Several outdoor eating amenities respond directly to that need. Picnic tables and outdoor barbeque grills pepper the park’s landscape. Of even greater import are two central buildings that house food and recreational options. “The Lodge” offers indoor fireplaces, open rooms for inclement weather, and an informal beer garden nestled beneath a grove of trees. Downstairs is a country store that holds, in Gates’ words, “everything you would imagine in a country store”: ice cream, kites, and fishing lures for the nearby pond. The Boat House, located near the pond, is the second central building. This multi-level structure accommodates a restaurant and open-air pavilion on the top floor, with kayaks and canoes underneath.
Four and a half acres are dedicated to the playground alone, which includes 45-foot-tall lookout towers, bridges, and activities appealing to children of all ages. But the most exciting development—especially given Tulsa’s roasting summers—might be the water park area, which “is really more of a water garden,” said Gates. Dams, a water labyrinth, and jumping jets are all standout features, enhanced by a unique interactive feature that requires children to physically engage with the park in order to initiate water play.
What makes MVVA’s design especially unique, however, and what Chris believes won them the competition, are the two 300-foot-long land bridges that seamlessly transition over two roadways that bisect the park. The bridges incorporate earth and plantings so that the roadways do not interrupt the continuity of nature. “It’s like you never leave the park,” said Chris.
The bridges also connect to two landmasses that push out onto the waterfront, thereby creating more real estate and maximizing on the park’s natural resources. A Gathering Place currently has $59.5 million in backing from seven major donors and is slated for completion in late 2017.