New Exhibition Premiers in San Francisco on April 6

The Extraordinary Playscapes Exhibition Will Run Through July 8, 2017

San Francisco (March 29, 2017)— Design Museum San Francisco, Playworld, San Francisco Recreation & Parks, and the San Francisco Public Library are pleased to announce the opening of Extraordinary Playscapes, an exhibition featuring over 40 pioneering play spaces from around the world, at the Main Library’s Fisher Children’s Center on April 6. Curated by Design Museum Foundation, the exhibition explores the latest thinking in playground design while presenting how vital free play is to childhood development, thriving communities, and social equity. From towering treetop playgrounds to hand-knit crochet installations, visitors will discover how architects and designers worldwide are engaging diverse communities to translate play objectives into state-of-the-art and meaningful play environments.

"Our goal is to connect San Francisco to the free play movement through an exceptional public exhibition about the design of playscapes,” says Sam Aquillano, Executive Director of Design Museum Foundation and co-curator of the exhibition. “There are so many examples of extraordinary playscapes in the world, and we’re hoping to inspire people of all ages to get outside and play.”

Among the many sites on display, the exhibition will feature: a project that reimagined a scrapped ambulance as a children’s hospital playground in Malawi, Africa; examples of how Danish design integrates nature and play; and innovative play-centered design happening right here in San Francisco. As an interactive experience, Extraordinary Playscapes includes playable installations, videos, scale models, and hands-on elements for viewers as they explore the art, history, and science behind the world of play.

“San Francisco Public Library is excited to host this exhibition that celebrates play spaces around the world and recognizes the importance of play in children’s lives,” said City Librarian Luis Herrera. “With actual play equipment being brought in, this is an exciting installation for the Main Library and truly reimagines 21st century child-friendly library spaces. We encourage families from throughout the neighborhood and across the city to come and interact with this exhibit and the new PlayCubes in Civic Center Plaza.”

The program also includes a “Playground Passport” that can be picked up at the exhibition and at select local playgrounds highlighted in the exhibition. The passport will highlight amazing spaces for play around San Francisco, including a new installation of PlayCubes — a modular playground by Richard Dattner, Architect and Playworld — as part of the exhibition at Civic Center Plaza. Through support from San Francisco Recreation & Parks and the San Francisco Parks Alliance, PlayCubes will be open for play while the plaza’s permanent playgrounds are under construction. “The San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department works hard everyday to ensure that kids have clean, safe, fun places to play and grow,” said San Francisco Recreation and Park General Manger, Phil Ginsburg. “We are thrilled to partner with the Design Museum Foundation to celebrate the joy and importance of play,” said Ginsburg.

Playworld has partnered with the Design Museum Foundation on the Extraordinary Playscapes exhibit since 2015, bringing new play areas to both Boston, MA and Portland, OR. "The importance of outdoor play in the formation of a healthy childhood is well documented. Playworld is committed to providing beautiful and relevant play spaces. PlayCubes by Playworld inspires play for a wide age range, and can help you easily design for play in public spaces and in the route of travel for families. The popularity of PlayCubes and the Extraordinary Playscapes Exhibit in Boston, MA and Portland, OR shows us the beginning of a new playground revolution" said Missy Benson, a Play and Design Specialist for Playworld. “The installation of PlayCubes on Civic Center Plaza provides an exceptional opportunity to encourage millions of visitors to venture outdoors and experience a play space integrated with exceptional design,” said Benson.

Extraordinary Playscapes, free and open to the public, is on view from April 6 - July 8, 2017 at the San Francisco Main Library’s Fisher Children’s Center. The exhibit opening will be held at the Main Library on April 6th, 6:00pm. The exhibition will then travel to Chicago, IL through 2017.

Additional Program Events:

June 22, 6:30pm: UNITE: Why Play? A panel discussion on the importance of play, featuring: Dr. Stuart Brown, National Institute for Play; Phil Ginsburg, San Francisco Recreation & Park; Gwen Gordon, Gwen Gordon Play; and Missy Benson, Playworld.

June 24: Kid’s Workshop — A child-driven community event where kids can get creative, collaborate, and design their own playgrounds. For more information about programming and events related to Extraordinary Playscapes, visit


About Design Museum San Francisco: At Design Museum San Francisco we believe design can change the world. Done well, it can elevate our quality of life, make businesses more competitive, and protect our environment. Design awareness, education, and expertise are more important now than ever before as design continues to impact communities, organizations, and markets around the world. Design Museum San Francisco is redefining what it means to be a museum in the 21st century — we're online, nomadic, and accessible to all through a network of exhibitions, events, and content. Our mission: Bring the transformative power of design everywhere, to inspire a world full of creative problem solvers. For more information visit

About Playworld: Playworld is a division of PlayPower®, Inc. Playworld believes The World Needs Play®. Play is vital to everyone’s health and well-being. It’s something you are never too young or too old to enjoy. We develop playground environments where creativity is king, belly laughs are welcome and children make the rules. Playworld’s equipment and surfacing are designed to unleash the transformational power of play so bodies grow stronger, children play safely and imagination can take flight. For nearly 50 years, Playworld has created innovative, inclusive and meaningful outdoor play experiences for all ages and abilities. For more information visit

About the San Francisco Main Library, Fisher Children’s Center: The Fisher Children's Center provides a variety of services, exhibits, and programs to promote children's enjoyment of literature, media, information and recreational reading. The Center is for children, parents, childcare providers, educators, individuals and researchers. For more information visit

About San Francisco Recreation & Parks: The San Francisco Recreation and Park Department’s Mission is to provide enriching recreational activities, maintain beautiful parks and preserve the environment for the well-being of our diverse community. Today the department, overseen by the Recreation and Park Commission, administers more than 220 parks, playgrounds, and open spaces, including two outside the city limits. For more information visit