Magical Bridge Foundation

Founder and Visionary, Olenka Villarreal with her younger daughter, Ava, who is the inspiration for Magical Bridge Playground.

In January 2016, Magical Bridge Foundation was formed to bring truly inclusive and innovative Magical Bridge Playgrounds to select Bay Area communities. Regardless of ability, disability, size or age, everyone plays at Magical Bridge.

Nearly 20% of our population is living with a disability, and yet playgrounds are still not designed to meet the unique needs of everyone in our community. Since its April 2015 opening in Palo Alto, California, Magical Bridge Playground has received visitors from around the world interested in replicating our groundbreaking playground model in their communities. This ongoing enthusiasm underscores the urgent and global need for play spaces designed for everyone.

Led by Magical Bridge Playground founder and visionary, Olenka Villarreal, and co-founders Jill Asher and Kris Loew, the formation of Magical Bridge Foundation is responding to the global needs for innovative and inclusive playgrounds. We are pouring years of research, fundraising, development, design, and construction strategies into building Magical Bridge Playgrounds in select communities. In the future, Magical Bridge Foundation plans to expand Magical Bridge Playgrounds beyond the Bay Area.

If your community is interested in a building a Magical Bridge Playground, please complete this form.

It all started with a playground.

The vision for Magical Bridge was born when founder Olenka Villarreal discovered her younger daughter, Ava, had developmental challenges. She learned that vestibular movement, such as swinging, would benefit Ava, but her limited upper body strength made holding the swing chains impossible. It wasn’t long before Olenka discovered her hometown of Palo Alto, California could not provide the most basic aspects of play for her daughter. She wondered where all of the other “special” kids were playing. After extensive outreach and research, she was amazed to discover that despite Palo Alto’s good intentions, not one of its parks is truly accessible.

Olenka joined the Board of the Friends of the Palo Alto Parks in 2008 and decided to make a difference for a forgotten subset of the community. With the encouragement, generous guidance and land donation from the City of Palo Alto, a vision emerged. After seven years of research, design and fundraising, Olenka and her small team of volunteers were able to build this remarkable playground — where everyone can play. Located in the heart of Silicon Valley, Magical Bridge Playground has been heralded as the nation’s most innovative and inclusive playground — one that has redefined play.

Magical Bridge Foundation, a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, seeks to enrich new communities with a Magical Bridge Playground. Please let us know if you would like to be a part of our journey!