The Hawver and Lacy Families Nature’s PlaySpace is an interactive experience that will connect our youngest guests to nature in new ways.
Splash, climb, and crawl your way through our brand-new play area! Bathed in natural light, this sprawling space brings the best of the outdoors indoors. Children up to age 7 can explore a variety of nature-themed sections and stimulate their senses with over 25 fun interactives! Learn about the wetlands through a state-of-the-art water feature and oversized beaver lodge. Climb into a larger-than-life bird nest and treehouse as you explore the prairie. Plus so much more! Families with young children will be able to make deep connections to nature while encouraging child-led play!
Access to this exhibit is included with Museum admission.
A Closer Look
Nature’s PlaySpace brings six outdoor environments inside the Nature Museum for safe, child-led playtime! Each environment has its own dedicated play space with unique interactives, touchables, playables, and more! Plus, our youngest visitors can explore within their own intimate play area, complete with plushies and more!
Pay a visit to our busy beaver family! Crawl through the beaver lodge, cozy up with some fish plushies, and take a walk on the reptile side by trying out our wearable turtle shells!
Splash your way through the lake! Flow through the space with a variety of water table interactives, and see what other aquatic creatures you can find!
Hop on over to the “sandy” dunes! Meet a family of chorus frogs and see if you can discover the very cool way our amphibian pals make noise!
What can you spot from the two-story savanna treehouse? The city skyline! A nesting goose! Zoom down the treehouse slide to see even more!
Ride down the treehouse slide to make a “splash” in the river! “Swim” under the river bridge to head to the rideable fish. Plus, discover the secrets of the nearby musical lily pads and cattails!
Take a trip to the prairie to discover a talkative prairie chicken, and her larger-than-life nest and eggs! Keep an eye out for woodpeckers hard at work and a stump of glowing fireflies!
There’s so much to discover in Nature’s PlaySpace when you look up high and down low. Anabel is here to walk us through just a few of the 20+ interactives that you can play with when you explore this exhibit!
Want to learn more about the ecosystems featured in Nature’s PlaySpace? Anabel’s here to walk us through what they are and what makes them so unique in this episode of Curious By Nature!
This $4 million project is made possible thanks to private donations and an Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) Grant. The conception and design of The Hawver and Lacy Families Nature’s PlaySpace is led by Alvaro Ramos, Chief Curator, Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, and the Nature Museum exhibits team, with assistance from our design and construction partners Luci Design, Solomon Cordwell Buenz (SCB), CBRE, RedBox Workshop, and Norcon, Inc.