Children’s Garden to Feature New Equipment for All

Children’s Garden to Feature New Equipment for All

Open play for all! Spinning, swinging and seesawing!

The Myriad Botanical Gardens will unveil new playground equipment designed for children with special needs in April. The equipment installation is made possible thanks do a $75,000 donation from the Thunderbird Telecom Pioneers, a nonprofit charitable organization that was organized in 1978 as the Oklahoma City Telephone Pioneer Council.  Members and their families will be in attendance as well as children from the Children’s Center Rehabilitation Hospital and Special Care. Officiating the “big reveal” will be Maureen Heffernan, executive director of Myriad Gardens.

“We are thrilled by this opportunity for children of all abilities to know the joy of play and of being outside to experience the Gardens,” Heffernan said. “The Thunderbird Telecom Pioneers have been wonderful community partners and we are honored that they chose the Gardens for such a meaningful legacy gift.”

The Myriad Gardens underwent an extension renovation as a part of Project180 and Devon Energy. Included in that renovation was a designated play area for children that balances active play with natural learning. Today the Children’s Garden has received more than a million visits since and is much loved by families of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma and across the country.

A peak at the WeSaw

About the new playground equipment

The AbilityWhirl has changed public open spaces by making merry-go-rounds accessible to children of all abilities, and this equipment is now used in hundreds of play areas, schools, hospices and hospitals. The manufacturer GL Jones is located in the United Kingdom.

The We-saw™ is a new take on the traditional seesaw. Its unique design and gentle rocking motion invites kids and families of all ages and abilities to participate in the fun.

The Arch Swing, pictured above, is a fun and accessible way to add swinging motion to your playground. The wide seating area accommodates up to five children and is constructed of durable steel with a soft rubber bumper. Children with Sensory Processing Disorder, or similar sensory issues, can lay across the center section and enjoy the calming to-and-fro motion. Children can also sit around the perimeter of the seat and enjoy swinging together.

Front row left side, Jan Brady, Janet Esser, Lonnie Austin, right side, Sylvia Bartemy, Shirley Pigg. Back row: Dave Bartemy, Dan Pigg, Virginia Treadway, Maureen Heffernan, Roy Taylor, Bill Reisman, Gary Tarkington.

About the Thunderbird Telecom Pioneers

The Pioneers have a long history of community service. Originally organized in 1911 with Alexander Graham Bell as its first member, the Pioneers are a national organization of volunteers who have donated their time, energy and talents to create and provide services, facilities, and innovative contributions for special needs of their respective communities. With the motto, “United we serve,” the Pioneers remain the world’s largest single industry volunteer organization.

The Thunderbird Pioneers is a nonprofit charitable organization that was organized in 1978 as the Oklahoma City Telephone Pioneer Council. The name Thunderbird was adopted in 1995 when AT&T split up the Bell System, separating telephone companies from the manufacturing and supply side of the telephone business. During the 43 years of manufacturing in Oklahoma City, more than 25,000 people were employed and eligible to become Pioneers.  

They have used their time and resources for a broad range of projects from renovating apartments for homeless families, building handicap access ramps at residences, to sending packages to servicemen in the Middle East, producing hug-a-bears to sooth child victims of earthquakes in California, planting trees in parks and in areas devastated by tornadoes, and upgrading and donating computers to schools.

On December 7, 2017, Pioneers presented Myriad Gardens Foundation with a check for $75,000 to purchase and install the playground equipment. The Foundation coordinated the installation and operation of this new feature for the Children’s Garden. 

“When telephone equipment manufacturing ceased at Oklahoma City in 2003, the Thunderbird Pioneers lost their source of new membership,” said Lonnie Austin, president of the Oklahoma City group. “So, the Pioneers began to search for ways to phase out operations and leave behind some legacy projects. We are happy to provide this first-of-its kind play equipment for children in Oklahoma City.”

SONIC Summer Movies 2018 Line-up Announced

SONIC Summer Movies 2018 Line-up Announced

SONIC Summer Movie Nights to Return June 20! 

Wednesdays at 9pm | #SONICSummerMovies

Presented by SONIC, America’s Drive-In! Join us each Wednesday on the Great Lawn for movies, activities, food and lots of fun. Thanks to SONIC, these movies are completely FREE. Come early to get a great seat. Bring a picnic or enjoy a sandwich or ice cream from Pitchfork in the Park. Blankets on one side, chairs on the other. Visit back to our website or social media each week for a list of activities of the week! 

Despicable Me 3

Spanish subtitles included

  • Wednesday, June 20, 9pm

After he is fired from the Anti-Villain League for failing to take down the latest bad guy to threaten humanity, Gru finds himself in the midst of a major identity crisis. But when a mysterious stranger shows up to inform Gru that he has a long-lost twin brother-a brother who desperately wishes to follow in his twin’s despicable footsteps-one former super-villain will rediscover just how good it feels to be bad. (2017)

Little Giants

  • Wednesday, June 27, 9pm

Ever since childhood, nerdy Danny O’Shea (Rick Moranis) has felt inferior to his brother, Kevin (Ed O’Neill), a former college football star. Danny runs a gas station, while Kevin coaches the local youth football team. When Kevin’s team rejects Danny’s daughter, Becky (Shawna Waldron), because she’s a girl, Becky convinces her dad to start a rival team, though the city can support only one. To prove himself against his brother, Danny begins coaching his team of misfits for a playoff game. (1994)


Paddington 2

  • July 11

Settled in with the Brown family, Paddington the bear is a popular member of the community who spreads joy and marmalade wherever he goes. One fine day, he spots a pop-up book in an antique shop — the perfect present for his beloved aunt’s 100th birthday. When a thief steals the prized book, Paddington embarks on an epic quest to unmask the culprit before Aunt Lucy’s big celebration.(2018)

Space Jam

  • Wednesday, July 18, 9pm

Swackhammer (Danny DeVito), an evil alien theme park owner, needs a new attraction at Moron Mountain. When his gang, the Nerdlucks, heads to Earth to kidnap Bugs Bunny (Billy West) and the Looney Tunes, Bugs challenges them to a basketball game to determine their fate. The aliens agree, but they steal the powers of NBA basketball players, including Larry Bird (Larry Bird) and Charles Barkley (Charles Barkley) — so Bugs gets some help from superstar Michael Jordan (Michael Jordan). (1996)


The Muppet Movie

Wednesday, July 25, 9pm

After Kermit the Frog decides to pursue a movie career, he starts his cross-country trip from Florida to California. Along the way, he meets and befriends Fozzie Bear, Miss Piggy, Gonzo and rock musicians Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem. When Kermit is offered a job by Doc Hopper (Charles Durning) to advertise the fried frog legs at his restaurant chain, Kermit turns Hopper down. However, Hopper refuses to relent and pursues Kermit and his companions to a final showdown. (1979)

Oklahoma! Sing-A-Long

Closed caption titles and sing-a-long included! 

  • Wednesday, August 1, 9pm

There’s a box social coming up, and Curly (Gordon MacRae) asks Laurey (Shirley Jones) if she’ll be his date. Trouble is, Laurey thinks he’s waited too long, and in a fit of pique accepts an offer from the boorish Jud (Rod Steiger) instead. Meanwhile, Laurey’s friend Ado Annie (Gloria Grahame) is also torn between two men: a cowboy named Will (Gene Nelson) and a foreign peddler, Ali Hakim (Eddie Albert). Both women struggle to know their own hearts before it’s too late.(1955)