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Carolina Panthers' KidZone Opens

The Carolina Panthers' Play 60 KidZone at Freedom Park Charlotte, N.C. offers a number of NFL training camp-like elements, including an obstacle course with tackling dummies on springs, and a 40-yard dash that displays displays the kids' time.
Photo: Carolina Panthers, Melissa Melvin-Rodriguez

Photo: Cre8Play

Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation opened the new Carolina Panthers' Play 60 KidZone at Freedom Park Charlotte, N.C. on Sept. 10, 2013. This special activity space, near the park playground, features NFL training camp elements: an obstacle course; a 40-yard dash with an interactive digital timer that triggers sensors at the start and finish, then lights up the racer's official time on a score board; Play 60 photo booth and Pep Talk Station.

Cre8Play, based in Minneapolis, developed the concept for KidZone, and its representative, Cunningham Recreation of Charlotte, built it. The Pep Talk Station features custom sounds by Cre8Play, including positive messages, such as Cam Newton's, "Be smart, stay hydrated because you worked your tail off!" The "60" in the KidZone name refers to a campaign by the NFL to encourage children to exercise 60 minutes a day. The play zone elements are meant to challenge kids and have them work up a sweat. The obstacle course has tackling dummies on springs, up and overs and a running half-pipe inspired by American Ninja Warriors.

Funding for the $275,000 project was made possible by the Carolina Panthers Charities, along with an initial grant from the NFL in partnership with United Way. Carolina Panthers Charities reports it has awarded $7 million in grants and scholarships.

The county will maintain the zone, and a fund established by the Panthers will upgrade the site as needed.

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December 10, 2019, 7:59 pm PDT

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