On the 69th birthday of Efteling – the fairytale theme park in the south of Holland, the opening of Nest! playforest was celebrated with a modest party.
Nest! is a new place for children who are too small for the big rides, located in the exciting Ruigrijk area of the theme park. Efteling’s newest addition was opened under the watchful eye of a school class, media and park visitors.
The children in attendance were able to discover the dragon tower, which houses a slide themed as a dragon’s tongue and a wheelchair accessible slide. They played to their heart’s content on the playground waterbed and explored the large sea ship. The playground equipment in the play forest is surrounded by an 80 metre-long wooden board walk, which is wheelchair friendly.
To make Nest! playforest accessible and suitable for all children, Dutch theatre creator and wheelchair athlete Marc de Hond and Foundation ‘Stichting het Gehandicapte Kind’ were consulted as experts in accessibility for children with disabilities.
“We can now safely state that Nest! playforest is a place where all young adventurers can play together, develop and prepare for their first roller coaster experience. The playforest, which has lots of familiar elements from the big roller coasters in the area, is an important addition for the youngest visitors of the amusement park. For Efteling, it is a next step in the field of accessibility. Personally, I am also proud of the place inside the playforest where children can retreat for a while, where there are fewer stimuli due to specific choices in colour and theming. My favourite part of Nest! is the take-away on a terrace from where parents can watch their children having fun,” says Efteling CEO Fons Jurgens.
Marc de Hond and his family enjoyed the Efteling theme park for years. His visits to Efteling inspired him to write an inclusive fairytale in which children with disabilities play the leading role: The Saviours of Ruigrijk. This story is now available as a reading and (tactile) picture book and an animated video with sound description. Up until his death in June 2020, Marc de Hond was closely involved in the realisation of both Nest! playforest and the creation of the books. The new fairytale The Saviours of Ruigrijk can be watched in English on the Efteling YouTube channel: www.youtube.com/watch?v=5fQxXITBbAc
The Saviours of Ruigrijk
Once upon a time, there was a boy with a big dream. Rutger wanted to be the toughest knight on the island of Ruigrijk. But Rutger could not walk and was in a wheelchair. He liked to go out with the girl next door, Ella, who could not see. Together they practised to become knights. One day, they find themselves standing face to face with the dragon Naga, who had the inhabitants of Ruigrijk in his grip. Together they go into battle! Will they manage to save everyone?