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Antao Group: Blend in perfectly with its surroundings, Erhai Children’s Science Activity Park is well received by the local people. The project successfully proved that a children’s park can be organically integrated with local characteristics, ecological education, art, and culture, and become an urban infrastructure incorporating the functions of an art gallery, natural museum, and popular science center.
▽大理洱海生态廊道儿童科普乐园鸟瞰图 Aerial view of Children’s Science Activity Park Dalierhai Ecological Corridor
At the foot of Cangshan Mountain and on the shore of Erhai Lake, there lies Dali Erhai Ecological Corridor. However, the overexploitation of tourism resources has resulted in severe environmental problems. To restore the environment, relevant departments have taken a variety of measures to repair and govern the lakeside buffer zone, with a view to establishing a harmonious relationship between humans and the lake.
In 2020, the Dali Municipal Government invited us to construct a project on ecological diversity education in Dali Erhai Ecological Corridor. That’s when our cooperation began, and we embarked on designing and creating such a park at the entrance of the corridor.
▽大理洱海生态廊道 Dalierhai Ecological Corridor
Endowed with the natural resources of Cangshan Mountain and Erhai Lake, Erhai Natural & Science Edutainment Park attracts tourists with its famed biodiversity. We hope to present the story of ecological civilization and local climate characteristics with the landscape, enable people to get closer to nature, and raise their awareness of environmental protection, so that they will cherish and care more about the ecological environment, and the ecological value of Erhai will be further upgraded. Meanwhile, it also seeks to explore a new pattern of urban children’s parks, creating a unique ecological entertainment center for the city.
从自然出发 Nature-oriented Design
We draw inspiration from the geographical relationship between Cangshan Mountain and Erhai Lake. With the concerted efforts of landscape designers, product designers, sculptors, installation artists, popular science experts, ecological restoration experts, mechanical experts, and waterscape experts, an unpowered exploration base that fuses with the surrounding environment was created, in which local biodiversity and scientific knowledge are presented in various ways.
▽AHA · 乐园方案鸟瞰图 AHA · Aerial view of the project
We push the design of landscape scenes, science content, and art amusement equipment to a higher level based on the core concept of nature and science, present the topography of Cangshan Mountain and Erhai Lake in the original ecological state, simulate the local water cycle story with amusement devices, and restore indigenous species with interactive art installations. In this way, the park guides children to experience the laws of nature, understand the local ecological species and distinctive rainwater cycle system during their close contact with nature, in the interaction with amusement equipment, and in the parent-child exploration. That’s how it combines education with recreation.
▽洱海自然科普乐园门票Ticket of Erhai Children’s Science Activity Park
苍山洱海的故事 The Story of Cangshan Mountain and Erhai Lake
Cangshan Mountain is connected with Erhai Lake with the belt of water that is flowing cyclically and endlessly. Water in Erhai turns into clouds after evaporation, which drifts to the front of Cangshan Mountain with the wind, and accumulates into clouds, then rains. In the 19 Peaks of Cangshan Mountain, a stream is formed between every two peaks, which are the so-called 18 Streams. The Cangshan rain rushes down along these streams and pours into the Erhai.
▽洱海水 Erhai water
The entire park is designed as the “scaled-down version” of the ecological water cycle of Erhai Lake. In the storyline of “water→clouds→Cangshan→18 Streams→Lakeside Buffer Zone→Erhai”, the environment, animals, and plants there are simulated by bionics, so as to guide children to learn about nature and explore nature in recreation.
▽连续的交通流线创造出奔跑和游戏的体验 Continuous traffic flow creates a running and gaming experience
The Children’s Science Activity Park contains four major sections: “Play with Water in Nimbus”, “Explore the Secret of Erhai”, “Mysterious Land of Rocky Beach”, and “Dreamlike Forest”. The continuous traffic flow creates a never-ending running and game experience, allowing people to freely explore in different sections and spaces. This path is like a clue in a story, connecting a series of spaces with various functions, meanwhile adding into the story of Cangshan Mountain and Erhai Lake with the surprises of discovery and the experience of growth.
01云溪戏水 Play with Water in Nimbus
“Play with Water in Nimbus” simulates the process of Cangshan Clouds turning into rain and rainwater flowing along with the 18 Streams to the distance.
We present the clouds of Cangshan in the form of art installations, combined with pneumatic leaves and digital water curtains, thus creating a nimbus effect with a mass of vapor.
