Forest Park’s Anne O’C. Albrecht Nature Playscape To Open June 2

St Louis Forest Park Playscape

Funded by donors to Forest Park Forever, the 17-acre experiential destination will open to the public June 2, 2021

Forest Park Forever and the City of St. Louis Department of Parks, Recreation and Forestry are pleased to announce that the new Anne O’C. Albrecht Nature Playscape in Forest Park will open to the public on Wednesday, June 2, 2021.

This highly anticipated opening follows nearly two years of construction to transform what had been 17 acres of turf grass into a one-of-a-kind experiential play space with natural landscapes that include native and diverse species. The project was funded by donors to the nonprofit conservancy Forest Park Forever and completed in partnership with the City of St. Louis.

Located in the heart of Forest Park near the World’s Fair Pavilion, the Anne O’C. Albrecht Nature Playscape was built to enable visitors, especially children, to connect with nature and engage their senses as they explore, discover and learn. The destination features nine distinct activity areas — including a Sensory Garden, Spring, Meadow, Mounds and Wetland — and a series of accessible paths and boardwalks that connect them. In addition to general wayfinding for visitors, the Playscape will feature a series of kid-friendly interpretive signs created by elementary students at the Biome  School, Bryan Hill Elementary, Rockwood Center for Creative Learning, and Sacred Heart Villa.

The Anne O’C. Albrecht Nature Playscape was funded by donors to Forever: The Campaign for Forest Park’s Future, Forest Park Forever’s $139 million capital and endowment fundraising effort that was completed in 2017, as well as additional generous donors who supported the project through 2019. The lead gift was provided by the Albrecht Family Foundation. Additional leadership support for the Playscape came from Paula and Rodger Riney; Mary Jo Abrahamson; Ameren Corporate Charitable Trust; Crawford Taylor Foundation; Dana Brown Charitable Trust; Dula-Kobusch Charitable Trust; Nancy and Don Ross; and Trio Foundation of St. Louis.

“We are thrilled to announce our June 2 opening date for the new Anne O’C. Albrecht Nature Playscape,” said Lesley S. Hoffarth, P.E., President and Executive Director of Forest Park Forever. “Our team is in the final stages of planting, chip-sealing the path system and more. We can’t wait to see the Playscape filled with smiles this June — and for decades to come.”

“We look forward to the Anne O’C. Albrecht Nature Playscape opening to visitors this June,” said Greg Hayes, Director of Parks, Recreation & Forestry for the City of St. Louis. “We know how important outdoor green spaces are especially at this time, and this destination will be a fantastic new offering for St. Louisans and visitors to the region.”

Anne O’C. Albrecht Nature Playscape By the Numbers

  • Playscape Size: 17 acres
  • Trees planted: 300
  • Shrubs planted: 700
  • Perennials Planted: 40,000
  • Boulders & Rocks: 1,500 tons, including Missouri limestone
  • Paths: 1+ miles
  • Boardwalks: 4
  • Wood Stump Steppers: 1,500+
  • Sand for Play Areas: 30 tons
  • Hand Water Pumps: 5
  • Boot-Washing Stations: 2
  • Benches: 30+ made from fallen or hazard local trees
  • Bike Racks: 7
  • Drinking Fountains: 3
  • Design & Build Cost: $5 million
  • Cost to enter and enjoy: $0

Design & Build Process
The Anne O’C. Albrecht Nature Playscape in Forest Park was developed, designed and created by a dynamic team of national experts in the fields of design, architecture, urban planning and design, landscape architecture and play spaces in collaboration with Forest Park Forever, the City of St. Louis and local leaders in the areas of child development, experiential and outdoor education, play and access. The design team was led by New York City-based Interboro Partners, along with New York City-based Rubus Landscape Architecture and St. Louis-based engineers David Mason + Associates. The Natural Learning Initiative at North Carolina State University and St. Louis-based H3 Studio were critical to the project’s development and ongoing progress. Interboro and St. Louis-based Citizen Carpentry led innovative and interactive engagement with a diverse community of St. Louis youth from more than 20 schools, recreation centers and youth/education organizations. Missouri-based Landesign has been the project’s general contractor, with Forest Park Forever staff managing the plant installation.

Playscape & Forest Park Hours
The Anne O’C. Albrecht is open for visitors during Forest Park’s hours, which are 6 a.m. – 10 p.m.

Learn More & Stay Updated
Visit forestparkforever.org/playscape to see visitor tips, an FAQ and more.

About Forest Park Forever
Founded in 1986, Forest Park Forever is a private nonprofit conservancy that works in partnership with the City of St. Louis and the Department of Parks, Recreation and Forestry to restore, maintain and sustain Forest Park as one of America’s greatest urban public parks.

Forest Park Forever has led major fundraising efforts to restore many landmark destinations in Forest Park, including the Emerson Grand Basin, the Boathouse and the Jewel Box. In 2017, the organization completed a major fundraising campaign securing $139 million for Park restoration projects and an expanded endowment.

Today, Forest Park Forever maintains Forest Park with the City of St. Louis; raises funds for and helps manage capital restoration projects called for in the Forest Park Master Plan; delivers experiential educational opportunities to teachers, students and adults; and provides information and guides for the Park’s 13 million annual visitors. Not part of the Zoo-Museum Tax District, Forest Park Forever is supported by private donations from throughout the community, including its 7,000 members, 1,100 volunteers and many leading community and corporate partners.

Connect with us at facebook.com/forestparkforever, twitter.com/forestpark4ever and instagram.com/forestparkforever.

About Forest Park
Forest Park in St. Louis, Missouri, is considered one of the nation’s greatest urban public parks. The Park’s 1,300 acres feature beautiful landscapes sprinkled with forests, ecosystems, nature reserves, lakes and streams, as well as five of the region’s major cultural institutions and endless opportunities for recreation. Forest Park attracts 13 million visitors each year, making it the sixth most visited urban park in the United States. In 2021, Forest Park was voted the #2 City Park in the country by readers of USA Today.