Forest Park Forever breaks ground on new natural playground in Missouri, US

WCN Editorial Team 16 Jul 2019 NORTH AMERICA BUILDINGS

Forest Park Forever, a non-profit conservancy, and the City of St. Louis have broken ground on a new natural playground, dubbed Nature Playscape, in Forest Park, Missouri, US.

Scheduled to open in 2020, the 17-acre Nature Playscape is located in the heart of Forest Park, between the Jewel Box and the World’s Fair Pavilion.

The Nature Playscape will feature eight ‘activity areas,’ including Mounds, Spring, Meadow, a Wetland and more. Furthermore, a series of paths and boardwalks will connect the areas, allowing kids and families to climb, splash, build and explore their way through the site.

Forest Park Forever president and executive director Lesley Hoffarth said: “The new Nature Playscape will be a fantastic and unique destination for both Forest Park and the entire region. We are grateful to our generous donors who have made this project possible, and to the City of St. Louis for our terrific partnership here in the Park.

“Forest Park Forever believes deeply in the importance of our youth building and sustaining connections to nature, particularly in today’s digital world. The experiences kids will have in the Nature Playscape will last a lifetime.”

The Nature Playscape project is aimed at connecting children and families with nature and promoting their physical, mental, and emotional well-being. It is expected to engage children’s senses as they explore, discover and learn, and provide an accessible, joyful and safe destination for nature-based experiential education.

Additionally, the project is expected to transform turf into natural landscapes with native and diverse plant species, promote environmental stewardship among community members, and enhance overall Forest Park experience for all visitors.

Touted to be first of its kind at this scale in the region, the project will include the plantation of 280 majority native species trees as well as transplantation of 20 existing trees. It will also include 600 native species shrubs and more than 100 species of grass and flowering plants.

City of St. Louis Parks, Recreation & Forestry director Greg Hayes said: “The new Nature Playscape has been designed to fit thoughtfully within Forest Park. Up until now this area had just been mowed turf.

“In restoring these 17 acres to more natural landscapes, the project not only offers an incredible amount of nature-based fun to visitors, but it also continues our long-term efforts to be responsible stewards of the Forest Park grounds.”

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Image: Forest Park Forever’s Nature Playscape is scheduled to open in 2020. Photo: Courtesy of City of St. Louis.

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