story by Cece Curran
You get out of your car and immediately your attention is drawn to the soaring structures, constructed of rope and metal connectors. Children’s laughter rings from the play equipment and you can’t wait to play on one of the newest features of Kansas City.
Starting in Grandview, Missouri, the first rope parks opened in 2014. These parks include a number of different things, but the most captivating element are the towering rope structures. Valley Park or what Grandview Parks and Recreation Director Sue Yerkes says is sometimes called the “Spider Man park,” was one of the first rope parks in Kansas City.
“It seems to draw a lot of people from everywhere,” Yerkes said regarding visitors of the park.
The Park has around 90,000 yearly visitors, clearly exemplifying how popular these parks are becoming. These parks are also free to climb without any harness or safety feature, these structures are made of incredibly strong rope.
Designed by the German company, Berliner Play Equipment, the rope is extremely durable. “Basically you can not cut these, they are made up of a fabric that you can’t just take a knife to and cut,” Yerkes said.
Depending on the park, they can include slides, swings or a zip line. The tube slides can be up to 55 feet long, and can be reached by making the unnerving climb to the top of the rope structures.
photos by Meghan Baker
Being quite an expensive investment, the money for Valley Park in Grandview came from the public through bonds. There are now 15 parks that were all renovated back in 2013-2015. Since then, more parks have started being developed.
As teenagers, a target job is babysitting. This job definitely isn’t hassle free. With kids complaining of boredom, they crave something new and exciting. The rope parks can provide this easily with its new and improved playground design.
These parks are a big hit and have been visited frequently by the public. They are a great place for families and people of all ages.“I nanny three kids and it’s hard to find free stuff to do, so we just go there.” sophomore Maggie Hart said.
Hart’s favorite part of the park are the “tire swings” although not all rope parks include these, they are usually located under massive tents or picnic shelters which provide a great place to cool off. These parks are tip top ways to entertain on a boring day.
“[The rope structures] are like big pyramids made out of rope that you can climb on.”
Intricate and creative, these parks bring fun to a whole new level.