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Magical Bridge Playhouses

Creating Magic

In 2009, Olenka Villareal came to Barbara with an innovative idea. Tired of finding parks that weren’t welcoming or fun for her two daughters of different abilities, Olenka wanted to create a brand new type of all inclusive playground that included one of Barbara’s wooden play structures as its focal point. Unlike other two-story playhouses or treehouses for kids, this one would need to be 100% accessible to those in wheelchairs or with other mobility impairments. Not only that, but it needed to be irresistibly fun for any child, so that children of all abilities could play together. It’s name was Magical Bridge.

Magical Bridge Playground Sign and Playhouse
Magical Bridge Stage and Playhouse

As a long-time treehouse builder, Barbara was accustomed to making unique and creative play structures, so she set right to work on this inclusive playground design, eventually creating the standard two-story playhouse you’ll find in all of the Magical Bridge Playgrounds located in public parks. (After the massive success of the first Magical Bridge in Palo Alto, several more were built around California.)

The welcoming wooden play structure includes a series of ramps connecting the lower and upper floors, a theater space, and several imaginative scenes kids can interact with. The large, colorful walls of our custom play structure are often the first thing kids see when they walk into a Magical Bridge Playground. We eventually also added Retreat Huts to the sensory friendly playground, making it even more welcoming to those who struggle when presented with too much input from their environment.

Magical Bridge Playhouse under Construction
Playhouse Theater Stage under Construction

Part of what makes Barbara Butler Playhouses, LLC stand out is our commitment to working collaboratively with contractors, landscapers, other vendors, and visionaries who dream up a new way to serve their communities. Our contributions to the Magical Bridge project were no exception; as part of the design-built process, Barbara met with local stakeholders and coordinated with countless individuals and teams to do our part to bring this project to fruition.

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