Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Kalamazoo Nature Center Natural Playground

Kalamazoo Nature Center has an ample amount of grounds. After our visit to the Nature Center the other day, we checked out their Natural Playground. I don't recall where I read about it, but I can't find information on their website, so I'm glad I asked once we were there. We took a walk through the paths, past the gardens and butterfly house to reach the natural playscape.

The entrance welcomed us to this magical area for children. I said, "Let's just try it out for a few minutes" when they didn't want to go find it. They loved it and stayed for about an hour! They would have stayed longer if I let them.

I loved the dry creek bed and small bridges. These are challenges appropriate for children to traverse. There was also a large water feature. I'm sure it would be great fun in summer time!  

I loved this nest area, reserved for the younger children. The method for making the nest would be so easy and inexpensive. Working on a spot in Elkhart after seeing it! Sand and pebble piles were available for the little ones. The tunnel was also a hit!

I liked seeing how they constructed their natural balance beams. The children liked balancing!

They also found spiky chestnuts on the ground nearby.

The partially built fort with loose parts nearby allowed the children to add more to the fort. 

The big pile of rocks was a great challenge and fun to climb!

During their play, my son found this deer track and wanted to take a picture. There was also a rabbit nearby, as well as many other natural elements. They keep poison ivy out of this area, yet had signs up on the more wild areas that there might be poison ivy beyond the ropes. 

This just looked like a huge pile of leaves! Think of the possibilities! 

The dry creek bed ran down into this sandy area with rocks. Great place to dig!

Nearby is their summer camp area with garden area. We used raised beds like this at home, too. 

They have a compost area and practice what they preach, using compostable cups and plates. 

The camp area had several small shelters, tables and benches, and more. I want to go to camp here! There was an amphitheater and stage. There was another larger one like this nearby.

What a great spot to explore! Thanks for the ideas! Researching the topic a bit, they also have an archery range, zip-line canopy tour, climbing areas, and a team building course as well. Read about it and listen to a video with the president of KNC here