Just in time for the cold weather, The Orchard at University Place is officially open after a ribbon cutting outside of the mall on Monday morning.
The Orchard is Orem’s newest park, which includes outdoor seating, choreographed fountains and an indoor and outdoor play area on the north side of the mall.
Rob Kallas, general manager at the Shops at University Place, noted that University Place is only in its third year of development of the 10-year project. University Place, formally known as University Mall, is adding more apartments and office buildings in the future.
“In the next couple of years, you won’t even recognize this area over here,” Kallas said.
Part of the reason for all of the development at University Place, according to Randy Woodbury, owner of Woodbury Corporation, is to keep up with the times — especially with malls.
“We’re embracing change and that’s why we are doing what we are doing here,” Woodbury said.
Orem resident Monica Beadle brought her two-year-old daughter to the grand opening of The Orchard. Beadle was ecstatic to have an indoor park nearby because she has lived in two places — California and Florida — that have had indoor playgrounds and she says it is a major benefit for parents in the community.
“It’s a huge relief as a Utah County mom because I don’t want to go outside and freeze either,” Beadle said. “Having a two year old, bundling up to go be cold for about 10 minutes — it’s not worth it. Coming here you can last hours and still be nice and warm.”
While The Orchard includes both an indoor and outdoor playground called the Kid’s Place, here are a few of the features you’ll be grateful are indoors as the weather begins to cool down.
Before University Mall was built, the land was used for both farming and orchards, so The Orchard was named for Orem’s roots.
While the playground has the traditional equipment, it is designed to imitate the natural beauty of the Wasatch Mountains.
Over the bridge
A wooden bridge in the middle of the room gives the appearance of hiking through the mountains.
Tree stumps are gathered in a corner of the room for jumping.
The monkey bars are hung from imitation Aspen trees.
And a bear accompanies the kids who attempt to cross the monkey bars.
Climbable statues represent the wildlife in Utah throughout the room and outside.
The outdoors come indoors with this pile of logs for climbing.
Hand-eye coordination assist these fish who are trying to swim (or spin) upstream.
OK, this one is actually outside, but the water fountain choreographed to music made a splash at the grand opening (no, really, the kids on the front line got wet).