Vibe: A creative atmosphere for unstructured play
Drive time: Located just north of the Twenty Ninth Street Mall at 2525 Frontier Ave., Boulder
TIP: Due to COVID-19 restrictions, check the website or contact firstname.lastname@example.org to make a reservation before visiting throughout July; space is limited. The Junkyard Social Club hopes to open the outdoor adventure playground to the public on Fridays from 4 to 8 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. by September. Hours will expand to seven days a week once the coffeeshop is fully operational by 2022. Adults are admitted for free; kids are $10.
Working alongside fellow artists, dreamers, and outside-the-box thinkers, Jill Katzenberger, founder of the Junkyard Social Club, is striving to reimagine what play looks like—for adults and kids alike.
A former program developer for the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, Katzenberger hopes that her out-there endeavor—a gathering place that’s equal parts playground, maker space, coffee shop, art center, and theater—will help creativity and fun to flourish. “We’ve been thinking about how we can create a space that is comfortable for all ages,” she says, “that’s inspiring in terms of artwork and decor with lots of outdoor space so the kids can get noisy, but also having a classroom maker space for focused activities for all ages.”
Choose Your Own Adventure
Walk through the coffee shop/lounge to the outdoor area where the adventure playground awaits. There are the two wooden play structures dubbed the “cubicles” (one larger structure for bigger kids, one smaller for littles) that are meant to be climbed, but the way kids climb is up to them. A series of ropes and pulleys allow kids to haul water. The entire space is designed to be what Katzenberger calls a “non-conforming playground that doesn’t assign what you’re supposed to do.”
Staff Who Think Differently
Junkyard Social Club staff members (called “provocateurs of play”) will be on hand to not only monitor the children’s well-being, but also to instigate playful moments. They might give kids a challenge to turn the cubicles into a town or to build a boat out of a plastic bottle, spoons, and rubber bands. “It’s an opportunity for families and people of all ages to play,” says Katzenberger, “and for play to look like different things.” junkyardsocialclub.org