Play Michigan!

Universally Accessible Playground Opened September 16, 2023

The Community Foundation built Play Michigan!, the first universally accessible playground in the region, designed to promote inclusivity and the health and well-being of ALL children. And because the playground is fully accessible, parents and grandparents who have physical limitations are able to enjoy playing with their children and grandchildren. This extraordinary $3.2 million+ playground-park on the downtown Lansing riverfront is a destination for families throughout our region and beyond.

The Community Foundation’s designers have far exceeded ADA requirements in order to create a completely barrier-free environment where all children and adults, regardless of ability, can play side-by-side throughout the entire park. Children with sensory disabilities or developmental disabilities have lots to explore as well. The playground-park maximizes inclusivity and normalizes differences, while promoting the healthy development of all children for generations to come.

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A big THANK YOU to the Community Foundation for all you did to bring the accessible playground to Downtown Lansing. We had the opportunity to take our toddler, Max, to the playground for the first time and he LOVED it. The playground was full of happy families, and I also loved the connections to the River Trail. Play Michigan! is a huge asset to our community and Downtown Lansing, so many, many thanks again to the Community Foundation for your vision and support!"

– Katharine M. Hude, community member

The Community Foundation led this project in partnership with the City of Lansing. Thank you to our major sponsors:

  • AF Group, lead sponsor
  • CASE Credit Union, lead sponsor
  • Linda and Joel Zylstra, whose original vision sparked the project
  • John and Jewel Bos
  • Eileen and Jerry Fhaner
  • Sparrow Health System
  • Mary Free Bed
  • Michigan Medicine
  • Peckham

Frequently Asked Questions

About the new universally accessible playground-park

We’re thrilled with the overwhelming positive feedback on our new universally accessible playground project! Every area of the park is accessible to children of all abilities, and we’ve worked hard to ensure the waterfront can be safely enjoyed by all.

The address is 500 N Grand Avenue, Lansing, MI 48933. This is the southeast corner of Saginaw Street and Grand Avenue.

The Community Foundation is developing the downtown Lansing riverfront because it is an underutilized asset in our community that should be accessible and safely enjoyed by everyone. The location provides an opportunity for children of all abilities to experience water features that they may not otherwise have. We were inspired by the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy, who is developing its riverfront and including an all-access playground for children next to the water.

In response to safety concerns raised by a few of the families we surveyed, we added a fence to enclose the playground and help prevent children from running to the water without supervision. Families who are concerned about the water can enjoy the playground and avoid the riverfront altogether. Further, the boardwalk and platform at the river’s edge have safety cabling, even though the river is extremely shallow at this site.

Among a few riverfront sites considered, this site was chosen because of its existing barriers to the roads. This fencing encloses the playground to prevent children from running toward the water or street without supervision. The base of the park is sunken, with natural grass embankments topped by heavy railing. The embankments also help reduce traffic noise for children who are sensitive to this.

The park has its own parking lot, which is mixed-use with half of the lot exclusively for people with disabilities, with 10+ barrier-free spaces. In addition, there is plenty of street side parking. LCC hopes to offer overflow parking in their ramp during off-peak class times. The City of Lansing has added a bus loading/unloading zone on Grand Avenue, adjacent to the park.

Yes, Disability Network assisted with the park’s design to ensure we were meeting our goals for safety and to meet the needs of children with disabilities of all types. In addition, approximately 50 families who have children with disabilities responded to a survey by Quality and Impact Data Solutions; all responses were positive and many helpful suggestions received have been incorporated with the park’s design.

Yes, there is a pavilion, a picnic area under a shade sail, and several benches for parents and caregivers to watch their children play.

Yes, there are several existing shade trees and others have been planted.

Yes, there is a quiet place with benches to the side of the playground, away from the activity. Also, the parking lot is located in the park, just steps away from the playground, should you need to take a break in your vehicle.