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Children playing outdoor musical instruments at a colorful playground.

Parks and Recreation Trends For 2020

Are you ready to bring your community park or playground into the new decade?

Whether there’s funding for a recreational project in the near future or simply an interest in gathering ideas, look no further than here. With a dose of inspiration from the National Parks & Recreation Association (NRPA) annual trend forecast, we’ve rounded up the top five trends you can expect to see in your local community.

Find innovative solutions to create a recreational facility that guests will love for years to come. We can help turn your vision into reality!

5 Trend Predictions for Parks & Recreation in 2020

#1: Sustainability 

Health and fitness cannot come at the expense of fresh air and clean water. Ideally, your community’s gathering place will also help nurture the environment on which it is built. Incorporate sustainable design into your project by using:

  • Bike Loops: Help reduce the local carbon footprint by providing a safe place for cyclists to leave their bike. New building codes require these in many locations nationwide!
  • Rubber Surfacing: Both rubber mulch and poured in place (PIP) rubber surface use material from recycled car tires.
  • Recycling Bins: For guests who bring single-use plastics and other food and beverage items, it is helpful to offer a receptacle for both trash and
  • Water Play: If you are interested in adding a spray, jet or mister but concerned about wasting large volumes of water, a recirculating system can help by reusing the water supply.

Key Takeaway: Eco-friendliness is a priority for future generations. Your planning committee does not have to sacrifice quality or style to find solutions that are good for the environment!

#2: Technology

Two worlds collide! There are a variety of benefits to combining technology and the great outdoors. And we’re not just talking about Pokémon GO.

For example, our partners at TREKFIT offer a free mobile app that helps users find the most conveniently located park with its outdoor fitness equipment, along with a list of the equipment in each park and customizable workout plans.

Other recreational facilities have added “smart” features such as smart lights (which can double as a Wi-Fi node), smart benches with a solar powered USB charging dock, and interactive kiosks that provide information on weather and other local updates.

Key Takeaway: Smart tech can help you do more with less. Having the right technology available can also help enhance guest experiences – and ensure their phones are charged to take pictures while they play at the park!

#3: Animal-friendly Facilities

According to the NRPA, dog parks are currently the fastest growing type of park. It’s not hard to understand why! Our four-legged friends need fresh air and exercise, too, and it’s even better to enjoy the experience together.

Incorporate the animal-friendly elements of a dog park into your project with:

  • Turf: This durable, low maintenance surface has an antimicrobial effect for pet waste and other materials that can be easily washed off. Plus, it does not need fertilizer or pesticides, which can be harmful to animals.
  • Site Furnishings: Keep your greenspace clean with pet waste bag dispensers containing biodegradable waste bags.
  • Outdoor Fitness: Why not include an obstacle course that can be enjoyed by dogs and their humans? You can also get creative with animal centric community events, like a goat yoga class!

Key Takeaway: Pets are family members, too. There is an increasing demand for dog parks, particularly in urban areas, and a great opportunity to bring the community together in a fun (and profitable!) way.

#4: Accessibility

All children love to play. Unfortunately, a traditional playground can present many barriers for people with different abilities. That’s why our corporate partner, Little Tikes Commercial, offers a full line of accessible playground equipment that benefits ALL children – including those with assistive devices, such as a wheelchair.

The latest product from Little Tikes Commercial is the Quiet Grove, a calming and sensory-friendly area for a child to rest when they are feeling overstimulated. Contact All Inclusive Rec to discuss bringing a Quiet Grove or other accessible equipment to your playground or play area.

Key Takeaway: Inclusive design helps ensure everyone in your community will feel welcome. We have the partnerships and expertise to create a space that can be enjoyed by people from all walks of life. The more, the merrier!

#5: Customization

Cutting edge design and the right amount of creative flair can take any recreation project from ordinary to extraordinary. Make your park or playground stand out with unique, custom finishes designed to bring your vision to life, including:

  • Design Theme: Custom themes can help tie your project to the local community, like this inclusive playground in Missouri that was built to showcase a farming theme.
  • Shade Structures: It is essential for your project to include shelter from the elements, and USA Shade’s fabric shades are fully customizable: color, shape, size and design, including printed logos!
  • Play Experiences: Think beyond traditional playground equipment! Showcase a design theme with custom play experiences such as activity boards, obstacle courses, outdoor musical instruments and much more.

Key Takeaway: Your project isn’t one size fits all. All Inclusive Rec will help you achieve the special, one-of-a-kind design that will “wow!” guests and keep them coming back for more.

Stay Ahead of the Trends with All Inclusive Rec

All Inclusive Rec is passionate about delivering outdoor spaces that bring people together. Whether you are a PTO member interested in updating your child’s school playground, a landscape architect assigned to a public park project or even considering options that are several years down the road, All Inclusive Rec has the experience and expertise that will help make your project a success.

Headquartered in the suburbs of St. Louis, Mo., All Inclusive Rec has local representatives throughout the Midwest: including Missouri, Illinois, Iowa and Kansas. Find a local representative for your project to schedule a face-to-face meeting.

For general inquiries, submit an online request or call our main office at (573) 701-9787.

Looking for more? See photos from our recent projects.