With the recent addition of the historic Bachman-Wilson House, Crystal Bridges has become an architectural destination as well as a destination for art and nature. Now the Museum plans to add yet another level excitement with the installation of giant “slip and slide” feature for the summer of 2015 and further plans for full scale water-park attractions for the following year.
The museum is getting in on the recent giant slip-and-slide craze that is coming to cities around the country this summer. The giant slide to be installed at Crystal Bridges will run from the Additional Parking lot down the curving Museum Way to the Museum’s main entrance, with additional runs down the drive to the lower parking area and a shorter, steeper runs from the site of the Bachman-Wilson House into the South Lawn. Though these installations will be temporary, they will only be a warm-up act for the main attraction to follow in 2016.
The Museum officials are in proposal stages for designs that will enhance existing architecture with a series of “architectural waterslides” connecting the surrounding landscape with the Museum ponds and lawn areas. Concepts in the works include a spiral flume from the existing Rock Ledge Trail into the North Lawn area, which will be expanded to include a plunge pool and lazy river feature. Also being considered are slides from the Overlook area into the lower pond and a rapids-style slide that will wind down the ravine near Crystal Spring, with views of the Bachman-Wilson House and the South Lawn, before plunging into the upper pond. Another thrill ride will be the “Skull Crusher,” that will take daring kayakers through a set of rapids designed to simulate the challenging rapids at Arkansas’ Cossatot Falls, through the entire Museum pond system.
A hang-gliding ride from the elevator tower was also under consideration, but powerful updrafts through the ravine were found to cause the gliders to be blown off course into the nearby wastewater treatment plant.
Crystal Bridges’ existing architecture was actually the inspiration for the project. After seeing several geese sliding from the curved roof of the restaurant bridge, Museum officials began to discuss the idea of adding slide features from the roofs into the ponds. This concept blossomed into the creation of a full-scale water park, designed by top architects to combine fun, nature, and architecture. Crystal Bridges will be the first museum in the world to offer this unique combination of activities.
“I for one am getting my floaties and rubber ducky ready to go,” said Executive Director Rod Bigelow. “I can’t wait to belly flop all the way from the Buckyball to the LOVE sculpture!”
April Fools! You can leave your bathing suits behind, but we hope you come visit Crystal Bridges soon!