The Nature PlayScape at Cincinnati Nature Center

The Schott Nature PlayScape resulted from a NLI professional development course for regional landscape architects on designing for childhood and nature, delivered through collaboration with the Niehoff Urban Studio, University of Cincinnati. Course participants observed creation of the Design Program via a community survey and facilitated design workshop, which included engagement with children. A team of course graduates was appointed as project landscape architects. NLI continued working with them as consultants.

The all-ages, intergenerational Nature PlayScape includes a band of existing woodland and is enclosed with a light deer-proof fence. Looping, accessible, undulating pathways connect to a recirculating stream and constructed wetland, natural construction settings, dirt and mud play, and prairie, scrub, and forest play. Locally sourced sedimentary rock was used to build a waterfall, ravine, cave, tunnel, and a low, climbable dolmen.

Nature PlayScapes at the Nature Center and on the University of Cincinnati campus, serving the Arlitt Child Development Center, support the Greater Cincinnati Leave No Child Inside Initiative by providing model biophilic places where children and accompanying adults engage with nature and learn how outdoor play can support healthy child development.

The Nature PlayScape Mission is:

To stimulate healthy child development, family enjoyment, creativity, learning, a passion for nature, and a sense of stewardship through spontaneous outdoor nature play, regardless of income or physical abilities.


Schott Nature PlayScape: