Pumpkins and Maple Syrup? Yes, Please!
A new Master Plan transformed the Tamarack Nature Center’s traditional passive facilities into a highly attractive regional destination that integrates personal explorations of nature with art, play and active investigation. Ongoing research supports the positive effects of active outdoor play in natural settings that the Center now offers.
The 320-acre site, northeast of Minneapolis-St. Paul, focuses on self-directed play, encouraging direct contact and interaction with a variety of natural features, including tree stumps and trunks, hills and hollows, digging places, and hiding and climbing places.
The Woodland Play Stream features a natural-looking channel of water pools, cascades and meandering sections that cater to dam-building, bridge-making and rock-hopping. Water from the stream is collected into a pond and pumped via windmill to a water tower for watering the garden. Overflow from the pond feeds the rain garden that’s just outside the enclosed garden area. A large hill provides an overlook area, and a rockscape for climbing and even sledding during winter months. A new Children’s Garden is a fully interactive “neighborhood” of working gardens that provide planting experiences, harvesting, mud play, water pumping and irrigation activities. It includes a garden center building for seed starting, making apple cider and maple syrup, along with a pumpkin and squash patch, compost bins, cistern and a sensory garden.
Parents and care-givers are encouraged to play with their children—but they’ll find plenty of seating when the kids have tired them out!