I know that on some levels, Margaret Mahy playground is just a really big, central-city, post-earthquake Christchurch playground.
I know that.
But I also know that... on so many levels it is so much more than that.
Since the playground opened, our family have made many more trips to central Christchurch than we have in the past. Sure, we have used the Christchurch tram before, and we have explored Hagley park with its Canterbury museum extensively, but now that the Margaret Mahy playground is open, we have actually started to come in the city itself. There is now something for us to do, something we want to do in central Christchurch on a regular basis, as a family.
(Which, if you have been to post-earthquake Christchurch and imagine what it'd be like exploring it with two little kids, is a big deal.)
I have watched the playground bustle with kids and fun-minded adults alike at all sorts of hours of the day. I've been there early in the mornings before the sun gets hot, during the day when there is hardly a space for all the people that have gathered, and in the evenings when the temperatures are cooling. Just another day me and The Man went there at 9 o'clock in the evening after we had lounged in a spa as part of our 'date night', figuring that we'd have a great opportunity to use the ziplines and do all sorts of fun things we don't get to do when we have kids there with us.
And you know what? There were probably around 30 adults there, playing at the children's playground :)
As far as I could tell, none of them were drunk. They were all just... merry, happily sliding down tunnels and flying on ziplines and twirling in 'egg-chairs', kind of like me and The Man, grateful for the opportunity to just have fun without having to watch after any preschoolers :)
And I thought how great it was, to have such a fun meeting place for sober adults at 9 pm in a central city. Not a bar, not a party - a playground. Playground fun enough for preschoolers and adults alike.
I have watched teenagers do parkour-like moves alongside primary school aged kids who have watched them with mouths ajar, going, "Whoaaaaaa..."
But most of all I have watched my family have fun.
I have watched my kids get sandy and wet...
I have watched them figure out various buttons around the playground and seeing pushing what? makes water come out of where?...
And I have felt grateful for whoever pushed such a project through in this earthquake rebuild city, because... that playground - Margaret Mahy playground - is one of my favorite places here. Really.
PS. And just because it makes me smile whenever I walk past it: a friend's artwork on The Girlie's bedroom wall. :)