Children's Nature Playscape

Just Around the Corner: A Space to Breathe and a Place to Play

The Children’s Nature Playscape on Bronson Park is serving an important, ongoing need for a place to encourage children and their parents to connect with nature, exercise their right to play, and practice discovery-based learning in the heart of the city.

Ming Li, Ed.D. Dean, College of Education and Human Development, WMU

The Children's Nature Playscape on Bronson Park is a project dedicated to transforming a reclaimed green space into a nature park for the children of Kalamazoo. The Children’s Nature Playscape will foster the cultural, emotional, intellectual, physical, social and spiritual development of children and families. The project team aims to open the playscape Spring 2022.

Children's Nature Playscape site (pre-development)

Project Goals


Create a socially and environmentally responsible area in downtown Kalamazoo designed for the enrichment of youth in the community.


Empower the community to understand play in nature as a way of strengthening family bonds and improving overall health.


Promote equitable access to nature by intentionally interrupting disparities in access to nature.


Foster awareness, acknowledgement, and respect of the traditional stewards of the Kalamazoo Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Potawatomi.


Giving Tuesday: All-ages Sensory Garden Help Us Reach Our $10,000 Goal!

This year, The Children’s Nature Playscape will be participating in the nationwide philanthropy campaign called #GivingTuesday. Our goal of $10,000 is to provide specific funding for the All-Ages Sensory Garden in our beloved Children’s Nature Playscape. Click the image below to donate.

The All-Ages Sensory Garden will be a magical area with special fencing that children will enter through a secret gate. Features, surfaces, objects, and plants will stimulate the senses through touch, sight, scent, and hearing. Visually challenged children will get a feel of trees and shrubs identified by markers written in Braille and English. Of course, fragrant plants are essential to the Sensory Garden as are different textures of small logs and boulders. Priority will be given to plants, shrubs, and grasses that are native to west Michigan, especially those with cultural significance to the Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians. Children will be able to explore the sounds of the wood Amadinda (hanging xylophone) and fence chimes as they imagine what beautiful sounds nature brings to us. This should also be a unique habitat for songbirds.

Oct 31 FALL FESTIVAL at the Children's Nature Playscape!

Join us from 11:15-12:30 for games, nature-inspired programming, crafts, candy, donuts, coffee & cocao at 345 West Michigan Avenue/302 Academy Street. Hosted by CNP on Bronson Park and First Congregational Church. The fun will be facilitated with help from Kalamazoo Nature Center, KC3 Electric Automobiles, Asylum Lake Preserve and Gail Walter Bird Collision Project. All are welcome!

The Community Art Project has Bloomed!

Our new art has moved in! Thank you to the adults and children at the YWCA, El Concilio, Montessori School (Kalamazoo) and KCCCD for their artistic contribution. Their work will be displayed onsite at 302 Academy Street! Stop by and visit our current green space for ideas of what is to come through the imaginations of our Kalamazoo kids!

Children’s Nature Playscape Awarded Grants from Rotary Karl Sandelin Grant

This project was made possible in part through grants from the Rotary Club of Kalamazoo, The Rotary Foundation, District 6360 and the District 6360 Foundation Karl Sandelin Grant.

Thank you for your generous support!

Community Art Project 2021

Over the next few months, our community engagement committee will be facilitating the creation of collective art pieces painted by the children of Kalamazoo. Once installed, these art pieces will welcome passersby to the world of imagination and expectation and help us herald in new beginnings on-site. We welcome you to join us!

For more information please email:

Update: Community Input Session | May 24, 2021

During our community input session OCBA Landscape Architects successfully collected survey results that will guide the playscape's final elements and features. As we continue to be creative and make decisions based upon feedback received, we welcome your input, generosity, and encouragement in the days ahead.

Reach out and share your ideas and queries on our Facebook page:

Earth Day Celebration 2021

Check out our video for Kalamazoo Earth Day to learn more about the Children's Nature Playscape coming to downtown Kalamazoo!

CNP 2021 Earth Day.mp4