After 22 weeks of closure, Efteling — the fairytale theme park in the south of Holland — re-opened today, May 19, 2021, and will be followed by the launch of its newest attraction, the play forest Nest!, on May 31.
Although construction is still in progress, the play forest will be ready to welcome its first guests on May 31, 2021 (which is also the 69th birthday of the theme park). With accessibility as the most important goal in the design and production of the area’s play equipment, Nest! will be a safe place where all young children — with or without visible disabilities — can play together safely.
The focal points of the play forest are the dragon tower with two slides and a large ship. At the center, a waterbed in the shape of a compass is entirely level and constructed without barriers, so it’s accessible for everyone, including guests in wheelchairs.
There will also be several play panels at different heights and different materials, which children can grasp and feel. The floor around the play equipment is made of a soft rubber material commonly used in playgrounds; however, the version uniquely designed for Nest! matches the various elements in the play forest.
Up until his death in June 2020, Dutch theatre creator and wheelchair athlete Marc de Hond regularly shared ideas about physical accessibility with park management. This special collaboration not only resulted in the Nest! play forest, but on May 31,, another project will become a reality: an inclusive fairytale written by de Hond in which children with disabilities play the leading role. The new fairytale will be available as a tactile picture book and a video on the Efteling YouTube channel with an audio description in four languages.
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