Howard County Conservancy - Nature Play Space

The natural play area at the Howard County Conservancy and is open to families coming to visit the conservancy, hike on the trails, or even to students and families visiting on school field trips. The play area features balance logs, stumps for hopping and jumping, and a chainsaw log carving of a barred owl.

The area also includes a garden of native plants as well as plants that were selected to provide a sensory experience that encourages visitors to smell and touch. Plantings include: lavender, mint, lemon balm, salvia, dianthus, lamb’s ear, bee balm, cat mint, yarrow and thyme. The plants are labeled and positioned for easy access. Visitors can also observe pollinators at work. A trumpet vine grows next to the garden and produces a large orange flower that is visited by hummingbirds and butterflies. A hazelnut tree and beautyberries are planted next to a large log that shows decomposition in action. These plantings will supply food for birds as well as small animals.

The natural play area is located on the trail network and near many other educational areas on the Conservancy’s 232-acres, including the chicken house, the goat pen, the Master Gardener’s "Grow It, Eat It" demonstration garden and a 200-year-old peg barn that was saved from demolition and rebuilt at the Conservancy.

Log carving of an owl
Log Carving


Fallen tree
Fallen Tree​

Children's area
Children's Area​


Native plant garden
Native Plant Garden