New Butterfly Playground Offers Fun and Creativity

New Butterfly Playground Offers Fun and Creativity

A new Butterfly Playground that expands creative play opportunities for children is open at Washington Township's Countryside Park, 895 Miamisburg-Centerville Rd. 

The Butterfly Playground's dedication ceremony took place at the annual Halloween Howl where children had opportunity to experience the first two areas of the playground - Nature Sounds and Butterfly Meadow. Nature Sounds offers a music and theater space for creative play, while Butterfly Meadow offers a place to climb and play. Both are handicapped accessible.

“This is the first playground in our community to offer this type of physical and creative play. The outdoor musical play space is the only one of its kind in the Miami Valley," said Dave Paice, recreation facilities director. The first two phases include:

Nature Sounds Area –

A stage provides the focal point and is surrounded by three large, outdoor musical pieces -- including a grouping of five hand drums, a metalophone, and chimes that are 9-feet tall. Concrete seating offers a place for parents and others to enjoy the show. Nature Sounds is located behind the Rec Center.

Butterfly Meadow Area –

A spider-web like structure offers a place for kids five and older to climb and play, while lady bugs provide smaller climbing opportunities. A nearby toddler area includes a bridge, slide, steps for climbing, and springy poles to stand on and practice balancing skills. Both sections are decorated with butterflies and located near the park’s A-frame shelter.

Community Support

The playground concept was approved as part of a 2002 master plan for Countryside Park. After approving the plan, Washington Township Trustees pledged $50,000 in matching seed money. Since then, an additional $202,000 has been raised through grants and donations, including $32,000 from Arti and Hement Garg to honor the memory of their daughter, Yukta, an avid Recreation Center user and butterfly lover who died in an auto accident near the recreation center. To raise funds, the Gargs organized a series of benefit concerts featuring internationally-known singers and musicians from the Bollywood film industry in Mumbai, India.

“The Gargs have been incredible partners in establishing a financial base for a playground. They’ve brought tremendous organization, creativity and passion to their fundraising,” said Senior Recreation Supervisor Linda Madden, who oversees the project.

Playground Design

The play areas were developed by local landscape architect Eric Sauer who donated his time and enlisted the help of young recreation center users. Campers and Rec’ing Crew members expanded upon the butterfly theme inspired by Yukta, offered their interpretations, and sketched out their ideas.

“Many people have helped make the Butterfly Playground a reality,” said Madden. “Scouts have devoted considerable time and effort.” About 200 Girl Scouts helped plant two new gardens next to the Butterfly Meadow area and Boy Scouts have constructed seating, made butterfly houses, installed benches, and planted a butterfly-shaped garden.

The Next Stage

More funding will be needed to complete all five phases of the playground, including a Natural History Play Area where kids can dig for oversize fossils and learn about local geology; a Woodland Play Area that offers playful opportunities to learn about native animals and insects; and a Pond & Stream Play Area where children can learn about local pond and stream environments.

“The plan calls for play areas scattered throughout the park. We hope that children someday can walk the entire one-mile path and have fun at different play stations throughout,” Madden said.