(Sara Brown for Boston.com)
Just a few years after neighborhood parents united to create a play area for older children, little feet scaled the climbing structure and little hands gripped the zip line at the new Esplanade Playspace.
A private group, Friends of the Esplanade Playspace, footed the $1.5 million bill for the play area, and have also raised money for its maintenance, after noting a lack of playgrounds for children between 5 and 12 years old.
On Friday afternoon, scores of children (and their parents) braved the cold to inaugurate the play area.
Charlie, 7, said he was "totally " excited for the "ginormous slide," while Isabella, 5, said she could have play dates at the park.
"Can they open it right now?" asked Lily, 3, who said she wanted to try a spin on that big blue slide herself.
Beacon Hill parent Laurie Dumas said her 5-year-old daughter, Emma, was already outgrowing some of the other playgrounds in the neighborhood, having mastered the monkey bars.
Just before the ribbon-cutting, state Department of Conservation and Recreation commissioner Edward Lambert and Friends of the Esplanade Playspace members Jean Egan and Tani Marinovich addressed the young, excited crowd.
"I know how anxious we are to get on the zip line," Egan said. She said the playspace project could teach the kids some valuable lessons about not giving up, working together, and appreciating a "community that loves you."
The play area represents a remarkable collaboration, she said, with the Friends members working with other groups, including the Department of Conservation and Recreation and The Esplanade Association, to bring the project to fruition.
Shortly afterward, kids flooded onto the playground, anxious to test out the large and enduring gift from their community.