Natural Playground Now Open At Forest Park

Looking for something to do with the kids or grandkids this coming holiday weekend? Check out the recently opened Oakland Avenue Playground at Forest Park. Read more about the playground from Forest Park Forever below.

The City of St. Louis Department of Parks, Recreation and Forestry and Forest Park Forever are pleased to announce the renovated Oakland Avenue Playground is now open to the public. The playground is located on Forest Park’s southern edge near the intersection of Tamm and Oakland Avenues. The $300,000 project was funded by donations to Forest Park Forever, including a lead grant from the PNC Foundation, and the City of St. Louis.

The design for the renovated Oakland Avenue Playground was based on feedback and ideas from hundreds of local children and community members who took part in online and in-person surveys and discovery sessions in 2020. The playground includes two main play areas – one designed for children ages 2-5 and the other tailored for children ages 5-12. The playground offers a variety of seating options, including picnic tables and natural benches, as well as bicycle racks. It unifies and connects to Turtle Playground, the existing restroom comfort station and the nearby neighborhood, giving the space a defined identity and welcoming atmosphere.

The play area for younger children was renovated with support from the PNC Foundation through PNC Grow Up Great®, a bilingual $500 million, multi-year initiative to help prepare children from birth to age 5 for success in school and life. The play structures include elements that encourage educational play, such as activity panels for counting and vocabulary-building.

“Play-based learning is an essential aspect of early childhood development, and this play area provides a vehicle for children to build literacy skills,” said Michael Scully, PNC regional president for St. Louis. “All of us at PNC are excited to see this project come to life in Forest Park, one of our region’s greatest civic treasures.”

As a nod to the beloved turtle sculptures nearby, the renovated space features a unique wooden turtle created with tree stumps that accommodate a dual side-by-side slide. Local sculptor Abraham Mohler sculpted the turtle head and feet. Materials for the turtle and seating were sourced from declining or dead trees removed from Forest Park and other city parks by City of St. Louis Forestry Dept., as well as donated timber from the Missouri Department of Conservation.

“The renovated playground will provide an engaging, fun and safe playspace for children and families from the surrounding neighborhoods and across the entire St. Louis community,” said Greg Hayes, director of Parks, Recreation and Forestry for the City of St. Louis.

The Oakland Avenue Playground is the third new or renovated playspace created for children and families in Forest Park in 2021.

“We are thrilled to see yet another playground renovation in Forest Park this year thanks to the generosity of our supporters,” said Lesley S. Hoffarth, P.E., president and executive director of Forest Park Forever. “We can’t wait to see the Oakland Avenue Playground filled with smiling kids and families at play.”

Oakland Avenue Playground & Forest Park Hours: The Oakland Avenue Playground is open for visitors during Forest Park’s hours, which are 6:00 a.m.-10:00 p.m. daily year-round.

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