Providence Playscape Opens, Invites Play for All Abilities

City’s first all-inclusive playground made possible by a community benefit grant from Providence Health Care

Media: Fianna Dickson, 625.6297. Parks & Recreation: 311

Friday, October 23, 2020 at 12:31 p.m.

SPOKANE – A virtual celebration marked the opening of Providence Playscape at Riverfront Park today. 

View a 6-minute video telling the story of Providence Playscape

View a :60 highlights video

As the City of Spokane’s first all-inclusive playground, it is designed to be physically and socially inclusive. The playground will help meet child development milestones, and offer activities that support physical, cognitive, social, and sensory needs.

Providence Playscape is made possible through a generous community benefit grant from Providence Health Care. The grant is part of the Spokane Parks Foundation’s Campaign for Riverfront Spokane.

“In a time when kindness and cooperation is needed more than ever, Providence Playscape provides a safe and fun environment that promotes inclusivity, dignity and accessibility for people of all ages and abilities,” said Peg Currie, chief operating officer for Providence Health Care. “This magical space aligns with our values and our commitment to create healthier communities.”

The ribbon was cut by the Sonnemakers, a family with children of varying abilities. They were joined by Mayor Nadine Woodward, Peg Currie of Providence Health Care, and Jennifer Ogden, Park Board President.

“I’m so grateful to see such a wide-open play space with accessible equipment and surfaces,” says Keesha Sonnemaker, mother of four. “Our family can now go to one spot that offers something for everyone – for my son in his wheelchair, my daughter with core balance needs, and our older kids who want to do bigger-kid things. Providence Playscape is truly all inclusive and a place for us to be together, have fun and meet other families.”

Inclusion Matters by Shane’s Inspiration donated the playground design. Community focus groups made up of parents, children, and health professionals specializing in adaptive and sensory play provided input at multiple stages during development. Their expertise helped ensure the playground meets the diverse needs of our community.

“Providence Playscape is a remarkable shared space for Spokane families, and you can hear it in the laughter that emanates from the playground,” said Mayor Woodward. “We are grateful for the generosity of Providence Health Care, for their joint vision of a playground where children of all abilities can play, grow, and learn together.”

At a Glance: Providence Playscape

  • Location: Riverfront park, along the Howard Street Promenade just north of the orange bridge
  • Theme: Nature
  • Size: 11,600 square feet
  • Number of play elements: More than 20 different types of inclusive play pieces
  • Surfacing: Colorful, resilient rubber surfacing creates ease of movement for wheels and walkers
  • Restrooms: A temporary ADA restroom and handwashing station is in place. A permanent structure will have two family restrooms that are wheel chair accessible, with adult-sized changing tables and a drinking fountain. It is delayed due to COVID-19 manufacturing impacts.
  • Seating: Benches and seating areas, several with receptacles for charging motorized chairs
  • Parking: An adjacent parking lot will have eight ADA parking stalls; currently three are available while the majority of the lot is closed for construction of the Post St. Bridge. Street parking is available along Post.
  • Funding: More than $1 million dollar community benefit grant over five years from Providence Health Care, through the Spokane Parks Foundation’s Campaign for Riverfront
  • Open: Year-round, following park hours 6 A.M. - midnight

Inclusive Design            

Through its design, Providence Playscape allows visitors with special needs to interact and play more independently and equally with their siblings, buddies, caregivers and family members.

The playground features integrated activities that encourage exploration, problem solving, and discovery. Families will find sensory-rich, age appropriate, and multi-generational social play for all. More than 20 unique, inclusive play elements come together to create Providence Playscape. Highlights include:

  • A “we-go-round” suitable for wheel chairs, creates user-driven movement
  • Swings made for all bodies and abilities
  • A sensory wall helping children improve their visual, auditory, and tactile processing
  • A roller table allowing children to pull themselves through the tunnel over rolling bars
  • A sand table creating tactile experiences
  • Various music-making pieces inviting children to create sounds with chimes and rainmakers
  • Shapes like the “cozy dome” built to create quiet retreats

Developmental benefits of the playground include opportunities to promote gross motor skills (stabilizing, push/pull, swinging, rocking), sensory and imaginative play (tactile/auditory/visual processing, quiet places to retreat), cognitive skill building, and risk/challenge opportunities.

For more, visit

Ice Age Floods Playground 

A second, bond-funded playground with an ice age theme is under construction on the north bank of Riverfront Park. It is slated for spring 2021 completion.


About Providence Health Care

Providence Health Care is a network of services including Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center, Sacred Heart Children’s Hospital, and Providence Holy Family Hospital – all nationally recognized for quality care, as well as two critical access hospitals in Colville and Chewelah. It also includes a full continuum of services – Providence Medical Park in Spokane Valley (a comprehensive multi-specialty center), urgent care centers, Express Care locations, home health, assisted living, adult day health and skilled nursing care. Providence Medical Group of eastern Washington includes more than 850 physicians and advanced practitioners.

Providence Health Care Community Benefit is the measurable contribution made by Providence Health Care to improve the overall health and well-being of our local communities, with concern for those who are poor and vulnerable. Providence focuses on efforts to demonstrate collaboration while maintaining a standardization provided by the federal government.


About City of Spokane Parks and Recreation

City of Spokane Parks and Recreation stewards nearly 120 properties across 4,000 acres of park land, including manicured parks, conservation lands, aquatic centers, golf course, sports complexes, and an arboretum. We also offer hundreds of recreation opportunities for all ages and abilities to improve the health and quality of life for our community. Enjoy all your city has to offer by visiting Follow us @SpokaneParks on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.