▽仿生自然苍山云·风动装置 Bionic natural Cangshan clouds · pneumatic device
▽苍山云化雨落入人间 Clouds and rains from Cangshan Mountain fall into the world
▽夜色下的雨幕，你发现雨中的字了吗？ The rain curtain at night, did you recognize the words in the rain?
▽在苍山云下追寻快乐 Having fun under the Cangshan clouds
It is designed to be as ethereal as the real clouds. At night, it is a cloud that lights up the sky, while during the day, it is a cloud that drifts with the wind. In the production process, we used perforation, wind tunnel, and other methods to show its vibration with the wind, and individually customized it to display the misty and moisture effect.
Water is accessible, tangible, and touchable. The designer cleverly integrates various water elements into the amusement equipment. You can enter the Numerical Control Rain Corridor and interact with it. It also gives children an interactive experience with ever-changing water as they play with various amusing widgets, water gates, and different styles of jump fountains.
▽嬉戏于溪水间，仿若穿行于十八溪间 Play among the brooks, as if walking through the 18 Streams
▽水原来这么有趣 Water turns out to be so interesting
▽洱海的蛙、鱼、海螺化身跳泉与孩子们快乐戏水 Children happily play with the water from fountains with the shape of frogs, fishes, and conch
Walking through the water curtain and cloud corridors, one can catch a glimpse of the ecological water cycle system of Cangshan Mountain and Erhai Lake, experience the most intuitive miniature ecology in the rain pouring from “Cangshan Clouds”, and participate, experience, and perceive the magic power of nature in a playful way.
02洱海探秘 Explore the Secret of Erhai
Here, water elements are leveraged to design the interactive equipment, which enables children to feel the magic of nature and explore the origin of life in the process of playing with water.
“Fantasy Drifting” adopts the elements of mountains and water. We designed the creatures in the 18 Streams into miniature landscapes and fused them into the streams.
▽置入微景观，在“奇幻漂流”中看见洱海生物的多样性 In the micro-landscape, the biodiversity of Erhai is vividly displayed in “Fantasy Drifting”
▽一起去探索洱海的奥秘吧 Let’s explore the secret of Erhai together
▽俯瞰“洱海探秘” Overlooking “Explore the Secret of Erhai”
The water flows down to the “Conch Square”, where there is a huge “square snail”. Unlike the round snails we usually see in other places, this kind of snail, once a local species, is now all but extinct. We made this extinct species into installation art.
Children can make their way into the square snail, listen to the sound of Erhai, and feel the gradations of light and shade between the mirrored spaces. They can also interact with the story of square snails, as well as how they came into being and disappeared.
▽进入到方螺的腔体之中，聆听海的声音 Enter into the cavity of the square snail and listen to the sound of the sea
▽海螺带来孩子们喜爱的童话故事 Children listening to the fairy tale that the conch brings
▽山海童年 Childhood experience linked with mountains and sea
Frog, Fish, and Conch jump fountains offer immersive and interactive experiences for children, meanwhile presenting the aquatic life of Erhai to them. Incorporated with lightness and vigorous momentum, the jumping fountains enhance the interactive relationship between people and scenery, and that among people, delivering a continual source of delight.
▽“玩水”是孩子们的天性 “Playing with water” is the nature of children
▽比一比谁让水跳得更高 Let’s see who makes the water jump higher
▽水为什么会从下往上走呢？边玩边体会 Why does the water go from bottom to top? Find out the answer during playing
The Archimedes Waterwheel provides children with a chance to explore “water”. In repeated operations, children can use their brains to discover and master the hidden physical principles of the device. The water flows slowly through the trails to multiple paddling nodes, where children can gain knowledge of water science while playing with water.
03梦幻森林 Dreamlike Forest
Setting foot in the “Dreamlike Forest”, one seems to turn into an insect exploring the wilderness of a mushroom jungle from a microscopic perspective—a novel world of amusement.
There are huge Amanita subfrostiana and Amanita virosa, separated by winding plank roads. Children can run freely in the mushroom jungle and discover many hidden plank road entrances.
▽化身童话精灵，穿梭于梦幻丛林之中 Become a fairy tale genie and travel through the fantasy jungle
With natural mushrooms serving as the carrier, the jungle crawling, jungle crossing, double slides, twisting ladders, mushroom swings, circular climbing buckets, and other projects are connected in series. Children play and run freely in the beautiful scenery.
