Mia's Dream Come True Playground

ComeTrue

Mia's Dream Come True Playground was inspired by the courage, strength, and vision of Hayward's Vasquez-Lacayo family. Mia Vasquez was born with a severe form of Cerebral Palsy and wasn't expected to live beyond her first birthday.

Mia defied the odds, and by age 10 was a strong young girl who especially enjoyed being outdoors and on playgrounds. In 2016, after seeing how many parks were not build to accommodate children like Mia, the Vasquez-Lacayo family approached the Hayward Area Recreation District with a playground sketch and a $5000 gift from Make-A-Wish Greater Bay Area for a new, inclusive playground for Mia and for children of all abilities. 

After hearing the Vasquez’ story and the importance of inclusion for all of our residents, the HARD Board of Directors unanimously approved Mia’s Dream Come True Playground.

With tremendous contributions from the HARD Foundation, Alameda County, Kaiser Permanente, Eden Health District, the City of Hayward, Hayward Rotary Club and other major funders, HARD opened one of the most unique and universally accessible parks in the Bay Area.

Every aspect of the park was built inclusively, with design features for people with a range of abilities. There are several different types of swings for a variety of needs, including disc, belt, toddler, harness, and wheelchair accessible options. Further, the park features several types of slides, including roller, wheelchair, and wide slides. Several types of spinner features such as ground-level spinners and a manual merry-go-round ensure that anyone may use them, while a ground level see-saw, wobbly bridge, and ground-level trampoline make sure that children are able to play or co-play together regardless of ability. There are mist features, a shaded reading area, music features including a ground-level touch-activated piano, and a sensory wall. Further, there are state-of-the-art accessible exeloo toilets, handicap parking near the entrance, multiple seating and picnic table options, and ramps throughout the park to major attractions and activities.

While the park offers many special and inclusive design features, the Vasquez family’s love of HARD and Hayward is truly what makes the park so unique. Elements of iconic Hayward landmarks and history are built in throughout the park and the inclusive design, including a fire truck donated by the Hayward Fire Department, a Water Tower emulating the cannery tower, and references to the Hayward Shoreline, Sulphur Creek Nature Center and the Hayward Airport. Various structures in the park were fabricated by the same company who has done projects for The Walt Disney Company, Merlin Entertainments and Universal Studios. A large tree structure in the middle of the park was designed by Andrew Johnstone, the project lead for the annual Burning Man Earth Project. Finally, the landscaping of Mia's Dream was intentionally designed as a Bay-Friendly Rated Landscape, with sustainability, cost savings and water conservation in mind.

Due to it's accessibility for all and popularity, Mia’s Dream has transformed a marginalized area of Hayward, revitalized Tennyson Park and has become a destination for our community. During planning, fundraising and construction, it was  inspiring to see the community rally around the Vasquez family to support this innovative project. Mia’s Dream Come True opened in 2021 and has been both an innovative example of inclusive playground design and a catalyst for the revitalization of South Hayward

Park Entry