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Encouraging Outdoor Play

Young kids will love our all-new Little Explorers Nature Play Garden! The immersive play garden is designed to cultivate a sense of excitement and appreciation for nature and is included with general admission and membership.

The Nature Play Garden will be closed Oct. 17, 2023-Jan. 2024 for Zoolights.   

Let Your Imagination Soar

Bugs Alive!
Program has ended for the season.

Get up close and personal with our crawly animals during a keeper presentation! Will you come face to face with an Emperor Scorpion? Or maybe a Brazilian Black Tarantula?

Bugs Alive!
Nature Play

Children learn to appreciate the environment by interacting with nature on their own terms. Touching a fuzzy leaf, balancing on a log, watching a bee flitting between colorful blooms… all these build motor skills and develop curiosity. Plus, nature play is fun and beneficial!


Kids, adults, plants and pollinators all co-exist in the Nature Play Garden. Watch as butterflies, birds, bees and countless other insects all delight in this garden. Learn how to share your own yard at home with pollinators.

Buzz! The Nature Play Garden takes wing

Imagine, build, play!

Play Among the Plants
Immersive Nature Play
Buzzing with Pollinators
Test Your Balance
Get Your Wiggles Out
Bugs Alive!

Nature Play at Home

Scavenger Hunts, Nature Science and a Helpful Guide

Even the smallest space transformed into a space that promotes nature play can have a significant effect. This Nature Play at Home Guide has some great helpful suggestions for adapting home spaces for nature play. For scavenger hunts, nature science, crafts ideas and more visit our Nature at Home page.

Nature at Home
Nature Play Near You

Looking for other local spots that promote play and connection to nature? At our sister zoo, Northwest Trek there is a wonderful place to let your children get their wiggles out and connect to nature. We are talking about Kids’ Trek, a nature-inspired playground complete with ropes, slides, playhouses and a giant climbing tree! It’s free with park admission and open whenever the park is open.

Discover Kids' Trek