The Houston Arboretum & Nature Center announces the public unveiling of its much-anticipated Nature Playscape, a beautifully designed recreational amenity for young children and adolescents to enjoy. The Nature Playscape incorporates built and natural play features such as the Lumber Yard with real fallen logs from the grounds and the Grass Climb, which allows children to step into the shoes of prairie insects. The project completes the Arboretum’s ambitious Master Plan, which focused on three key areas: Land Management and Restoration, Educational Programming, and Trail Experiences.

“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.

Elements of the Nature Playscape include:

  • 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

Even though the Nature Playscape is a fenced space, parental supervision is required at all times and guests are asked not to bring pets into the space. The Playscape is nestled into the trail system, so visitors may also see wildlife like birds, bees, lizards, and even snakes using the play features.

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