It was a labor of love that brought close to 200 local kids and community volunteers to build a playground from the ground up in northeast Bakersfield at the California Living Museum.
"There are more than 13,000 children that come to this zoo every year as well as the family free days and the playground was old, very outdated,” said Katie Allen, PG&E spokesperson. “So we really thought what a fantastic opportunity to come here and bring life to the playground equipment here and totally transform this area."
Volunteers put together each part from the slides to monkey bars. PG&E donated more than $85,000 for the playground construction. After two months of planning and taking down designs from local kids, the group put the entire project together in one day.
"It’s a high level of organization and also just a high level of eagerness,” said Josh Carlson, project manager for Kaboom. “It takes 200 cubic yards of mulch and eager volunteers willing to put in the work all day long to make this happen."
It happened with the help of employees of Kern County Superintendent of Schools. They rolled up their sleeves and got dirty.
"It’s just something that I believe in, CALM is wonderful and the playground will be a great asset for it,” said Mary Alice Means, a retirement technician for the Kern County Superintendent of Schools.
Chris-Michael Tena from Tehachapi carried woodchips and helped build the slide.
“I didn't really know how it would come together in an afternoon, in a morning,” Tena said, “but it's coming together with all these folks."
By late Saturday afternoon, all the volunteers’ hard work came to fruition.
“Even though we're working really hard, and we're going to be really tired at the end of the day, it's going to help a lot of kids, and it's going to help the whole zoo," said Gillian Halkola, an 11-year-old volunteer.
Kids have to wait at least two days before they can use the playground. It will also have a garden and sand box.