Zahra playground opens Saturday

The Zahra Baker All Children’s Memorial Playground opens Saturday in Hickory.

Community residents, Hickory city staff and special guests all help dedicate the playground at 11 a.m. Saturday at Kiwanis Park at 805 6th St. SE in Hickory.

About 300 community volunteers helped build the playground in three days earlier this spring. Since then, city staff has been putting the final touches on the playground, which will be accessible to all children regardless of ability.

The playground honors Zahra Baker, the 10-year-old Australian girl whose brutal murder in 2010 ignited one of the strongest displays of community support in the area’s history.

Kiwanians and the community raised more than $200,000 for the state-of-the-art playground.

The structure features swings, slides, a music station, multiple tree houses and monkey bars — all of which will be accessible by wheelchair ramps and specially designed stairs.

The base of the playground will be covered in a rubberized, “pour and play” surface that is safe and easily maneuverable by all children.

The area also features a memorial plaza that will house a permanent etching of Zahra’s face with the words “Zahra, you touched us” printed next to it.

The plaza also lists the names of donors to the playground.

At the event Saturday, members of the Kiwanis Club of Catawba County will serve hot dogs, hamburgers and popped kettle corn.

The event also includes a variety of activities and entertainment.

For more information on the Zahra Baker Memorial Playground visit,