Uptown Christiansburg Mall Play Area

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Uptown Christiansburg Mall Play Area

Christiansburg, VA All Indoor Themed

Uptown Christiansburg — formerly the New River Valley Mall — is a shopping destination nestled between the Blue Ridge mountains and the New River in southwest Virginia. The facility, owned and operated by RockStep Capital, is home to over 40 specialty retailers, chain stores and eateries.

It’s also home to a unique play space called Lily’s Playground. The area honors Lily Robertson, a local child community member who suffered from a rare terminal illness called metachromatic leukodystrophy (MLD). MLD is a genetic disorder affecting the nervous system, and it carries a life expectancy of just five years.

When the MOMS Club of Christiansburg heard about Lily’s condition, they knew they wanted to do something to honor her memory and keep her spirit alive in their community.

Play That Warms the Heart

The MOMS Club identified the need for play space in the town’s mall and raised funds to bring it to completion. Through various efforts, the group collected more than $85,000 to complete the project. It called on Soft Play® to help, and our team was honored to be part of such a moving and uplifting project.

The Vision

Soft Play and the MOMS Club of Christiansburg collaborated on a themed indoor play area. Motifs are a popular design approach that can help enrich educational adventuresadd to a brand’s experience, or reflect an area’s location and history.

The group chose a woodland theme, bringing to mind the town’s mountainous surroundings.

The Challenge

Soft Play undertook the project with the challenges of designing and manufacturing a play area with whimsical forest elements. The space needed to be inspirational and demonstrate a playful spirit — just like Lily. Because Lily’s disorder required her to use a wheelchair, the Soft Play team also wanted to ensure an inclusive and accessible experience for kids of all abilities.

The mall and the club’s leadership had agreed Uptown Christiansburg would assume the play space’s ownership upon completion, transferring the area’s maintenance responsibility to the shopping center. Soft Play committed to providing rugged play components with simple upkeep requirements.

Uptown Christiansburg Playground Equipment From Soft Play

Soft Play provided multiple sculpted foam elements for Lily’s Playground, including:

  • A butterfly: These animals were among Lily’s favorites. The butterfly sits at ground level and features bright colors to attract attention and provide visual stimulation.
  • Flowers: We incorporated low-height flower clusters that serve as stepping stones. These elements allow kids to practice their balance as they cross.
  • A bunny: Like Lily, rabbits have a reputation for being affectionate and playful. Our bunny sculpture invites climbing interaction to support healthy muscle development.
  • A turtle: The soft sculpted foam turtle lets toddlers engage with tactile exploration. It sits low to the ground for easy climbing accessibility.
  • A bridge: The Soft Play bridge element promotes curiosity. Kids can explore over-and-under concepts and challenge their problem-solving skills.
  • A tree centerpiece with a tunnel: The highlight feature at Lily’s Playground is a tall tree reflecting the forests bordering the town. A tunnel runs through the center so kids can explore new paths to other play space areas.
  • A log tunnel: Our log sculpture also boasts a tunnel. Kids learn bilateral coordination by crawling through it and balance by climbing on it.

The MOMS Club of Christiansburg also opted to include interactive game panels from Soft Play. These panels fit into the enclosure walls of the play area, allowing kids to practice cognitive and social skills as they learn to take turns and manage emotions.

Each Soft Play element is durable and manufactured to withstand high volumes of for a lasting investment. They require minimal upkeep, so it’s easy for the mall to maintain them and further extend their life spans.

The Results

Club leadership was impressed by how easy Soft Play was to work with, the kindness of our certified installer and the community’s support. By the end of the fundraising campaign, the town’s MOMS Club exceeded its original goals. It used the excess to commission a mural from a local artist honoring those who donated to make the space a reality.

Lily’s Playground celebrated its grand opening with free kids’ activities, unstructured play, food and live music. Over 400 people attended the event, reinforcing the community’s support and the need for the play space. Today, the area continues to offer an indoor play space for younger kids to engage in fun and physical activity while serving as an ongoing tribute to Lily. It remains a popular and beloved attraction for young families in the Christiansburg area.

Create a Special Play Experience With Soft Play

Soft Play can help you make extraordinary play experiences a reality regardless of your space size and budget — we’ve been doing it successfully since 1984. Our team drives results with proven in-stock concepts and creates custom play pieces for unique needs.

Contact us online to request a quote or reach out to a representative for custom-designed solutions.

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