Jester Park Natural Playscape, Granger, Iowa, RDG Planning and Design, 2008


Located in an under-visited area of a large existing park, the Jester Park natural playscape is not only used 58 percent more than the traditional playground in the park, but 94 percent of the playscape’s users were in the park solely for the purpose of visiting it.
How’s that for the appeal of a new kind of playground?
And the cost was $204, 343 for 40,000 square feet; just over $5 per square foot.
According to Lewis Major, a naturalist with Polk County Conservation,“…the Playscape is not teaching children to play naturally, but is teaching parents to let their children play naturally. The kids know how to do it.”
Tall Grass Tangle: like a hedge maze but with grasses
Forest of the Dead: salvaged timber logs set into earth berms for climbing
Stone Henge: a circular monolith with viewfinders into the wider park
Wetland: wading pool, waterfall and bubbling stone
Grass Slide, Log Stairs and Boulder Scramble for climbing up and sliding/rolling back down
“Pathways constructed using limestone edging and red decomposed granite allow stormwater to sink into the ground while maintaining an accessible and visually contrasting path for those with mobility issues or visual impairments…. art elements visually engage visitors and invite them to explore the playscape further. The first component visitors encounter is a rustic 18-foot-tall entrance feature adorned with intricate carvings and a giant spider web. Three light bollards near the entrance look like old tree stumps, and mysterious petroglyph carvings are strategically hidden on rocks throughout the area. Originally designed art tiles and carvings can be found throughout Stone Henge, while the fossil plates buried in the Archeological Dig are handcrafted and painted to look like the real thing. “
Photos from the website of the Polk county conservation board, and recreationmanagement (from whom the playscape won a design award); review by a parent/visitor to the playscape is here

2 Responses to “Jester Park Natural Playscape, Granger, Iowa, RDG Planning and Design, 2008”

  1. Willie and Henrietta said:

    That looks amazing! Wish there were more of these being created in the US!

    September 27, 2009 at 10:25 pm

  2. Michelle said:

    Dang, that looks like fun!

    August 13, 2009 at 5:18 pm

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