Consider this, parents. There’s an outdoor oasis that just came to life here in Myrtle Beach, where you and your kids can smile, laugh and play and … it’s free year-round.
We know there are a week’s vacation worth of activities and amusements here on the Grand Strand, but they usually require you to shell out some admission fees and extra cash for tickets and food and photos and souvenirs. Not so here.
Savannah’s Playground, located lakeside behind The Market Common’s Crabtree Gym, is like no other playground in our area. Newly opened as of Labor Day 2016, the free park is an enabling playground, featuring ADA-approved equipment and structures for children of all abilities and disabilities – and for the enjoyment of children of all ages. You’ll even be in awe of Savannah’s Playground, parents.
First, it’s massive, with plenty of space for gaggles of kiddos to run and roam. There are two playground areas; one for school-aged children and the other designated for the early childhood years. My curious 9-month-old loved this one, complete with big wheels of swirly colors and balls to roll little hands up and down. Clusters of swing sets and slides and interactive playgrounds rise up in all areas of the park at all heights, so there’s no worry that your toddler will be exposed to dangerous openings. Plus, swings feature either traditional seats or more accessible chairs, as well as seats to safely accommodate infants. There are also digitally interactive play equipment, a fitness trail, a trio of uber-cool zip lines and Harmony Park, where about a dozen chimes and drums in all shapes and sizes stand awaiting your tiny musician to make beautiful music. A couple more sections are due to make an appearance in the future, such as a water play park, which will be heavenly in the heat of the summer, and a paddleboats park near the lake. Benches are situated throughout Savannah’s Playground for rest and a snack – and you’ll need it, as you could easily be here for a couple hours!
So who is Savannah, the namesake of this playground of perfection? Savannah Thompson, age 19, of Myrtle Beach was born with Williams Syndrome, a condition that presents academia of challenges and developmental delays. Children with this condition also have a heart defect; when Savannah had her first heart surgery at age 4, there were complications with the anesthesia, which caused her to go into cardiac arrest and deprive her of oxygen for 20 minutes, causing significant brain trauma. After surgery, Savannah was in a coma for almost a month, forcing her to live off feeding tubes and a respirator. Although Savannah’s parents, Lance and Marjorie, had no hope of Savannah recognizing them or her surroundings when she awoke, she defied the odds. Today, Savannah is full of life and personality. She attends Socastee High School, plays Miracle League baseball and soccer, competes in special Olympics, sings the National Anthem at various sporting events, and loves Coastal Carolina sports.
Savannah’s Playground is a reflection of this young woman’s buoyant spirit and energy. It’s contagious. You can almost feel her warm embrace welcoming you at every turn. And it’s a special place you will want to visit with your little ones again and again – and share your experience with others.
Savannah’s Playground is located at 3600 Emmens Ave., Myrtle Beach just 5 miles from Plantation Resort. For additional info, visit http://savannahsplayground.org/.