What to Do about the Fun Forest?

Dipping my toe somewhat outside of education (but related to kids), I wanted to ask you readers what you thought should happen to the Fun Forest and the area around it. As you may be aware, there is outside funding for a Chihuly Glass Museum to be placed there.

I personally am against this idea as (1) I don't think his work is really art for the ages (2) EMP is already an expensive museum at Seattle Center and do we need another one (3) there is a glass museum in Tacoma already and (4) we need the green space.

What I (and some others) are putting forth, for at least some of the space, is an adventure playground. These playgrounds take different forms. I have seen some in Europe that have these enormous sturdy rope climbing areas, others have imaginative play and others have ziplines.

I sent an e-mail to the City Council on this issue and I had found some good examples so I thought I would pass them onto you as food for thought. I think having open spaces in downtown would be great for both natives and tourists.

Central Park has several wonderful aspects to it but one that would tie in with the loss of the Fun Forest is their Adventure Playground.

Examples of Adventure playgrounds:
Great Britain

From Mental Floss, a list of the 10 best from Japan to Sweden to Germany to Dubai. One of special note is in Fairfax County, Virginia and was built so that children with disabilities can play side by side with those without.


seattle said…
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seattle said…
I love the Fun Forest and wish we could modernize and keep it. It's the only carnival experience left in or near Seattle. The great thing about the Fun Forest is it is appealing to families and kids of all ages, and adults too!

A glass museum would appeal mainly to adults, and a playground would only appeal to very young children.

We have Wild Waves, but it's very expensive (about $29 per person) and it's in Federal Way, with very limited public transportation options for our teens or families without cars.

Keep the Fun Forest!
Jet City mom said…
I think an adventure playground- especially if it is sized for adults and older kids is a fantastic idea.

I like the one at the zoo- but it is very small- for little kids- but same idea.

Climbing trees is something that I really enjoyed while growing up in the suburbs, but there are fewer trees in the city- it would be wonderful to have that experience offered.

Nobody I know wants another expensive exhibit at the Seattle Center ( including artists)- we need more public space.

From the Stranger
Over the past year, the company that operates the Space Needle has been quietly working with Seattle Center to develop plans for a private, 44,550-square-foot Dale Chihuly glass museum to be placed where the skeletal remains of the Fun Forest amusement park now reside. The Space Needle and Chihuly are pushing hard for this project; they even hired two PR firms and one lobbying group to foist it on the public. But the public overwhelmingly dislikes the idea.

We know this because, during a long process that concluded in 2008, city planners held roughly 60 public meetings to determine what Seattle residents wanted from Seattle Center. What they wanted, overwhelmingly, was more open green space. Seattle Center is public land, and so planners created a Seattle Center Master Plan that called for the former Fun Forest to be replaced with an open lawn—accessible to everyone.
Sully, these are big playgrounds that appeal to old and young alike; that's the beauty of it.
ParentofThree said…
Green space with venues for music and places for children to play.
GreyWatch said…
I love the adventure playground idea. Europe is a bit less uptight about activities that could invite lawsuits, however. I don't see this happening here (at least in a form that would really challenge or thrill an adolescent) w/o high fees and/or lots of liability paperwork.

Also on the dreaming ideas, not necessarily for Seattle Center, but something Seattle is devoid of, would be a year round ice rink. A real one. A wave pool would be cool too.
Syd said…
An adventure park in the Seattle Center is a great idea! I loved the picture of Takino Hillside Park, and the rest are great as well. At the Tate Modern there are some fantastic slides - really fun, although I could only bring myself to do the smallest one.

SPIFF has designed a park of this type for Seward Park that breaks ground this month. http://www.cityofseattle.net/parks/projects/seward/playground.htm

Where do I sign up to work for this!
SE Mom said…
We once went to an adventure park in southern california that was great fun and let kids do the sort of stuff I used to do as a kid. There was a muddy pond with rafts that kids could navigate and a real mud slide into the pond. There was also an awesome construction site where kids could use - gasp! - hammers and nails.

Obvioulsly not what they'd put in at the Seattle Cneter. I like that idea of a playground where all kids including with disabilities could play together.
The Chihuly museum is a terrible idea. Expensive, ugly and not kid-friendly.

I want that area to be open green space, with high-flying structures to keep off the rain. Trees, grass, maybe an herb garden or children's fun garden with some rides and kid-friendly areas for them to play and frolic.

Don't we have enough places to see Chihuly glass?
seattle citizen said…
Adventure playground, yes! Updates the idea of Fun Forest to a more active age.

Chihuly Museum? No! While it's very artistic, and some is quite beuatiful, Chihuly glass is also somewhat market oriented - it's not like he makes very piece himself, there is a large market in Chihuly glass; we don't need a flagship store at the foot of the Space Needle.

