THE STURGEONS
SCIENCE PLAYGROUND

WHERE: 
Pier 26 at Hudson River Park, New York City, NY, USA - 2024

COLLABORATION: 
OLIN
The Hudson River Park Trust


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The Science Playground at Hudson River Park's Pier 26 is home to two larger-than-life sturgeons, that stretch up amongst the surrounding skyscrapers and are packed with fun learning opportunities!

Immerse yourself in the marine life of the Hudson River through these highly interactive play features, that invite and inspire children to explore and learn. The 24-meter-long creatures can be scaled on the outside and inside, kids can journey through these endangered fish, learning about their anatomy, habitat and nature as they play. 

The sculptures represent an Atlantic sturgeon and a shortnose sturgeon and are designed in collaboration with OLIN and The Hudson River Park Trust. The playground will serve as an extension to the future Hudson River Park Estuarium, planned to be built here.

INCLUSIVE PLAY

We always strive to create thrilling playgrounds for all children, regardless of ability or age, which was also an important goal for this project. Our ambition is to avoid a gap between children with challenges and children with many abilities, which means that the playground, on the whole, should offer all kids good play opportunities and motivate them to move and explore the playground.

Throughout the design process, we have focussed strongly on the aesthetic expression, in part to create sculptural and impressive elements in the cityscape and not least driven by a desire to create playgrounds that grab children’s attention - regardless of their abilities and challenges - and inspire them to become part of the adventure. We believe that the visual expression of a playground is of great value for all children.

The playground meets all safety requirements of the ASTM standards and also follow ADA guidelines for accessibility.

We have designed the two structures with multiple ways to enter the two play structures and varying degrees of challenging climbing routes within. The large Atlantic sturgeon is accessible to wheelchair users by way of a ground-level opening and incorporates ramps with grips inside to enable climbing and crawling to the slides for those with limited mobility.

Both fish are designed with multiple accessible features such as sensory elements, ramps, steps and transfer platforms, which all contribute to facilitating hours of play for kids and their families.

Indications of how Sturgeon playground is accessible and follows ADA guidelines
Huge wooden playground fish structure with World Trade Center towers behind
Huge wooden sturgeon playground structures at Pier 26, Hudson River Park

Join the fish in motion, swimming along the riverbed.

Tube tunnel from the back of huge wooden Atlantic sturgeon playground structure

Jump, climb and hop on the fish eggs.

Two wooden sturgeon playground structures at Pier 26, New York

The Atlantic and shortnose sturgeons are both endangered species.

Girls climbing up on huge fish playground climber

        MEET THE SHORTNOSE STURGEON

Shortnose sturgeon wooden playground structure

Slide down out from the shortnose sturgeon.

Close up of giant wooden sturgeon playground sculpture

Discover characteristic details such as the sturgeon's "scutes" - bony diamond-shaped plates.

The tail end of a huge wooden sturgeon playground structure

Low, broad accessible stairs to the smaller sturgeon.

Large shortnose wooden sturgeon playground sculpture

TAKE A DEEP-DIVE     WITH US     

Accessible steps & accessible entrance to playground fish structure

The big sturgeon has a wide, ground-level entrance and can therefore be navigated by wheelchair.

Wooden shrimp detail at marine-themed playground

An unsuspecting shrimp floats in the water alongside the huge sturgeons.

Informative text at playground saying "Sturgeons have been alive since the age of the dinosaurs."

Discover all the fun facts around the playground.

Girl climbing up accessible ramp in huge wooden playground sturgeon

DISCOVER         THE INSIDE STORY

Inside details of huge wooden playground sturgeon

A colourful explosion of details - the insides are a treat for the senses!

Net details inside playground fish structure

Climb down through the intestines of the fish.

Inside details of the intestine system of sturgeon at wooden playground

CREATING AN EDUCATIONAL ADVENTURE

The playground is designed as a recreational and educational resource for New York families and it will also serve as the outdoor extension of the environmental programming at the ecology-focused Pier 26 and the future Hudson River Park Estuarium to be built next to the playground.

With such a strong focus on learning, we worked closely with Hudson River Park’s River Project team, who advised on the scientific aspects of the design, helping to integrate science-based, age-appropriate educational features that help bring the sturgeon to life.

At the playground, children learn by more than merely reading about it but by being part of the unique, immersive experience of entering the fish's inner system and becoming more aware of the Hudson River habitat and the endangered sturgeon.

The Pier 26 Science Playground was made possible by a $3.5 million fundraising campaign successfully completed by Hudson River Park Friends in 2021.

Sturgeons render

An early-stage 3D fly-through of the playground site.

MONSTRUM Production of huge wooden sturgeon
MONSTRUM Production of huge wooden sturgeon
MONSTRUM Production of huge wooden sturgeon
IN PRODUCTION
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