1st redo in 35 years for New Orleans’ 60-year-old Storyland
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The 60-year-old Storyland playground in New Orleans’ City Park is getting its first makeover in 35 years, with four new exhibits and updates to the 18 already there.
The playground’s accordion-playing alligator is moving away from Peter Pan’s Pirate Ship, where he’s stood for decades, and will be surrounded by flower-shaped drums and color-coded xylophones for kids to play.
Humpty Dumpty, who holds a flag urging, “Build Your Imagination,” will sit above a playhouse where kids can build walls with giant Legos or act out whatever stories they want. Kids will be able to climb Jack’s beanstalk to a tunnel and slide. And a layabout hare will lounge near a tortoise shell big enough for even grown-ups to crawl under and play the slow and steady race-winner, said Casie Duplechain, director of development at City Park.
About 263,000 people visited last year, Duplechain said. She said the $800,000 project will close the playground for several months, beginning Monday. The reopening date hasn’t been set but will be in the fall, she said.
Admission will rise from $4 to $5 per person.
Makeovers for the current attractions will add interactive play and even a bit of science.
“As it stands, kids can go in and climb, but the parents just watch,” Duplechain said. Now, she said, “Each one will be an opportunity for parents to play with their children.”
For instance, Hey Diddle Diddle has an above-ground spaceship so kids can play that they’re joining the cow on her translunar trip.
The spaceship will be brought to Earth so kids who use wheelchairs can go in, too. New buttons will start it vibrating, as if it’s about to take off. Exhibits inside will show NASA’s gender and racial diversity, Duplechain said. Outside, one large panel will show the solar system, with planets that children can spin. A second panel will show a NASA satellite photograph of the Earth. Another addition will be a space suit “photo op” cutout with the helmet open for kids’ faces.
The Gingerbread Man will stand by a new Candyland game, with an arrow to spin and a path of color-coded blocks. Each color has a different question about other stories and rhymes, such as “The cow takes a giant leap in space. What does she jump over?”
“The kids are so excited. So are their parents,” Duplechain said.