With warmer weather arriving and more vaccines rolling out, locals are venturing out to our local parks. Now, families can enjoy a re-imagined playground in the heart of downtown.
Discovery Green unveiled a $2.3-million John P. McGovern Playground on March 22, which doubles the current amount of play space, adds ample seating, encourages evening play, and adds extra shade courtesy of 31 extra trees.
The playground is located on the green’s northwest corner (bordered by La Branch and McKinney Streets) and is part of the Discovery Green Conservancy’s $13.3 million master plan project, according to a press release.
For the youngest visitors — ages 2 to 5 — the new Mendez Play Space boasts nearly 15 pieces of equipment to encourage fitness and creativity, a play hill, as well as a concrete bench that serves as containment and seating for caregivers.
Older kids can jump on a rope course near the park’s popular interactive Gateway Fountain as well as equipment aimed at improving strength and agility.
This new Mendez Play Space is named for David Mendez, former chair of the Houston Endowment board of directors and VP at JPMorgan Chase.
Design was spearheaded by Hargreaves Jones Associates, with consultation by landscape architect Lauren Griffith and Gandy2 Lighting Design, and construction by Forney Construction LLC.
As Discovery Green visitors will recall, construction of the new playground started in August 2019 and was completed in August 2020. But the COVID-19 pandemic forced the completed project to remain behind construction fencing as playgrounds across the city were closed. Expect the playground to be bustling – especially on weekends.
“Discovery Green is vital to Houston as a vibrant and centrally located meeting space where visitors from inside—and outside—the beltway can interact with one another and learn about the diverse traditions that coexist in the city,” said Discovery Green Conservancy president Barry Mandel in a statement. “We are very excited that our littlest patrons will now have this improved play space to explore and enjoy.”