Irvine Nature Center - Nature Play Space

Located next to the Irvine Nature Center in Owings Mills, MD, the nature play space was constructed with a combination of volunteer time, grants and staff input. The initial design of the nature play space was done by the Nature Explorer program of the Arbor Day Foundation. The site serves as an inviting area to play, explore and learn for visitors to the nature center, school groups on field trips and as an outdoor classroom and play area for an on-site nursery school.

The site grew out of an area that included one downed tree and a few natural features that naturally attracted kids and visitors to climb, play and explore. From that idea, the idea of creating a larger more deliberate play area grew to include such areas as a recycled art area, a sand and dirt digging area, tree logs for climbing, a musical area and a stage for programming and creative play.

Nature play area at Irving Nature Center 
Nature play area

Building with tree branch at Irving Nature Center
Building with tree branches

Exploring with loose parts at Irvine Nature Center 
Exploring with loose parts

Children balancing on tree strumps at Irvine Nature Center
Balancing on tree stumps

Growing and harvesting fruits and vegetables at Irvine Nature Center 
Growing and harvesting fruits and vegetables

Exploring hollow tunnels at Irvine Nature Center

Exploring hollow tunnels

Nature art area 
Nature art area


Sand digging area
Sand Digging Area


Water pumping station 
Water Pump Station


Tree stump jump 
Tree Stump Jump


Loose parts 
Loose Parts

Nature art table 
Nature Art Table


Water crossing bridge 
Bridge Across Water


Climbing trees 
Climbing Trees


Musical area 
Musical Area


Tree roots 
Tree Root System

Our Partners

  • Irvine Nature Center
  • Nature Explorers
  • T. Rowe Price
  • Irvine Nature Center Volunteers