If you have visited the Forest Ramble nature playground at Lakeside Gardens, you would probably have spent some time at the Snake Play area with its tall, wood-and-metal tower.
Inspired by the Paradise Tree Snake
Rising up above the sandy ground, the Snake Play tower is designed to look like a tree and it beckons kids to climb up its tower. The way up is by a set of wooden stairs which “snake” around a central trunk.
Surrounding the tower are climber plants. These are the Aristolochia leuconeura, a host plant for the caterpillars of the Common Rose butterfly and the Cats Claw Ivy, named for its claw-shaped leaf tendrils. As these plants grow, you will find them surrounding the central Snake Play tower more and more.
Climbing up the tower mimics the actions of the Paradise Tree Snake as it scales trees. However, this is not the hidden secret at the Snake Play area.
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How Many Slides Do You See?
If you look at the Snake Play tower, there are multiple tubes which lead down from the top back to the ground below. Two of these have a gentle bend and zipping down the slides also mimics the actions of the Paradise Tree Snake.
The third steel tube features a one-and-a-half turn loop.
When at the playground, you can often hear parents calling out to their children, “Stop climbing up the slide!” as the kids enter this third tube from the bottom of the tube.
And that is the secret of the Snake Play tower – this third tube is not a slide at all. Instead, it is a climbing tube.
Peeking inside the slide, you will notice that there are climbing grips, just like what you would find on a rock climbing wall.
These provide footholds and handholds that children can use to scale their way up the climbing tube. The climbing tube acts as an alternative, and more challenging, way for kids to “snake” their way up to the top of the tower.
Personally, this was the first climbing tube that we have come across in a playground.
So now you know. If you see kids scurrying into the curved tube at the Snake Play area, they are not being mischievous, they are just following instructions – and having fun through play, snake play!