• John Ball Zoo natural playground tower John Ball Zoo natural playground tower John Ball Zoo natural playground tower
  • Child sliding down John Ball Zoo timber playground tower Child sliding down John Ball Zoo timber playground tower Child sliding down John Ball Zoo timber playground tower
  • Playground tower with accessible wooden bridge at John Ball Zoo Playground tower with accessible wooden bridge at John Ball Zoo Playground tower with accessible wooden bridge at John Ball Zoo
  • Log jam climber at John Ball Zoo with children climbing Log jam climber at John Ball Zoo with children climbing Log jam climber at John Ball Zoo with children climbing
  • Children climb Log Jam at Grand Rapids, Michigan playground Children climb Log Jam at Grand Rapids, Michigan playground Children climb Log Jam at Grand Rapids, Michigan playground
  • Close up of cladding on John Ball Zoo playground tower Close up of cladding on John Ball Zoo playground tower Close up of cladding on John Ball Zoo playground tower
  • Child climbs inside of John Ball Zoo playground tower Child climbs inside of John Ball Zoo playground tower Child climbs inside of John Ball Zoo playground tower
  • Child sits in sling seat inside John Ball Zoo playground tower Child sits in sling seat inside John Ball Zoo playground tower Child sits in sling seat inside John Ball Zoo playground tower
  • Playground tower in Grand Rapids with swinging net bridge Playground tower in Grand Rapids with swinging net bridge Playground tower in Grand Rapids with swinging net bridge
  • Net bridge leads to playground tower at John Ball Zoo playground Net bridge leads to playground tower at John Ball Zoo playground Net bridge leads to playground tower at John Ball Zoo playground
  • Green criss cross cladding of John Ball Zoo playground tower Green criss cross cladding of John Ball Zoo playground tower Green criss cross cladding of John Ball Zoo playground tower
  • Accessible entrance to Playground tower at John Ball Zoo Accessible entrance to Playground tower at John Ball Zoo Accessible entrance to Playground tower at John Ball Zoo
  • Children lie on leaf deck at John Ball Zoo playground Children lie on leaf deck at John Ball Zoo playground Children lie on leaf deck at John Ball Zoo playground
  • Children climb on angled leaf deck of Grand Rapids Michigan playground Children climb on angled leaf deck of Grand Rapids Michigan playground Children climb on angled leaf deck of Grand Rapids Michigan playground
  • john ball zoo grand rapids mi custom tower design sketch john ball zoo grand rapids mi custom tower design sketch john ball zoo grand rapids mi custom tower design sketch

John Ball Zoo

Client: John Ball Zoo
Collaboration: VIRIDIS Design Group
Location: Grand Rapids, Michigan
Completion Date: 2019

The custom wood pieces designed for the playground at John Ball Zoo in Grand Rapids tie into the natural setting of the park. Working alongside VIRIDIS Design Group, Earthscape developed and fabricated two natural log climbing features and the timber tower, which is the focal point of the playground.

The bespoke two-level tower provides tons of opportunities for climbing, exploring and sliding. The crisscrossing cladding on the tower evokes intersecting blades of grass or tree branches. The stainless steel mesh panels provide ample light and visibility into the structure. They also frame beautiful views across the playground and park. An accessible wood bridge links the tower to a raised pathway that runs around the playground. A stainless steel open slide is paired with a teller plastic tube slide from the second level. Interior climbing walls and rubber sling seats enhance the interior play.

Along with the tower, the natural log climbers provide graduated challenge for explorers to test their boundaries. These climbers combine nets, ropes, stump steppers, and angled decks to provide play circuits that cater to all ages and abilities.