Things to know before visiting the Nature Playscape:
Guests who wish to visit the Nature Playscape must enter through Wesselman Woods Nature Center and show a valid membership card or pay the regular admission rates ($3 per person ages 3 – 12 and $5 per person ages 13 and up). Click here to see the membership opportunities.
The Nature Playscape will close at 4:00 PM each day to allow time for cleanup and maintenance.
Children will get wet and dirty here, so plan accordingly! There is an outdoor shower to rinse children as needed – children should NOT be rinsed off in the PlayScape water feature or in the nature center restrooms.
While we encourage parents to allow their children to explore freely and play on their own in the PlayScape, an adult must stay at the PlayScape while the kids play.
Groups with more than 12 children must call at least one week in advance to make a reservation, and large groups will have to visit the PlayScape in rotations.
What is a nature playscape?
Nature playscapes are designed with the intent of bringing children and people back to nature. They are places for kids to get messy, get creative and take risks! Nature playscapes use natural landscapes, natural vegetation and materials in a creative and interactive way for unstructured child play and exploration. Nature playscapes are created for the enhancement of a child’s curiosity, imagination, wonder, discovery and to nurture a child’s connection to the outdoors. Children play with natural components like boulders or other rock structures, dirt and sand, textured pathways, tree stumps and logs and natural water features. Nature playscapes are places where kids can freely experiment and create with loose materials. Children can have a new adventure and make new discoveries each time they visit. The nature playscape is completely enclosed so children can safely play and adults can comfortably enjoy the time from one of the gathering areas.
Where is the Welborn Baptist Foundation Nature Playscape located?
Upon entering the Wesselman Nature Center, signs will direct visitors along a short path through the woods past the open clearing and pond to the playscape entrance.
How big is it?
The Welborn Baptist Foundation Nature PlayScape at Wesselman Nature Center is three acres – the largest in the United States!
How is this different from a traditional playground?
Nature playscapes look very different from traditional playgrounds. Most playgrounds are comprised of pre-manufactured play equipment, typically constructed of steel and plastic elements and emphasizing active, or ‘gross motor’ play. Nature playscapes focus on creating settings to enable the type of play most important to young children: social play (pretending) and constructive play (building). Nature playscapes encourage children to use their imaginations while simultaneously experiencing the smells, textures and wonders of the natural world. A natural play area is a learning landscape where kids learn through play. Playscapes are typically very safe because they include few or no tall structures and no equipment with moving parts.
Are there opportunities to be become involved?
We are always looking for new volunteers to be Playscape Rangers or to work on the maintenance of the Playscape. Pelase call (812) 479-0771 for more information.
How was this project funded?
The Welborn Baptist Foundation Nature Playscape was funded solely through a capital campaign initiated by the Wesselman Nature Society.
Is it ADA accessible?
The Welborn Baptist Foundation Nature Playscape was designed to provide access and enjoyment for children with a spectrum of abilities. Inclusive playscapes are areas where children of different ages and abilities can play together. Inclusive play goes beyond simply providing for ADA access and is focused on a range of abilities and interaction between all children.
Is there be a place to clean up after playing?
It is true when children fully enjoy a nature playscape, they often get messy. That not only means they had a great time, it also can mean a messy ride home. Just outside the entrance to the playscape, visitors will find a rinse station for cleaning up and leaving behind the bits of the nature playscape which tried to escape on the children! We look to expand this area in the future into a full comfort station to include restrooms, wash stations and a nursing lounge.