Waukesha County

Waukesha County Wins Award for Nature Play Area Design in Fox River Park

The Nature Play Area at Fox River Park has won the 2019 Excellence Award from the Wisconsin Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA). The play area provides a naturalized alternative to the typical playground, for a unique and educational play experience.


“Naturalized play spaces combine a built environment with elements found in nature, and they allow families to reconnect to nature while encouraging healthy living through outdoor play,” said Waukesha County Executive Paul Farrow. “I am proud of the vision that our landscape architects had for this nature play experience within our park system."


Inspired by the book, The Last Child in the Woods, by Richard Louv, the play area features an intriguing landscape with various activity nodes between Picnic Areas 1 and 2. The nodes include a climbing boulder, web climber net, sand play area with water, council ring and several spinners and rockers. The popular side-by-side 33 ft. long embankment slides are built into the hillside to integrate into the topography. An accessible paved, pedestrian path winds through the space allowing all users access to the fun.


Other innovative features include a butterfly garden and rain garden, no mow areas with native grasses, and a grass amphitheater. The native garden areas attract dragonflies, waterbugs, frogs and tadpoles, birds, deer and more. They also offer an opportunity for education on the importance of infiltration of stormwater runoff for groundwater recharge.


Parks and Land Use staff members accepted the award at the Annual Spring Conference on Wednesday, February 27 at the Italian Community Center in Milwaukee.


Fox River Park is located at W264 S4500 River Road in Waukesha. For more information about Fox River Park visit: https://www.waukeshacounty.gov/foxriver


About the Department of Parks & Land Use

The Waukesha County Department of Parks & Land Use, working through a combination of collaboration, education and regulation is dedicated to fostering economic development, sound land use, and the protection, enhancement and enjoyment of the County’s natural resources and health of its citizens.

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