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Bible Story Playground

September 30, 2010, 10:00 PM by Don Jorgensen

Bible Story Playground
PARKER, SD - It's not often playgrounds make the news, but there's a unique one in Parker that's not only making the news, it's getting national attention.  It's not for the size of the playground, but rather the stories behind the equipment where recreation meets religion.

It's not your typical children's playground. 

"It was an idea I felt like the Lord put on my mind three years ago and it's one I really tried to find out if this is really worth it," First Baptist Church pastor Aaron Kilbourn said.

Its unique equipment is what grabs everyone's attention. 

"People drive by on the highway and one of the comments we got is, 'Oh, a miniature golf course connected to the church.'  No, we aren't a mini-golf course; it really is a playground," Kilbourn said.

The Bible Story Playground was built last year by volunteers from the First Baptist Church in Parker. It cost roughly $30,000, but they used a lot of recycled materials. 

"We had people who were talented.  Everyone in this congregation helped make this; they knew what they were doing," Kilbourn said

Each piece of playground equipment you see here: the whale slide, the Goliath statue, or the kid climbing Ten Commandments, all are stories from the Bible. 

Kilbourn says a playground is another way kids can learn about the Bible, along with going to church or Sunday school. 

"They also learn by interacting and playing.  I knew that myself growing up.  Why not build something that will help," Kilbourn said. 

New to the playground this year is a sound system. You push a button to play a short Bible story at each piece of playground equipment. 

"These stories are some of the most well known stories to kids, even kids who may not ever go to church.  Stories people growing up may have heard a piece of here and there and people can identify with Daniel in the lions den or Jonah and the whale," Kilbourn said.

The Bible Story Playground has been recognized online by the Huffington Post as one of the top ten playgrounds in the country. No small feat, considering there are over 80,000 certified playgrounds in the country.

The playground is fenced in and there are rules posted for kids to follow; supervision is a must. But it's open to anyone and everyone, not just First Baptist Church members. 

"Kids of all ages two on up would feel comfortable coming here and bring your family and enjoy it, listening to the stories, but also just having a great time. We're proud of this and kids love it when they come," Kilbourn said.

Because playgrounds are meant for fun, but at this one, kids truly are in heaven.

The Bible Story Playground is dedicated in the memory of Dorothy Eichle, a long-time school teacher and church-goer in Parker, who they say had a heart of gold for kids.

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