painting and planting improvements. Magical Bridge Playground is located in Palo Alto's Mitchell Park.

 Image of Magical Bridge Playground

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

Please be aware of the following information regarding the Magical Bridge Playground:

COVID-19 Guidance (Updated 09.23.21)

  • The playground opens at sunrise.
  • Masks are no longer required, but are encouraged.
  • We recommend washing your hands before entering.
  • Please, no food or drink (other than water) to help keep your playground clean and safe for all abilities. Our play surfaces are one of the main staples of our accessibility. Not only are messes extremely difficult to clean, but they are sometimes impossible to remove, and the only remedy is expensive turf replacement and park closures. This is the same reason we do not allow wheels.
  • We allow cardboard to slide on, but please take it home with you when you leave and please throw away smaller pieces that are not useable. We are finding pieces all over the playground and in the landscape.
  • Please wear shoes for your safety.
  • NO DOGS ARE ALLOWED except for service dogs with a vest and tags.
  • NO WHEELS are allowed in any of the play zones, except for wheelchairs. Please park your strollers or ride-on toys in the designated area. Bikes can be locked to the bike racks outside the gate.

General Playground Rules

  • Please enjoy food and drinks outside of the playground.
  • Please keep gates closed at all times.
  • No gum allowed.
  • Play Zones are for all ages.
  • Children must be supervised at all times.
  • Caution: slides, and play equipment may be hot! Check temperature before use.
  • Wear appropriate footwear at all times. Bare feet, flip-flops, high heels, and cleats are not permitted.
  • Bikes, skateboards, and roller skates are not permitted inside the playground. Wheel chairs are okay.
  • Only service dogs permitted. Dog must have service vest and tags.
  • Please do not drag our Adirondack chairs into the playhouse, it is stripping the paint on the floor.
  • Alcohol and smoking are prohibited.
  • Cursing, yelling, and hitting are not allowed.
  • No trespassing after hours.
  • There are no reservations of the playground.
  • Above all, please be kind.

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.