IRMO, S.C. — Leo's Landing is a playground at Saluda Shoals that fosters inclusion, friendship, and understanding among children and adults of all ages and abilities. On Thursday, the park founders held the grand opening of the newly expanded playground.
Co-founder Adam Bugenski said the playground is now three acres and provides more activities for attendees.
"The biggest, the baddest zip line that you could put into a playground is here," Bugenski said. "We've got our Hobbit Village here, we've got a tree that's got animals engraved and carved. We've got a musical arch where you'll be able to play with sensors, create music, engage, and interact."
The playground opened in 2019. The idea came when Bugenski's son, Leo, was was just one-year-old, and the family went to Saluda Shoals Park. During that walk, the Bugenskis noticed a need for a space made for all children to play to together.
"To build a place where, no matter your age, no matter your ability, you feel like this playground is designed specifically for you, that's when you know that you're in a community that you belong in, that appreciates you, that loves you," Bugenski said.
Leo's Landing was such a success in the Midlands, bringing people from all over the state and surrounding states to Saluda Shoals Park, the family decided to expand their park in 2021.
The expansion was funded by private donors.
Mark Baker, the Director of Saluda Shoals Park, said this project was a community effort.
"The first section was awesome," Baker said. "There’s a lot of things that we did and there was something things that we still wanted to do, and Leo’s Pride came to us and said, ‘Hey, we think we could make this a possibility.’ and in a very quick amount of time, they did. Now, here we are."
Leo's Landing is open year-round, from sunrise to sunset.