The Houston Arboretum & Nature Center has announced the opening (on May 10, 2021) of its much-anticipated Nature Playscape, a beautifully planned outdoor amenity for young children and adolescents.
The Nature Playscape includes both man-made and natural play elements, such as the Lumber Yard, which contains actual fallen logs from the grounds, and the Grass Climb, which encourages kids to walk in the shoes of prairie insects.
The Arboretum’s ambitious Master Plan, which centered on three main areas: land management and restoration, educational programming, and trail experiences, has now been completed.
Elements of the Nature Playscape at Houston Arboretum
- Stump Scramble
- Grass Climb
- Toddler Territory with Flower Fun and Sand Box
- Balancing Bridge
- Lumber Yard
- Spider Web
- Waterways and Water Garden
- Wetland Walk
- Shady Grove
“We are thrilled about the debut of our magnificent Nature Playscape,” says Debbie Markey, Houston Arboretum’s Executive Director. “After some ‘beta testing’ with children of various ages, we think this new amenity, designed with safety in mind, will be a huge hit with the young and young at heart. People who come for the Playscape will also be exposed to the Arboretum’s other wonderful offerings such as the restored trail system, interpretive Field Stations, flora and fauna, and our newly revamped Discovery Room in the remodeled Nature Center.”
The Nature Playscape was generously supported by The Powell Foundation, W.T. and Louise J. Moran Foundation, and Phillips 66, with an additional in-kind contribution from ACT Pipe & Supply.
How and when to visit the Nature Playscape at Houston Arboretum
Despite the fact that the Nature Playscape is a fenced area, parental oversight is required at all times, and pets are not permitted. Visitors can see animals such as birds, bees, lizards, and even snakes using the play features since the Playscape is nestled into the trail system.
Markey notes that while the Nature Playscape will be open during Arboretum hours from 7 a.m. to dusk, it is also available for private birthday party rentals and will be closed regularly for rentals on Saturday and Sunday mornings. If individuals are coming solely to visit the Playscape, please call the Front Desk at 713-861-8433 to confirm whether the Playscape will be open before visiting. Other events, such as weddings and parties, can be booked in one of the Arboretum’s many beautiful indoor or outdoor spaces such as the Event Lawn or the new Nature Center Courtyard and Lawn.
Other highlights of the Master Plan include:
- Landscape improvements including increased native savanna and prairie habitat and restored woodlands
- A brand new entrance off the 610 Loop
- Updated boardwalks throughout the site
- A mile of new trails and walkways, much of which is ADA accessible
- Updated Ravine Trail with new bridges and education platform
- Two new ponds (at the Woodway entrance) which function as stormwater retention, filtration, and irrigation
- New Administration Building to house the Arboretum’s staff and volunteers
- New Conservation Center to house the Arboretum’s conservation team and equipment
- Remodeled Nature Center Building featuring two new classrooms, a new Nature Shop, and a newly renovated Discovery Room with amazing exhibits
For more information on the Arboretum, visit www.houstonarboretum.org or call 713-861-8433.
Also check out our post on the Best Parks & Playgrounds in the Houston area!
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