From the groundbreaking to the grand reveal, the journey of our Gigglebark Tree has been nothing short of magical. Who could forget when our Mayor, Council, and some staff members turned into kids? As the Gigglebark stands tall in Downtown Duluth, we can’t help but wonder if its magic will return them to their grown-up forms. Join us on a whimsical journey as we revisit the magic of the Gigglebark Tree through the eyes of our kid Mayor.
In 2022, the City of Duluth invited Gwinnett County residents of all ages to submit drawings of their dream pieces of playable art for the Playground Design Contest. Among the 175+ entries, designs ranged from sea creatures to tree houses, pirate ships to crash-landed satellites, and musical instruments to giant animals. with the youngest artist to participate being just three years old! The Duluth Public Art Commission faced a fun yet challenging task of analyzing these submissions and selecting the top nine. The Mayor and Council, used these top nine designs to determine their top three winning selections in July of 2022. Ultimately, the winning design, submitted by Lyn-Nell Huffman, was inspired by a willow tree, and it became the foundation for the creation of the Gigglebark Tree.
The Gigglebark Tree playground is a visually stunning combination of several trees. It boasts the colorful bark of a Eucalyptus, the twisting roots of an Overcup Oak, and the swaying branches of a Willow Tree. What sets this playable art apart is the inclusion of a slide winding around the trunk and a root system with steps and tunnels. To add a touch of enchantment, the willow-like branches will illuminate the playground, creating a magical ambiance for all who visit.
The Gigglebark Tree Playground is an extension of the existing Taylor Park playground in Downtown Duluth. While it’s always bittersweet to say goodbye to old trees, some of them had to be removed due to disease, and their tendency to drop branches and pecans, making them unsuitable for a children’s play area. However, the City is committed to maintaining the natural beauty of the area. Now that the playable art is complete, the City will work with an arborist to plant new, safe trees once the playground is complete.
During the interim period as the new trees grow and provide natural shade, the City has install shade sails around the playable art, ensuring that visitors can enjoy the playground even on the sunniest days. Permanent mounted lighting is also in the works to replace the temporary ground lighting.
Thank you to Bliss Products & ID Sculpture, companies known for their innovative playground designs, for bringing the winning submission to life!