Now entering a playful city!

Missoula's designation as one of KaBOOM!'s 2009 Playful Cities was formal recognition of what Missoulians have always known about the Garden City - it's a happy, healthy place to live!

Missoula Wins Playful City USA Award

In 2009 KaBOOM!, a national non-profit organization, confirmed what many Missoulians already knew to be true – Missoula is one of the most Playful Cities in the nation.

Playful City USA is a KaBOOM! program with a goal to ensure that every child in America has a great place to play within walking distance. The program looks for communities that demonstrate creative commitments to play in the areas of quantity, quality, and access. Missoula – one of only 93 Playful City USA communities and the first community in Montana to achieve the designation – fit the bill in all three areas.

Missoula’s dedication to play and accessible play spaces set it apart from other communities across the state and nation. Plans to develop new sidewalks to connect low income housing to the YMCA and community parks, as well as create a finder map for Missoulians to get information on where to find play spaces, helped show the community’s commitment to play in the Garden City.

It wasn’t just Missoula’s dedication to accessible play areas and its plans for the future that earned the city national recognition. Missoula Parks and Recreation Director Donna Gaukler doesn’t think Missoula would have attained Playful City status if it weren’t for its citizens.

Gaukler states, “We Missoulians prioritize healthy living each day by engaging in active fun, be it at Splash Montana, A Carousel for Missoula, a concert in a park, our wonderful museums, and other attractions, or even enjoying a hike on open space. We believe wellness is holistic, and play is the avenue to a healthier community and economy, as well as healthier and happier children. Thank you, Missoula, for being playfully healthful.”

While Missoulians have enjoyed a wealth of vibrant play spaces for many years, the city has now achieved formal recognition for its playful spirit and the many places that make play accessible and fun in the Garden City.