Discover Nature’s Way to Play

Welcome to our inaugural post! Starting today, we're launching a series of articles exploring our nature-inspired Water Journey™ experience.

In the coming weeks, we'll be unveiling three exciting new additions to the product line right here! Leading up to the reveal, we're going to use these first few posts to explore the principles that guide our design process and make Water Journey™ so unique. We'll delve deep into Water Journey's play-value and break down the many elements that contribute to a child's social, emotional and cognitive development.

Along the way, there will also be interviews with the bright minds behind these aquatic play designs. We'll chat with a designer and a landscape architect about the creative process as well as explore some of the hurdles communities and private waterparks experience when tackling new aquatic constructions. In short, we've got lots of ground to cover—let's dive right in!


Nature's Playground

Before getting into the nitty-gritty, let's step back to when nature's playground was the only splash pad, play pool or spray park we ever needed. It's here, amid Mother Nature herself, where Water Journey's new design philosophy was conceived.

Skipping stones on a summer pond, being the king or queen of the mountain, running next to a rambling stream—we all cherish these simpler times. In nature's playground, we'd manipulate the elements to create our own little universes. As children, immersing ourselves in nature taught us a whole lot about play and gave us a deeper understanding of how the world around us works. 

Nothing would stimulate us more than the shapes and textures nature provided us with. And of all these dynamic elements, water was always the most powerful: it was splashed, poured, dammed and used to float objects. We'd value its rich and varied sounds, textures and reflections. Water stirred our imagination. We were drawn to its fluidity. It shaped and moved and danced very much like our young, developing minds.


A Question of Access

Now that we have children of our own, we want them to learn and flourish from the same nature-centric experiences we had when we were younger. But for many of us city-dwellers, getting our little ones in touch with nature requires long drives reserved for every other weekend. Moreover, obvious hazards (questionable water quality, accessibility concerns, etc.) make it more difficult for this young generation to explore natural waterscapes safely and autonomously.

Responding to this modern-day nature deficit, splash pad and waterpark designers have tried to replicate natural water formations in safer, more accessible environments. More and more, we're seeing increasingly interactive water playgrounds that better capture the dynamism of nature and the way it moves.


Shaping the World Around Us

Yet while these newer aquatic play spaces do a better job at mimicking nature's fluidity, they're nevertheless still missing a certain open-endedness that makes creeks, streams and ponds so special. All too often, these facilities are engineered with singular objects that perform singular tasks—something that runs contrary to how the natural world works. 

Nature doesn't just move us; we move nature. We tear a leaf from a tree to run it down a stream. We snap twigs and mold mud dams. Recognizing the power of nature and, in particular, water's mailability is what prompted Vortex's aquatic designers to develop Water Journey™. Modeled after the way the world around us flows and bends, Water Journey™ is a family of unique play events that invite children to manipulate their surroundings like they would in the great outdoors.


A Natural Solution

Inspired by natural streams, jets, tides and cascading mountaintops, Water Journey™ offers different play elements that reshape and shift directions depending on how children interact with them. Accessible to all ages and abilities, these ground-level events provide worry-free spaces for parents to step back and watch their children collaborate, compete, problem solve and learn something new. Water Journey™ nurtures a child's inquisitive instincts in the same way the natural world does. Little ones respond with deeper engagement, longer visits and bigger smiles!


What's Next? Get the Updates and Find Out!

In our next post, we'll showcase all four of the current Water Journey™ solutions, tease our three new products and zero in on the many shape-shifting features that make this family of aquatic solutions different.