UPDATE: The park will reopen on March 25 because of cold weather, not the date originally expected.
ORIGINAL STORY: The science playground at Sugar Sand Park, which has been closed for nearly two years for renovation, will reopen to the public Saturday, March 18, officials from the Greater Boca Raton Beach and Park District announced Monday evening.
The March 18 opening is a “soft opening in time for spring break,” said Briann Harms, assistant director of the beach and park district. It will be followed by a ribbon-cutting ceremony and grand reopening on Saturday, March 25 at 10 a.m.
The ribbon-cutting ceremony will coincide with a food truck invasion event, Harms said. More details on the event are expected to be released Tuesday.
The $1.5 million playground renovation has been underway since 2015. The beach and park district, a taxing body that oversees several beaches and parks in and near Boca Raton, refurbished the aging, wooden playground and made it accessible to people with disabilities. The playground, which drew more than 300,000 visitors per year when it was open, is the centerpiece of the city’s 132-acre Sugar Sand Park complex at Palmetto Park Road and Military Trail.
The park features interactive educational elements, like racing lights that shoot past children at the speeds of different animals, a path of planets in the solar system and images of DNA and animal prints on the rubber playground floor.
The lengthy project was delayed in its final stages as construction crews worked to balance safety and the preservation of parts of the playground built by volunteers in the 1990s. The district aimed to keep much of its original wooden structure, built and funded by some 7,000 volunteers in 1995, including a giant wooden face carved into the side of the structure that has become emblematic of the popular playground.
Those elements were retained, while the original wood in several portions of the playground was replaced for safety.
Check back for more details on the grand opening.