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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Review of Don Fightmaster Playground in Louisville, KY

 photo IMG_3653_zpsd5a0c1d1.jpgMy kids and I recently discovered this fabuLOUs playground near the University of Louisville's campus. Well, I've known it was there for years, but we actually just officially visited it and let me just say, it's become my favorite place to play when we are near that area! It's the Don Fightmaster Playground, part of the University's Cardinal Park.

 photo IMG_3656_zps803ef84e.jpgIt is a wonderfully designed playground, with lots of ramps and overpasses for kids to walk and run, it's spacious, lots of tunnels and slides, with plenty of bench seating throughout the whole area. And it's all enclosed with fencing which I love (when you have a toddler like mine who looks for the closest escape, you understand what I mean!)

 photo IMG_3663_zps45ee0b70.jpg photo IMG_3659_zps94db3e97.jpgThis playground was also designed for those with disabilities in mind. The low, wide ramps and long pathways throughout the entire playground structure make it very accessible for wheelchairs. It is named after Don Fightmaster, who is the founder and president of Don Fightmaster Foundation for Exceptional Children. When this park was built, it was the best in the nation for accessibility. Many of the design features were adapted from those featured at the Smithsonian for advancements on accessibility including wheelchair accessible platforms, transfer stations, and activities placed at ground level.  They also have 2 adaptive swings available-all of which appeared to be well maintained.

While this park is amazing, it is important to keep in mind as a caregiver of a disabled child or adult, that parking can be tricky. Be sure to bring change for a meter or pay to park at UofL’s parking garage across the street. Sidewalks and ramps at intersections are available. There are a couple of designated handicapped parking spots near the park, but the traffic and parking around campus can be extremely busy, so don’t count on those spots being open. There is some parking down the street from the playground a couple of blocks if you're willing and able to walk a little bit, and there are occasional spaces open in the pay parking lot right next to the building across the street from the playground. Also, if you go to the McDonalds next door (at the corner of Floyd and Warnock streets) before hand, they will allow you to park there, but you MUST purchase something from them first. As a good gesture, I always give one of the McDonalds employees a heads up of my plan just in case. (There are ample signs throughout the parking lot that parking is designated for McDonalds only, so this is a good idea). There is a ramp between the McDonalds and the playground for easy access. 

 photo IMG_3660_zps9f41b038.jpgYou'll have a blast playing with your kids at this playground! You can also check out some practices with the soccer, lacrosse, or field hockey teams as their practice fields are very near the playground. It is located at 2125 S. Floyd Street. Unable to locate specific hours: best guess is sun up to sun down.

By guest contributors: Erin and Jennifer

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