Wicksteed Park – the home of children’s play – has marked the opening of its latest attraction by completing the world’s biggest game of snakes and ladders, where sliding down a snake involved braving an eight-metre vertical dropslide.
The game was played to mark the launch of the park’s new Snakes & Ladders attraction, with children also having to climb real life ladders each time they landed on the appropriate square.
The Snakes & Ladders attraction, which is housed inside a 40ft high building, comprises ladders, wooden tunnels and ramps to give adventurers of all ages the chance to make their way to the top in a variety of different ways before braving the freefall slide.
Wicksteed Park Managing Director Alasdair McNee said: “The aim of the park is to encourage children to get out of the house and show them that there is a world of fun and adventure out there.
“So what better way to do that than to experience the thrill of going up a ladder or sliding down a snake.
“The excitement of climbing or the trepidation of shooting down the giant dropslide is exactly the kind of natural children’s play Charles Wicksteed wanted to encourage.”
Wicksteed Park, Kettering, was founded in 1921 by Charles Wicksteed, who invented the modern day slide and swing, as part of his vision to inspire and encourage play as part of families’ health and well-being.
The beautiful 147-acre country park combines rollercoasters, rides and attractions with the tranquility and relaxation of an historic grade II country park and a nature reserve run by the Wildlife Trust.
The park has been transformed by a £3million project, supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, and has a whole host of new attractions, including a lakeside beach and walkway.
Also new for 2015 is the Wickys Play Factory indoor interactive play area, the Woolloomooloo walk-through aviary, a sand and water play area and new lakeside features made out of natural materials to encourage children to climb and explore.
The park has also recently launched one of the UK’s tallest and longest zip wires – RUSH.
RUSH has a top speed of 40mph, is as high as a six-storey building and 310metres long and comprises three zip wires to allow families and friends to take the plunge together.
It also includes a Leap of Faith, allowing people to dive from a 10 metre high platform with only a support harness to break their fall and a 14metre climbing wall.
In his 1928 book, A Plea for Children’s Recreation after School Hours and after School Age, Charles Wicksteed outlined his ethos on children’s play when he said: “I have good reason to believe that the park I have formed has changed the lives for the better, to a greater or lesser extent of thousands of children.
“I have direct evidence from mothers how whining, pale-faced children, complaining of any food they get, have come back with healthy faces and rosy complexions, ready to eat the house out after a good play in the playground.”