The Nature Discovery Area, Built By KGK at Cleveland Metro Parks Zoo, Opened May 2014
The Circle of Wildlife Carousel and Nature Discovery Ridge Outdoor Play Area, constructed in part by KGK Gardening & Design Corp., opened to zoo-goers to explore, learn, and play in May. The design idea, by Learning Landscapes, was to use nature-inspired materials that would educate children through active play. KGK designer, Steve Malaga, worked closely with Learning Landscapes and other contributors to execute the vision of the creative design. Steve chose natural, local materials to construct what is now one of the most unique “playgrounds” in Northeast Ohio.
In the Nature Discovery Ridge, kids will find a running stream that they can play in and learn to pump water from old-fashioned water pumps. They are encouraged to think by using hollowed out logs and wooden buckets to transport water from the pumps to the animals. KGK built a kitchen area, supplied with wooden utensils, made from local hardwoods where children can use their imaginations and creativity to cook and play safely. The willow arch tunnels have been a coveted attraction for the visitors to hide, climb, and run through, around, and inside. All of the willow arches and other structures were constructed by Rick Pratt of Around the Bend Furniture, just one of the many local collaborators on this project.
Adults and parents will find that the Nature Discovery Ridge play area is just another addition to an already fun-filled zoo. Time spent with the children exploring this area will be exciting, but relaxing. Parents can enjoy a treat from the Squirrel Cafe as their children play safely and explore all that the area has to offer.
Also located adjacent to the Nature Discovery Ridge is the newly constructed Circle of Wildlife Carousel. The carousel, built by Carousel Works of Mansfield Ohio, features 64 hand-carved animals each of which take about a month to create.