Waterplay is an immersive play space where visitors explore the power and beauty of water through various hands - on experiences and interactive artworks. The space was remodeled by the CMP design staff in 2013 with an eye to accessibility - both in the physical space and exploration of the principles of water. There are wet experiences and dry experiences; multiple types of physically interactive spaces; active zones where visitors engage in large motor skill activities; quiet zones where visitors engage in sensory experiences; and a dedicated zone for educational programming. The goal is to make water available in multiple ways, helping visitors tap into a variety of sensory and physical experiences.

Water is available to visitors in three ways. First, water falls from above via a translucent, serpentine sculpture. The piece captures the natural beauty and joyful experience of playing in the rain. Next, visitors turn a large water wheel to draw water from a basin and watch it pour into a channel system, a nod to retrieving water from natural bodies of water like rivers and lakes. Finally, visitors pump water from reservoirs below the floor by hand, simulating techniques used to access ground water.

Low bamboo walls and grated ramps divide the space, define edges and help with orientation. The ramped walking surface creates a continuous circulation path between zones.  A change in flooring distinguishes the wet area from the dry area, helping visitors understand where they are in the exhibit.  The space also features an on-going rotating art collection.


Anne Fullenkamp