When Harwood Park opens in 2023, it will include some neat mammoth-themed playground equipment. en Eyck Landscape Architects Inc.

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This Dallas Playground Piece Will Almost Be as Cool as the Heights Park Rocketship (R.I.P.)

A mammoth-themed playground at a forthcoming park in downtown Dallas will pay tribute to the region’s prehistory.

I wrote earlier this summer about the park-building boom in downtown Dallas. I’ll save you the click and give you the short version: The nonprofit Parks for Downtown Dallas is building a handful of city-owned parks downtown. The new parks that have debuted so far are pretty swell, and two more are on the way. This is good for Dallas.

That catches us up for what I want to talk about now, which is the mammoth-themed playground at the forthcoming Harwood Park, where crews will break ground later this year. Designed by Ten Eyck Landscape Architects Inc., it will be a tribute to the prehistory of North Texas and the mammoths that walked the earth here 100,000 years ago. On its blog this week, Parks for Downtown Dallas shared a rendering (above) and did a fun interview with Perot Museum paleontologist Ron Tyoski, who says:

Mammoth fossils turn up frequently across the region, from isolated parts of their huge teeth, to chunks of tusks, to isolated bones, or even nearly complete skeletons. Take a drive down to the Waco Mammoth Site National Monument and you’ll see skeletons of a small herd that died in a steep-walled section of the Bosque River.

During the building of Dallas, multiple skulls and partial skeletons of the animals turned up in the sands and gravels of the ancient terraces of the Trinity River.

When it’s finished, this mammoth playground should rate pretty highly among cool-looking playgrounds in North Texas. I should say that I’m not sure what the other contenders are these days, though. I grew up loving the rusty old rocketship slide at Richardson’s Heights Park, but that was dismantled in 2008. “Safety concerns.” A sculpture paying tribute to the rocketship playground piece was dedicated at Heights in 2013. It’s all right. But kids can’t play on art.

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