The mission of the Courtney’s SandCastle Charitable Foundation is to ensure that the Courtney’s SandCastle Universal Playground provide every child in our community fun and interactive play opportunities regardless of their abilities, while improving the quality of life; and foster diversity awareness, compassion and acceptance.
The vision of the Courtney’s SandCastle Charitable Foundation is to partner with local organizations and businesses which will provide programs and activities at the Courtney’s SandCastle Universal Playground to fulfill our mission.
Courtney’s SandCastle Universally Accessible Playground
Courtney’s SandCastle is a free public universal playground, which serves children of all abilities, and is especially designed for children with physical, mental and sensory disabilities. Courtney’s SandCastle is named for Courtney Faye Smith who has been confined to a wheelchair because of a rare muscular degenerative disease – Spinal Muscular Atrophy. When Courtney and her friends visited local parks together, she was unable to participate because of her disabilities as are some 18,000 other children in Orange County with disabilities. Courtney’s family friend, Lori Shelton, envisioned a park in Orange County for children with special needs. With her son Spencer Shelton-Jenks by her side they named the park inspired by their friend Courtney.
The San Clemente Junior Woman’s Club, the San Clemente Beaches & Parks Foundation, the City of San Clemente came together in 2004 to design and build a universally accessible playground. It was originally planned for Richard Steed Park in San Clemente, but is now part of the Vista Hermosa Sports Park & Aquatics Center. The playground was designed by Richard Fisher (who built many of the West’s premier universally accessible and traditional parks), and Summers/Murphy & Partners Inc.
Providing outdoor areas with sensory stimulation can encourage mental development, health improvements, emotional growth and social integration, in addition to increasing the learning motivation of a child. Research has also confirmed that outdoor play areas are important as a foundation for the education of children with special educational needs and with whom they can assist in reducing aggressive behavior and bullying.
The Playground Structures Include:
* A simulated 500-square foot castle themed play structure, with sloping wheelchair accessible ramps
* A simulated 150-square foot ship themed play structure, with a stern wheel and talking tubes
* Climbing Rock
* Swings equipped with bucket swings
* Picnic Pavilion
The Sensory Garden Includes:
* A sensory garden with aromatic plants, bushes and plants
* A musical pathway, producing auditory stimuli
* Several interactive water features (floating granite water sphere and a raised interactive simulated tide pool)
The playground is a Free Public Playground – No Fees unless renting the playground for parties or events, and is open from 6:00am-10:00pm daily. For information on utilizing the playground for a party or event, contact the San Clemente Recreation office at (949) 361-8264. Click on Park Rental Policies to obtain the Park Rental Policies and Application.