Client: Merlin Entertainments plc
Location: Weymouth Sea Life Adventure Park, Dorset
Playdale Playgrounds were absolutely thrilled to be awarded the contract to design, build and install the brand new ‘Caribbean Cove Adventure Playground’ at Merlin Entertainments’ Sea Life Centre in Weymouth, Dorset. This has been one of the largest projects we’ve undertaken in England in recent years and has been a hugely rewarding team effort from beginning to end.
‘We have been delighted with the work Playdale have done to bring to life Caribbean Cove at Weymouth SEA LIFE Adventure Park. At all stages of design, installation and commissioning we were able to collaborate to ensure the finished product met the overall brief. The quality and range of choices we had far exceeded our expectations and our young guests have had a thrilling time exploring all the great play opportunities that have been created to suit a wide range of ages.’ Tamsin Mutton-Mcknight, General Manager of the Sea Life Park.
Our Area Manager for the South West met with Rob Barr, Head of Operations of Weymouth Sea Life Adventure Park. They were looking to completely clear one of their Adventure Areas which previously was home to child-friendly theme park rides.
They wanted to create a large new exciting themed adventure playground and had a budget of 275K to re-develop it. A large main climbing structure would need to be the focal point of the design along with a wide variety of themed equipment for all ages and appropriate safety surfacing. Merlin invited four play equipment companies to submit design packages for this project so there was strong competition.
The Merlin team at Sea Life Weymouth were fantastic to work with through the design phase. Following regular meetings with them, we had a real feel for their desired end product of a large adventure playground to attract and entertain the thousands of children that visit this park each year. An important aspect to the design was to convey the park’s ecological message as well.
Our creative Playground Design Team set to work researching the variety of marine life that the Sea Life Park is home to and the conservation campaigns that it’s involved with.
With a themed design of this size, our talented team not only produced a detailed quotation, scaled plan, 2D illustrations and 3D imagery, but we also created a 3D ‘walk through’ video so that our adventure playground proposal could really come to life for the Weymouth Sea Life team!
The full proposal was presented to Rob Barr & the team which was very well received. They were impressed with our designs and how much we’d met and answered their brief. A few alterations to our design were discussed and requested and within a few weeks the senior decision-making team at Merlin Entertainments chose Playdale’s design and we were over the moon to be awarded the contract for this exciting project!
Our installation team, led by Michael Marsden, Contracts Manager and Lee Corbett, External Operations Manager did the most fantastic job from beginning to end. Equipment and surfacing smoothly installed and ready on time for the grand opening and unveiling.
Caribbean Cove Adventure Playground is home to a vast range of play equipment for children of all ages and abilities. The pieces of play equipment selected for the playground gives so much variety for children and each product has its own play values and benefits. The products included on this site are:
‘Calypso Heights’ – customised Himalayas Mountain Tower with nine (yes nine!) towers and five slides, Play Galleon Plus, Play Ship, Loudspeakers, Canyon Bridge, Timber Joined Logs, Timber Net Bridge, Sleeper Steps, Bubble Tunnel, Boulders, Tree Trunks, bespoke Palm Trees, Lakeland Tables & Bigland Tables, Octopus Crawl Tunnel and a Shark Crawl Tunnel.
Using bright and colourful wet pour safety surfacing can really enhance and ‘bring to life’ a themed playground so we knew this would be an essential element of the design. Using a variety of colours, including different shades of blue, red, purple & orange, the design includes an array of animals found in the sea and along the coast. We also included wet pour mounds such as the octopus tentacles and ‘waves’ that children can follow and run along. These small features make a huge impact to the overall play experience. This wow factor surfacing was carried out by RTC Safety Surfaces Ltd who we have a close working relationship with. As always, they did a fantastic job & this surfacing alone will really capture the imaginations of visitors and encourage games & activities.
The Sea Life Centre held a number of events to mark the opening of Caribbean Cove. They brought hundreds of families to the Sea Life Park, both locals and holiday makers who were intrigued to see this transformation. It’s now already set to be a major attraction for local residents and visiting tourists alike.
It’s a great place for children to run off steam where parents can relax knowing they are perfectly safe. Such an exciting large ‘wow factor’ play area really makes such a difference at an attraction and can increase footfall dramatically.
A short anecdote to finish that we loved when we first heard! Head of Operations of the Park Rob Barr admitted that when he chose Playdale’s design as the winning one, he was concerned that they may experience the ‘McDonald’s effect’ i.e. the image you’re presented with to entice you to choose/buy something never looks the same as the end result! As it turned out he admits he had absolutely nothing to worry about because as you can see in the image below of our 3D proposed design next to the installed playground, never has ‘what you see is what you get’ been a more true statement!
If you are feeling inspired and would like to discuss any aspect of your play project with your local Playdale Area Manager, click here. We look forward to hearing from you.
N.B. – all aerial photography by Harbour Media
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