The Hillcrest School, up in upper Rockridge/Broadway Terrace, has a beautiful campus with gardens, trees and this play structure.
I wish it were real rocks. Of course the artificial outcrop is good for encouraging unstructured play, confidence using one’s body and all the rest. The lessons it teaches will serve the kids well as they move on to indoor climbing walls and other safe amusements. But I cherish grit, lichens, little holes with secrets inside, moss, roughness that scratches to get your attention. I favor visual texture, variegation, the presence of minerals in their cryptic typicality, the possibility of fossils. I want kids to explore wild rocks in wild places, even if it’s only a roadcut or a vacant lot. I think these kids deserve a real, local knocker, the kind their neighborhood abounds in. We have enough fake rock in our Disneylands and along our freeways.