Cartoonist Hank Ketcham, creator of the character Dennis the Menace, has dedicated a $200,000 playground he designed at Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children & Women.

"I don't like teeter-totters or swings," said Ketcham as he showed off the play area for children who are disabled or recovering from such maladies as spina bifida and cancer.The new playground features cushioned flooring and recreational equipment that can be used to help children exercise as well as have fun, hospital officials said.

"We feel that play is a very important part of a child's life, and it helps in the healing process," said John Bozard, the hospital's executive director.

The playground is the second one designed by Ketcham, who created one in Monterey, Calif.

This one took special effort because childhood disabilities had to be kept in mind, within an atmosphere that would be "un-hospital," Ketcham said.

The hospital is named for golfing great Arnold Palmer, who has been its chief fund-raiser.