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New Nature Play Areas and Interpretive Exhibits Coming to North Mississippi Regional Park

Via a June 12 e-newsletter from Minneapolis Parks and Rec Board:

Superintendent Mary Merrill announced a series of recently awarded grants from local, state and national nonprofits and government agencies at last week's meeting of the Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board (MPRB). Totaling more than $700,000, the grants will fund major new features at North Mississippi Regional Park, situated on the Mississippi River in North Minneapolis, and the park's Carl W. Kroening Interpretive Center.

 interactive nature play trail

Nature play area and adventure trail

A new nature play area and adventure trail are planned for sites in the park adjacent to the interpretive center. Using materials like logs, sticks, rocks and water, nature play areas are designed to foster imaginative play and a deeper connection to the natural world; the park's adventure trail will feature dynamic components to entice children of all ages and adults to climb, hop, run, swing, and jump their way through the park. Both features will be designed with input from local communities in North and Northeast Minneapolis, and were made possible through two grants:

  • $35,000 from People for Parks. This grant, the largest in the Minneapolis nonprofit's 41-year history, made the project eligible for matching funds through the Meet Me at the Park program.

"Nature play areas provide a wonderful way to promote discovery, creativity and imagination through outdoor experiences,” said Superintendent Merrill. “We’re excited about diversifying outdoor play opportunities at Minneapolis parks and grateful for partners like People for Parks to help make that happen.” 

The Minneapolis park system welcomed its first nature play area near the Lake Nokomis Community Center in south Minneapolis last summer, and additional nature play areas are included in plans for a range of other parks as part of MPRB's master plans for the city’s neighborhood park system

"Nature in the City" interactive exhibits

The existing exhibits at Kroening Interpretive Center, which date back to the building's opening in 2002, have been partially dismantled due to safety concerns. Thanks to the funders listed below, they'll be replaced with new, hands-on "Nature in the City" exhibits that incorporate citizen science and themes including water (Shingle Creek runs into the Mississippi River at the park's south end); native plants and pollinators; wildlife such as coyotes, crows and beavers and its adaptation to city life; and flight (dragonflies, Mississippi flyway, migration). The project has received final approval and funding from the the following sources:

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