Toucan’s Hideaway is a hidden gem located at Turtle Splash Park on the West side of Chicago. Since 1972, the West Chicago Park District made it their goal to live up to its mission statement, stating, “Creating an enhanced quality of life through effective programs, progressive facilities, and preservation of parks and natural resources in a fiscally responsible manner.” The park district did just that when they decided to give their playground a new look. Toucan’s Hideaway is a unique (kid-approved!) custom playground and splash pad set inside the West Chicago Park District’s Turtle Splash Water Park.
The idea to repurpose the playground area came after renovating the water park located next to the play area. The park’s new adventure began in June of 2018 when Toucan’s Hideaway opened up to the public after taking close to two-and-a-half years to complete. Eriksson Engineering Associates, Ltd. (EEA) worked with Hitchcock Design Group as a civil engineering subcontractor. EEA provided grading and utility design, including water services to the splash pads and misters and draining the subsurface of the playground and in-ground trampoline.
Toucan’s Hideaway provides the ultimate adventure for all children. The multi-level playground includes a spacious area for outdoor birthday parties, a splash pad, toddler-sized splash pad, an in-ground trampoline, shade areas for gathering, resting, and observing. Additionally, the playground includes rock climbers that spray mists of water, especially on hot days, ground-level play activities, and a tower of vertical nets for climbing. Toucan’s Hideaway was created in hopes to teach children creativity and problem-solving skills. The park includes multiple skill levels so that it gives children a new experience each time they visit. When creating the park design, it was a priority to provide exceptional access for those with a disability; The park district worked with the Western DuPage Special Recreation Association to make sure the park could be utilized by all children no matter the circumstance. Lastly, there were over 3,000 plants and flowers added to enhance the swamp aesthetic.