Koop Drive Trailhead
From Abita, the Tammany Trace Trailhead Headquarters is 4.39 miles away and is marked with a green caboose that serves as information center and ranger station. Here you will find an inclusive playground, called Kids Konnection, a place for all children, with or without special needs, to play together. The first two weekends of December, come experience the Holiday of Lights and celebrate Christmas. Throughout the year, enjoy the popular Jamming on the Trace concerts. Future plans call for Kids Town and an amphitheater. You'll also find rest rooms, water fountains, picnic tables and parking here. The Tammany Trace is available for private nonprofit events and fundraisers.
Hours of Operation for Kids Konnection playground:
8 am to 6 pm; on Mondays we open at 11 am and close at 6 pm.
The KIDS Konnection Story
Susan McHugh was in her friend Michelle's kitchen when Michelle asked, "Susan has your son ever played on a playground before?" Those words rang in Susan's ears and filled her heart with sadness. She thought, "How can this be? How can I allow my child to miss out on the joy that playing on a playground brings?"
When Susan and Tim McHugh’s third son Wesley was just an infant, he was diagnosed with a rare congenital muscle disease. The effects of this disease are ultimately low muscle tone leading to debilitating muscle weakness including respiratory muscles and overall muscle weakness. Wesley cannot walk and uses and electric wheelchair to get around. Susan knew that this would seriously limit his access to many places.
One day, Susan and her dear friend Michelle, who had just given birth to her own child with special needs, were discussing whether Wesley had ever actually played on a playground before. Susan realized that the answer was no. This led to a deeper discussion about inclusive playgrounds, something Michelle had discovered in an article she’d recently read. Inclusive playgrounds are special playgrounds designed so that all children of all abilities can play together.
The ladies quickly took action, and in January of 2004 they formed a group called Kids Konnection complete with an executive board. Word began to spread about the group formed for kids to connect through play. Their ambitious plan included the construction of a playground, parking and handicap accessible restrooms on at least one acre of land in central St. Tammany. Both then, Parish President, Kevin Davis and the Tammany Trace, were instrumental in the land donation. Kids Konnection raised over $400,000.00 in one year. In the fall of 2007, with thousands of in-kind donations, over 500 volunteers gathered for three weekends to build south Louisiana's first totally accessible playground valued at $1 million.
They began to spread the word about their ambitious endeavor. They needed at least one acre of land in central St. Tammany to accommodate the playground, parking and handicap accessible rest rooms. With the help of Kevin Davis and the Tammany Trace, the land was donated. The parents raised the $438,000 in one year.