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Vail park among World’s Coolest

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TravelandLeisure.com named Vail’s Sunbird Park one of the “World’s Coolest Playgrounds.” The playground in Lionshead Village was designed and built by Tres Birds of Denver.
Brooks Freehill | Special to the Daily |

VAIL — Vail’s Sunbird Park in Lionshead has been named one of the World’s Coolest Playgrounds by TravelandLeisure.com for its combination of artful form and function. The playground is in good company with other children’s parks in world-wide destinations such as Australia, France, Japan, Poland and the United Kingdom. Other parks that made the list include a park made out of recycled rubber tires, complete with a towering Godzilla, in Japan, and a reclaimed playground that includes an old firetruck and airplane in St. Louis.

“For over 30 years, the town of Vail has dedicated resources to creatively enhance the visual arts in Vail,” said Molly Eppard, Art in Public Places coordinator. “Travel + Leisure’s recognition for Sunbird’s unique artistic design and function is an honor for both the town’s Art in Public Places and its residents.”



‘ART INSPIRED PLAY’

Fifteen years ago, the town began to integrate original art into its playground designs. This successful collaboration with artists has led to six unique play areas in what the town calls “art-inspired play.”



Tres birds workshop in Denver was selected by Art in Public Places to work with the town to design play structures for the latest children’s playground in Lionshead Village. Completed in December 2013, Sunbird Park includes an interactive water feature, a climbing wall and artistic play structures. “The Nests” draw from Vail’s sense of place as a world-class ski destination as well as the surrounding natural habitats. The materials for the whimsical nest-like structures reflect the character of early wooden ski designs. Connecting the nests are custom-made ropes and bridges as well as slides, ladders and other climbers. The park’s design features accessibility, where children with disabilities may also enjoy the playground features.

At night, Sunbird Park is illuminated from within the nests and the water feature to create an art installation.

“Officially called Sunbird, the name reflects both the assets of the park as well as an ode to vintage Vail ski culture,” said Gregg Barrie, the town’s senior landscape architect.


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