Nature Playscape

Come Play With Us!

The Discovery Forest Nature Playscape and Loess Falls Water Feature were designed for active learning and play.

Thanks to Junior League of Sioux City for the funding and research of this wonderful attraction!  And thanks to all of our donors—see the Donor Thank You Sign at the Treehouse to view all the donors. We couldn’t have done it without you!!!

The Nature Playscape offers 8 major components

Entry Feature
An entry feature draws attention to the area. It gives credit to the hard work and partnerships created with the playscape. It designates this area as a special place. The entry pergola was designed & constructed by Eagle Scout candidate Jeremy Hill and Boy Scout Troop 225.

Building Area
Providing blocks outdoors gives children a chance to experiment in a setting where space limitations and noise from falling blocks are not a concern. As children build with both geometric and organic shapes, they are strengthening mathematical, visual-spatial and abstract thinking.

Music and Movement Area
Music and movement experiences are vital to children’s healthy development. Well-equipped outdoor music and movement areas provide an ideal place for children to learn about sound, pitch, rhythm and tonality on their own; manipulate a variety of nature-based musical instruments; and express musical concepts by moving their bodies to music. Our area features chimes, drums and a stage for creative play.

Climbing Area: Tree Fort, Balance Beam, Spider Web, Log Steps, and Hollow Log
Balance, climbing and crawling elements inspire imaginations on the playground and better concentration in class. Children develop feelings of body competence with log steps, and a natural balance beam. Activities involving climbing and crawling help alleviate stress, allowing even children with behavioral challenges to relax and maintain better concentration when they return to class indoors.

Nature Art Area
As children work with natural materials such as pine cones or seed pods and arrange them into patterns or mosaic-like pictures, they develop a deeper appreciation for the beauty of the natural world, while strengthening skills in classification and close  observation. It also includes a large “palette” that allows kids to draw with water. The palette is located near the Loess Falls Water Feature.

Digging Area
A well-designed “messy materials” area can encourage children to use their imaginations, experiment with a variety of natural objects, practice carrying heavy objects, and feel a sense of accomplishment and personal mastery over the environment. We have created an area where children can dig and explore a variety of materials.

Fox Den
This area allows kids to create their own structure using branches to lean against stationary logs.

Loess Falls Water Feature
Water is a magnet for people of all ages. The ability to explore a water feature opens the senses to myriad experiences and provides important habitat for small water creatures as well. We encourage gentle water play but do not allow climbing on the waterfalls or retaining walls. The four boulders are “stepping stones” to allow access to the other side to sit on a bench. Playscape benches were provided by Eagle Scout candidate Matt Rodasky of Sioux City. 



Download PDF for more information


Playscape Hours:

9:00 AM–4:00 PM

You are welcome to play after hours. Please remove your vehicles from the upper Nature Center parking lot and park below the gates if you plan to stay after 4:00 PM