Playspace of Yanaguana Garden bursts into bloom October 2

A spiraling “Blue Hole” at the center of Oscar Alvarado’s elongated serpentine mosaic bench is one of many features defining a sense of place in the soon-to-be-unveiled Yanaguana Garden at the southeast corner of Hemisfair. The Blue Hole north of Brackenridge Park is the spring feeding the river in the land native Payaya Indians referred to as Yanaguana.

Opening to the public the weekend of October 2, Yanaguana Garden is an admission-free playscape for young and old with water features for splashing, swings of all types, giant chess boards, a bocce court, pingpong tables, benches for sitting, a sandbox for crafting drip castles, “trees” for climbing and actual mature trees for shading. The springy base cushioning the areas under climbing structures is amazingly soft to walk across.

The engaging interactive public art created by a team of San Antonio artists led by Stuart Allen carries out the playful theme, including playhouses, metal puptents by Joey Fauerso, Allen’s how-to-build-a-kite bench, Jen Khoshbin’s stage for plays and a sound installation by Justin Boyd. These touch-me works of art were administered by Public Art San Antonio (PASA) with funds provided by the 2012-2017 bond program.

All of these elements are nestled respectfully among historic homes, remnants of the original neighborhood eliminated by HemisFair ’68. These are being repurposed to weave a portion of the fabric that will form a new neighborhood as Hemisfair continues to evolve.

Design for the playscape fell under the guidance of landscape architect Susan Goltsman, president of MIG. Based in Berkeley, California, the design firm prides itself for building inclusive environments.

For those who are not within walking distance of this new addition to the ‘hood, arrangements have been made for free parking in three large lots on the south side of Cesar Chavez (Charango) Boulevard on opening weekend.

To find out more about contributing to reshape Hemisfair, visit

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