Leslie Science & Nature Center to Open First Phase of New Playscape

The Ann Arbor nonprofit announces community challenge to fund further construction
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Leslie Science & Nature Center - new playscape
Kids will explore and learn about nature at Leslie Science & Nature Center’s new playscape. // Photograph courtesy of Leslie Science & Nature Center

Building continues for Leslie Science & Nature Center’s new playscape, which will offer a variety of different spaces for kids to experience and learn about nature. Construction of the Ann Arbor-based nonprofit’s playscape began in 2019, and the first phase is expected to open in late July to mid-August.

When the first phase of the playscape opens it will feature several different areas with things to do, like the Activity Zone, which includes slides, tunnels, climbing logs, and an Eagles’ Nest that allows for a bird’s eye view of the area. The Messy & Loose Parts space will be filled with natural materials for kids to interact with, and the Waterplay area will feature various pumps and water mechanisms that require a group effort to control.

“We believe the nature playscape is a huge investment not just in our future, but in the future generations of our community,” says Susan Westhoff, executive director of LSNC, in a press release. “We see this as a place where children of all ages and abilities can learn and play with all of these diverse areas, materials, and features through sensory, fine, and gross motor experiences.”

LSNC, located at 1831 Traver Road, plans to further expand the playscape in future phases should it raise enough funds. These phases include a Treescape Climber area and a STEAM Place Learning Pavilion, the latter of which will feature open-air sheltered classrooms with solar panels, wildlife demo areas, flight demos, and more.

Ann Arbor residents Linh and Dug Song are supporting the construction of the playscape with a gift of $150,000. The Songs recently announced they are committed to donating an additional $50,000 as a part of a community challenge. The Songs will donate the additional funding if community donations can collectively match the goal of $50,000. Individuals interested in donating to LSNC can do so on the center’s website or via phone or mail.

For more information, visit lesliesnc.org