Adventure and Artistry with Luckey Climbers

Those two words–adventure and artistry–capture the legacy of Tom and Spencer Luckey, too.  The utterly unique, and very recognizable, Luckey climbers were an early feature here at Playscapes,  back when Tom was still living.  He and his son Spencer had for some time worked together on their design-builds, even after Tom was paralyzed in a fall in 2005, and now Spencer is taking their net-encased climbers literally to new heights…witness the ‘infinity’ climber that has just opened at the Jersey City Liberty Science Center, the first suspended climbing play space of its kind.

21,000 pounds, and 64 platforms–which can hold up to 50 players at once!–are cantilevered off the wall of a three-story atrium, offering kids (and grown-ups, who are also welcome) a truly thrilling experience.  I’ve talked before here about the concept of ‘feel-risky-play-safe’  It’s the idea of creating play spaces where kids can experience the thrill of risk and the triumph of conquering their fears, in a design that creates the *perception* of risk without the *reality* of it.  The Luckey climbers do this brilliantly.  They’re incredibly safe, and yet climbing on them induces a feeling of height, and challenge, and danger.   Luckey also does an excellent job of varying the spacing between and around the platforms, so that kids have to step and stoop differently throughout the climbing experience, providing a great motor skills experience.

Always busy, Spencer has also recently opened a dragon-inspired climber in Belfast for W5 science and discovery center,  and my personal fave–the neural climber for the Brain Exhibit at the Franklin Institute. I do love a science overlap on the playground.   My nanotechnology start-up has survived its first year, thanksforasking.

[photos via and Luckey climbers]


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