HAMDEN, Conn. (WTNH)-- In many communities, children in wheelchairs don't have the opportunity to enjoy the playground experience, like other kids. But that is no longer the case in Hamden.
There's a lot to like for a wide-eyed youngsters coming to Josh's Jungle for the first time.
"I like the animals. I like the slides," said Madeline Shaw, Hamden. "The monkey bars."
Josh's Jungle is what's known as a boundless playground, a place where a child in a wheelchair or one who needs help walking can have as much as any other kid.
The journey to create this space began ten years ago, when a local mother couldn't find a place for her wheelchair bound son, Josh, to play.
"She said you know there's a park I can take my dog to, but not my son," said Julie Smith, Hamden Grants and Project Coordinator.
Those days are gone with the opening of Josh's Jungle.
Now, other kids like Josh can play on equipment like the 'Cruiser' right alongside all of their friends.
"Right when you enter the playground, it's ramped, so a child in a wheelchair has access to the entire playscape," said Smith.
"Kids in wheelchairs can't do a lot of the things that kids who aren't in wheelchairs can do, and know you can play together," said Riley Walsh, Hamden.
And, the 7,000 square foot play area is made entirely of recycled materials.
Although a railing looks a lot like wood, it's actually recycled plastic. Recycled plastic bottles for the playscape, recycled tires used for the flooring.
It's a place that good for the environment and great for all kids in search of carefree fun.
"I think that it's wonderful to give every kid a chance to go on the playground and be with other kids, and you know be with their peers of all abilities. I think it's good," said Karen Walsh, a mother.
It cost about $400,000 to build Josh's Jungle. Finding that money was tough, backers of the project had numerous grant requests turned down.
Finally, the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection was able to provide the needed funds.
So, it was a long road but it's ended with a lot of happy children. And, it doesn't get much better than that.
For more information, go to http://placesforkidsct.com/boundless-playgrounds/.
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