In a modern world where entertainment is so often technologically driven, yesterday we had a reprieve. The Xbox was yanked from the wall and Netflix would have to wait. We were going to Brownstone Discovery Park. To put this place into perspective, imagine a playground like no other. It’s one of the most unplugged places I have ever seen and no one is complaining. In a frame of a few hours, my kids jumped off of huge walls, zip-lined into a beautiful water-filled quarry, climbed rock walls, trampolined with a huge splash and got catapulted too.
The park is situated in the middle of an industrial park, so it’s beauty in truly unexpected. Walking into the park, you are met on all sides by giant cavernous walls. The contents of the giant hole were once hollowed out over the centuries until brownstone reached its peak as a building material in the late 1800’s. It was quarried until the flood of 1936 and the hurricane of 1938 made the space unable to mine. It sat collecting junk cars in its depths over the years making it an eyesore. In 2007, the space was reborn.
Brownstone’s renaissance happened due to a creative mind and a relentless industrious process. This version of Rome wasn’t built in one day. In fact, the process has been slow and steady over the years. Seeing it transform since our very fist visit years ago has been nothing short of amazing. Upon walking into the park, the kids eyes became as big as saucers as they were treated to a view unlike any other. They grabbed their life jackets and the fun began.
I can imagine that envisioning the success of this sort of place was a big risk. It goes against the typical big box store mentality. In fact, that’s why I like it so much. We live in a time when we know what’s in the aisle of a store before we even enter its doors. The world had become predictable and life has a way of trying to be dull. People need to rediscover the capabilities of their physical and inventive selves. We are often passengers of a very well traveled ride. Brownstone takes us out of that mindset. Here, we seem to become our own vehicle for adventure. Any outcome is of our own volition.
The people here seem to be happy too. As the visitor blissfully plays, they are carefully watched and safeguarded. The employees seem to work in pleasant tune with each other throughout the day while ensuring the safety of their visitors. They act as guidance counselors as timid jumpers peer over the zip line field. They are the heart of this place.
We left tired and happy that we were slathered in sun block all day. The world needs more places like Brownstone. Its benefits outweigh the risk in creating such enterprises. One leaves with his or her imagination open and energized. Families and friends can bond here via the physical contest Brownstone provides. The quarry playground achieves its goals because it’s not afraid to be outside the box. This enlightened playground pulls its visitors outside the box too. We’ll be back soon for more inspiration.