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Nature Playscape Coming to Anita Purves Nature Center

June 13, 2016 06:06 PM


June 13, 2016

New Nature Playscape Coming to Anita Purves Nature Center: Public Fundraiser Underway

Logs that change into lizards. Rocks that become rafts. Dirt you can draw in.

Creativity is key to the play that will take place in the new Friendship Grove Nature Playscape that will open on April 22, 2017 on the grounds of the Anita Purves Nature Center. Instead of a traditional playground which is fixed in place, a nature playscape uses natural elements—many of them moveable—to help kids explore.

“This is Urbana’s first and only nature playscape and we look forward to enhancing the experience you can already have at the nature center and Busey Woods with this new play area,” said project manager Caitlin Lill.

“One day the playscape might become a restaurant and another day a zoo. It’s up to the kids themselves how to play in the space. Loose parts such as sticks and rocks become something different each time they visit. Their imagination is their only limitation,” she added.

A shady and inviting accessible space with places for kids of all abilities to play together was part of the concept from the beginning, added environmental program manager Judy Miller.

“Some kids may want to run and climb in and on the permanent features like the fort. Other kids might want to dig or draw pictures in the dirt. It is as active a space as you want to make it,” she said.

The park district already has raised $90,000 for materials and construction but is seeking donations from the public to help enhance the space. The money raised through an online campaign will construct an entryway that defines the space and welcomes visitors.

To learn more about the Friendship Grove Nature Playscape and to support it, visit  and click on the playscape image at the top of the page.  To see conceptual drawings of the Friendship Grove Nature Playscape visit




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