San Antonio pirate-themed playground, designed for inclusive play will break ground Sunday

Mitchell’s Landing will honor 3-year-old Mitchell Chang who drowned in 2018

One San Antonio family’s heartbreaking loss of their son led them on a journey to better the community in his memory and it’s led to the development of a 42-acre park called Mitchell’s Landing.

SAN ANTONIO – Mitchell’s Landing, a pirate-themed inclusive playground dedicated to the memory of 3-year-old Mitchell Chang, will break ground Sunday.

The free public playground will be located at Classen-Steubing Ranch Park at 20202 Hardy Oak Parkway in Stone Oak.

Mitchell Chang (April Chang)

It will be San Antonio’s first nationally recognized inclusive playground for the city’s park system, according to a press release, with inclusive play components designed for children of all abilities.

Mitchell’s Landing is a partnership project between the Mitchell Chang Foundation and the City of San Antonio. Money for Classen-Steubing Ranch Park was a part of a 2017 city bond package.

Mitchell’s parents, April and Marvin Chang, founded the Mitchell Chang Foundation after Mitchell drowned at his swim school in 2018.

They said they felt a strong need to do the good Mitchell could no longer do because he died too young.

“People try to imagine losing a child, but they often don’t think about it’s more than your child, it’s everything they were going to do in the world,” April Chang previously told KSAT.

Most of the 204-acre Classen-Steubing Ranch Park will remain undeveloped, but 43 acres of the park will be developed with walking trails, a pavilion, restrooms, 164 parking spaces, picnic areas, baseball fields, and open-play fields, all centered around the Mitchell’s Landing playground, according to the Mitchell Chang Foundation.

“To Mitchell, life was a party. Everything was fun, he wanted to have fun with everyone! Marvin felt very strongly that building a playground would continue Mitchell’s fun in a positive way,” April said.

The family, which also includes the Changs’ other son, Evan, decided to put their efforts into a free public playground that would also be inclusive for families who have children with disabilities.

A video rendering of the park can be viewed in the video player at the top of the article.

The playground will consist of four main areas:

  • Pirate Ship
  • H-E-B Mermaid Lagoon
  • Marsh Bog
  • Spanish Mission
Mitchell's Landing at Classen-Steubing Ranch Park. (Mitchell Chang Foundation)

“Since Mitchell viewed himself a pirate in training, GameTime came up with this incredible pirate design with little Mitchell Easter eggs hidden throughout it. Once we saw the idea of the shipwrecked pirate ship, marsh bog, and abandoned Spanish mission, we knew this was the playground for our city and Mitchell,” April said.

There are also 22 stand-alone inclusive play components, all carefully selected to create a balance of pieces that provide developmental growth and stimulation opportunities for all individuals, a press release from the Mitchell Chang Foundation states.

Mitchell's Landing at Classen-Steubing Ranch Park. (Mitchell Chang Foundation)
Mitchell's Landing at Classen-Steubing Ranch Park. (Mitchell Chang Foundation)

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About the Author:

Mary Claire Patton has been a journalist with KSAT 12 since 2015. She has reported on several high-profile stories during her career at KSAT and specializes in trending news and things to do around Texas and San Antonio.