WV was offered a similar deal but paston it, and WV knows best.
Patrick said…
I like Chihuly's glass and I would like there to be a museum, but not there. Seattle Center should have fun things for families, not grown-ups only, don't touch things.

By the way, it's been mentioned elsewhere that the glass in the museum will be for sale. Is that true? If so, to me it is not really a museum, and has no business on public land or getting public subsidy at all.
Unknown said…
No to the glass museum. I agree that there is one in Tacoma, and you don't want to add another museum there. Green space or play area are my thoughts.

As far as your adventure playground goes, I'm not sure what the difference is between the ones you listed and the playground at St. Edwards Park in Kenmore or Grasslawn Park in Redmond. They are FABULOUS! Anything like those would be great! Here are some photos if you've never been...
southend girl said…
Boo Chihuly. Hurray adventure playground! Fantastic idea. Hopefully such a project could circumvent the inefficient, bureaucratic and uber safety concerned Parks Dept. though.
zb said…
I think we should have a Thomas Kincaid, "Painter of Light (TM)" museum.

OK, not really, and I actually like Chihuly art a lot more than that. I think his work will actually will survive through the ages.

Where can we find the scoop about the planning for this "museum"? And, why is it flying? Are they offering cash up front that will look good for budget lines?

I think one issue for Seattle Center is that it serves a dual purpose -- it's both a place for us, the residents, and for tourists. Tourists look for destinations, and open space, playgrounds, etc. don't satisfy that need. They also generate revenue, and we want it to be free.

I'd like a lot of other things over a closed museum, especially if it were going to be called the Chihuly museum (rather than an art glass museum), but most of these don't generate revenue. An ice skating, rink, though, seems like it would have possibilities. Oddly, I think such a structure could be integrated with a glass museum, if someone wanted to do it. And, it could generate revenue
Jet City mom said…
I also think an iceskating rink is a good idea- we had one at the Center- seasonally- but since the district has a high school without sports facilities at the Center & since we have the winningnest winter Olympian who got there on the ice- I think it is appropriate we have some sort of ice rink in Seattle.

The Science Center and the Childrens Museum are great- but the Science Center is not engaging enough to visit often ( often has commercial tie ins which are unappealing), the Childrens Museum is also for pretty little kids- we need something for older kids/young adults besides video game parlors.

If we really want to target families in Seattle that is.

We have lots of galleries around town, an Art Museum just a few blocks away from the center & another on Capitol hill- if we wanted to have some sort of place addressing creativity, how about getting to watch real artists create?

It could have different monthly themes- glass blowing one month with classes- welding sculpture another ( they teach it at least one local high school), potters, etc.
I think it would be ok to have some things for sale- they also could have tie ins with local exhibits-

Howabout showing us some of the magic behind the stage sets and costuming for the Ballet & Childrens theatre?
Show us real people- so kids can get an idea of how to get involved- spark their interest.

We have many other renowned artists in this area- look at the Tsutakawa legacy for example ( start at the mural), Gerry/George are at least as deserving of a museum as Chihuly.
Emerald, that's not entirely true about Center School. They have no gym but Memorial Stadium is the district's field so I'm pretty sure they can use that.
SolvayGirl said…
The Center School does not offer PE; students are on their own to get PE credits via some school-supported workshops/classes (yoga, dance, etc.), ski bus, participating in sports at other high schools (usually Garfield), personal participation in other sports (leagues) and/or dance classes, etc.
rugles said…
Any truth to the rumor that there is a new proposal being considered, from a group that Seattle native Kenny G has put together, to build a Smooth Jazz Hall of Fame on the site?
Unknown said…
rugles, please say you're kidding?
Bird said…
I'd vote for an ice skating rink, an outdoor pool or water play area, or a city-wide community center that could be open EVERY day. I rarely get to use a lot of the services offered by the community centers as they seem to be closed whenever I'm not working.

If we don't want to use any money on an ongoing basis then a simple park area would be my next choice -- with cool a playground if possible.

If we're going to be renting out the space to private interests then I vote for Fun Forest. Lower the damn rent and let the kiddie rides continue! My kids absolutely *love* those beat up old rides. I can't stand the idea of replacing them with a dreadful for profit "museum". Argh!
seattle said…
Ah ha! An outdoor pool like Pop Mounger or Coleman! I love it, Bird.
seattle citizen said…
a giant jacuzzi that can hold a thousand people. Very Seattle, and a nice place to relax during Bumbershoot.
seattle said…
No, SC, very Seattle would be a huge wood fired Cedar Snorkel tub....LOL
wsnorth said…
Kidstuff! There is enough adult stuff at the Seattle Center.

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