To the cheers of adventurous children across the seven seas, Pasadena city leaders will christen the pirate ship of Reese’s Retreat during a grand opening celebration Saturday, April 30, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Reese’s Retreat is Pasadena’s first universally accessible playground--designed with special equipment to delight children of all ages and abilities. It is located in the southeast corner of Brookside Park, just east of the Rose Bowl Aquatics Center.
Beckoning with its pirate ship, Reese’s Retreat comes complete with ramps, a cannonball climber, an eight-bay swing set and sensory play structures that invite children to play with water and sand. The vast blue “ocean” provides a soft floor and easy access for users in wheelchairs and those with impaired mobility.
At the dedication, the nearly half-acre oasis will teem with play activity for children and resources for parents. The official dedication is at 9:30 a.m. with Mayor Bill Bogaard and Councilmember Jacque Robinson christening the ship. “Pirates” from Fairy Tale Theatre of Sierra Madre Playhouse will play with the children until 11:30 a.m., when they will entice the children to join them at the “shell” theater for an interactive performance of Robert Louis Stevenson’s 1883 classic, “Treasure Island.”
Pirate attire and cameras are encouraged. The day will also feature carnival games compliments of Pasadena Unified School District, free hot dogs cooked by Pasadena Firefighters Association Local 809, the Police Department’s KID ID program, and clubs and organizations promoting kids’ activities.
The fanciful spot is named for Reese Elliott, the late son of Marchelle Sellers and James Elliott. Born with special needs, Reese played pirates and superheroes with other children, inspiring his mother to become a vocal supporter of inclusive playgrounds.
Like Reese, about 2,600 kids in Pasadena have disabilities.
The boundless play area was designed in partnership with the Pasadena Public Works Department, Accessibility and Disability Commission, Recreation and Parks Commission, Shane’s Inspiration, Interplay Design, Recreation West Outdoor Products, and David Evans and Associates. The $1.2 million cost was covered by a $1 million state grant, a $25,000 award from the National Organization on Disability, Brookside Gold Course greens fees and residential impact fees.
The Aquatic Center is located at 360 N. Arroyo Blvd. Free event parking is available at the southern end of Lot I.
Pasadena’s newest playground is open 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. For more information call (626) 744-4321.