FCM Outdoor Playground

The Fairbanks Children’s Museum, a non-profit family community resource, provides nearly 40,000 annual visitors a space where education and play coexist to spark creativity. The museum has created an indoor environment for young children and families to explore and create together in the former Woolworth building in downtown Fairbanks. The mission of the FCM is to connect and inspire families through discovery and the power of play. Playing allows children to interact with others, learn, explore, and communicate.

The staff of the FCM hopes to repurpose an ugly and dangerous alley into a creative space for outdoor recreational activities to take place. We have a stretch of concrete that includes the width of three lanes, the length of our building, utility boxes, and a long rock-strip between the curbed pavement and a small wall.

This alley has also served as our main entrance since the children’s museum opened in January of 2015. Until recently, drivers have been able to use the alley as a short-cut, posing a danger to families entering and leaving the museum.

The City of Fairbanks has granted us several concrete planters as traffic barriers to help create a safe zone for this enclosure. While it does address the safety issue, we would like to create a vibrant and colorful outdoor location for our guests and summer campers to freely play.

Our hope is to turn the rock-strip into an interactive natural river rock playground, where children can practice climbing, building, and balancing. We will be adding additional materials and outdoor exhibits that will welcome families to pause and play outside, whether or not they intend to visit the museum that day. By painting the existing concrete for running, skipping, and racing prompts, children will interact with each other in a creative outdoor playground. With painted concrete, additional play materials, and an interactive rock river playground, FCM will be able to provide a simple and interactive community area.

Funded by Alaska (June 2017)