Mason McBride, 2, and his grandfather Armando McBride enjoy the new playground in Weaver Park.
DUNEDIN – Across from St. Joseph’s Sound, as far west as you can drive without hitting water, a new playground shines among the trails of Spanish moss.
In hues of greens and browns, the playground boasts slides, seesaws, shelters for cookouts and a free library, everything you could want for at a day at the park.
The playground, which was funded by a $200,000 donation from the Dunedin Youth Guild in memory of Nan and Tom Moffatt, officially opened on Aug. 1, complete with a ribbon cutting and barbecue.
“Weaver Park was the original home of Dr. (Willis) Blatchley, who studied insects and nature. His home is even on the national registry,” said Lanie Sheets, the Dunedin Parks and Recreation superintendent. “We wanted a playground with an environmental theme in Dr. Blatchley’s memory.”
Nikki Hunter brought her daughters, 6-year-old Reese and 3-year-old Zaylee, to the park after spending months watching the construction.
“I think right here was a phenomenal idea,” Hunter said. “Any park by the water is a good location.”
The park is split into two sections, Sheets said, with the southern half created for children ages 2 to 5 and the northern half for children ages 5 to 12.
“We want there to be something for everyone here,” she said.
Seven-year-old Mikayla Solis wanted to try all the slides, but was slowed down by R.J., her 1-year-old brother.
“He’s little so he can’t do everything,” Mikayla said, “but I’m going to try without him.”
The park also features a free library where kids can borrow a book from the hatch and then return it, or a different book, next time.
Emma Beatty, who said she couldn’t pick a favorite series between Harry Potter, Percy Jackson and the Hunger Games, couldn’t find anything she hadn’t read yet, but she wasn’t giving up.
“I’m going to make my mom bring me back,” the 9-year-old said. “I’m always looking for new books.”
In his introduction, Parks and Recreation Director Vince Gizzi heralded the park as a destination playground.
“It’s fun and attractive and still blends in with nature,” he said. “This playground has been the talk of the town.”
The Dunedin Youth Guild Playground is open daily from sunrise to sunset and is built for children ages 2 to 12.