▽蘑菇传声筒记录下孩子们的欢声笑语 Mushroom megaphones record children’s laughter
▽生长的蘑菇游戏设施 Growing mushroom play facility
As night falls, in the fun dreamlike forest, one can listen carefully to the sound recorded by the mushroom megaphones—the sound of nature, and it says that we are all children of nature.
04石滩秘境 Mysterious Land of Rocky Beach
Sand is a natural attraction for children. We set up a large area for children playing in the sand so that children can form an initial cognition of the natural temperature, humidity, texture, and law in the process of playing, transporting, and digging sand, and experience the fun of nature.
▽挖沙、运沙、担沙、建造，请叫我小小建筑师 I can dig, transport, and carry sand and use sand for construction. Do you see the future architect in me?
We have also installed climbing nets and fun devices for sand digging in the sandy area. The beetle equipment and wooden equipment simulate the natural world of Erhai. The inner space of the beetle unleashes children’s nature by a variety of play methods. Giant wooden insects draw closer the distance between children and ecology.
▽这个挑战小菜一碟 This challenge is a piece of cake
Across the path, the butterfly tower stands on the gravel beach. There are real “butterflies” in the butterfly tower that can dance with children as they run. When the wind blows, the butterflies on the branches flutter with the wind, glittering with silver.
▽蝴蝶塔里藏着小挑战等待被小勇士征服呢 Hidden challenges are set in the butterfly tower, waiting to be conquered by our little warriors
▽在乐园中探索、奔跑、欢笑 Explore and run in the park rang with cheers and laughter
▽听，蝴蝶在和我讲悄悄话呢 Listen, the butterfly is whispering to me
There are all kinds of challenges hidden in the butterfly tower designed with natural elements such as Erhai butterflies, waiting to be conquered by our little warriors. Passing through the single-plank bridge and climb the plank road to reach the highest point of the butterfly tower, one can appreciate the mountains and the sea with the butterflies.
结语 Concluding Remarks
Our original intention was to create a distinctive ecological science edutainment park that can inspire children to explore science knowledge while having fun and promote their interaction with nature.
With natural science edutainment at the core, we polish every detail repeatedly, and carefully lay out every inch of space. The wall is designed as a popular science wall. Through a magnifying glass, one can perceive the real creatures in Erhai, as if entering the world of Alice in Wonderland and The Borrower Arrietty.
▽动动手，发现更多奥秘 Use your hands to discover more mysteries
▽仔细观察，领会大自然的神奇 Observe carefully to get the magic of nature
▽每一处细节，都有隐藏的“彩蛋” There are “surprises” in every detail
We try our best to achieve the greatest respect for the original environment: preserve the original trees, integrate the drainage system, and present fun content with natural forms and simple materials. Without using excessive exquisite processing, we adopt primitive materials and their true colors. After countless attempts, explorations, and adjustments, we strive to present the purity in children’s hearts.
The Children’s Science Activity Park is not only blended with the surrounding natural environment but also well received by local children and parents, becoming a bridge connecting ecological civilization and urban infrastructure. Not only do children gain joy and inspiration here, but the city is also re-defined by its embellishment.
Every city has its unique heritage and style. We hope that through our refinement and interpretation, we can exhibit the different charm of parks with the city imprint.
摄影师：大理风戈摄影 / 沉璧视觉
Project name: Children’s Science Activity Park Dalierhai Ecological Corridor
Completed year: 2021.5
Project area: 8,677 square meters
Project location: Erhai Corridor Scenic spot, Dali City, Dali Bai Autonomous Prefecture, Yunnan Province
Design Company: Antao Group
Company website: www.antaogroup.com
Contact email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Chief Designer: Min Zhan
Design team: Chaolei Shen, Yishu Yin, Xianling Shao, Daini Zheng, Xintuan Lv, Xueyu Zhang, Liu Yang, Zheng Shen, Kui Hu, Liang Xu, Bojian Wang, Mengyi Xu, Ye Zhang, Wen Sun, Lanlan Bao, Jie Sun, Zhengyi Sheng, Shijun Fang, Chao Chen, Yuhang Pan
Client: YUNNAN CONSTRUCTION AND INVESTMENT HOLDING GROUP CO.,LTD.
Photographer: FG Photography Studio / Chenbi Photography Studio
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