Outdoor recreation might not be the first thing that comes to mind when people think of The Market Common, which is best known for its food, shopping and entertainment offerings. But directly across the street from the Myrtle Beach shopping and dining complex, visitors will find Grand Park, a recreational area featuring ponds, walking paths, athletic fields, playgrounds, a roller hockey rink, a gymnasium and more. And now, a recently introduced Grand Park feature represents a dream come true for a family long determined to create a special-needs park that all kids can enjoy together.
The dream started with Myrtle Beach native Savannah Thompson, now 19, who was born with a neurodevelopmental disorder called Williams Syndrome. Over many years, Savannah has been in and out of surgery, but she has never given up that sparkle in her eyes. Many who know her say her personality and smile can brighten anyone’s day.
The fulfillment of her dream - Savannah’s Playground Enabling Park, which was unveiled at Grand Park this past Labor Day - has been quite a crowd pleaser among the children who have visited since its opening. The city of Myrtle Beach decided to create this playground so that all children, including those with mental or physical challenges, can play with other kids and feel included.
Savannah’s Playground includes a challenge ropes course where kids can do a modified version of zip-lining, an area full of swings, traditional playground areas for smaller and bigger kids, and a musical playground area with wind chimes hanging from the trees and drums built into the ground. There also is a waterfront area where visitors can go fishing, take a paddleboat ride or splash around in a mini water park full of sprinklers and fountains perfect for cooling off on a hot day!
Studies have shown that dogs provide comfort and mood benefits when presented to children with developmental challenges, so on certain days, therapy and service dogs are brought to the playground to comfort and play with the kids in attendance.
For more information about Savannah’s Playground, visit savannahsplayground.org. Guests at the Dayton House Resort can stop by Savannah’s Playground during their visit to The Market Common, which is located about 15 minutes south of the oceanfront resort. After you’ve had your fill of shopping, dining and playground fun, return to The Dayton House to enjoy our modern amenities and comfortable accommodations — we love being your home away from home in Myrtle Beach!