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A new kind of playground in west Raleigh

Posted November 10, 2013

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— As the Triangle becomes more urbanized, it may be challenging for families to find a place for their children to connect with nature. 

A new play area has opened in Raleigh, giving children a chance to experience the outdoors.

The play space at the Prairie Ridge Ecostation provides a place for families to enjoy the natural world together. Prairie Ridge is a 45-acre wilderness in west Raleigh that is part of the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences.

Elizabeth Croom’s 2½-year-old son, Harrison, loves to visit the new natural area.

“It’s not a traditional playground,” Croom said. “It teaches [children] how to use nature as a play space.”

“It’s very open-ended play. We basically just provide an array of natural materials,” Charles Yelton of Prairie Ridge Ecostation said.embed href="video-1"}}

In addition to open space to roam and play, Prairie Ridge also offers workshops for parents, families and educators.

The natural play area is a simple concept, but in a world of subdivisions and apartment complexes, the space is more than just a fun getaway for families. Parents like Croom said they hope this natural play time gives their children a new perspective on the world.

Prairie Ridge is open weekdays and weekends and admission is free.

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  • paul2345 Nov 13, 2013

    Great place just to take a stroll right off Edwards Mill -- along with other local playspaces nearby like Umstead. Unlike Umstead, where the McMansion crowd has done their best to prevent any roadside parking so they have their own private park entrance (Reedy Creek and particularly the tax-payer subsidized Graylyn Road 'no parking' area). Yes, Sam Greenway, my taxes pay for your private road and private entrance to a public park.

  • I am not who you think I am Nov 11, 2013

    wonder if they'll let the kids climb trees and build forts and run with sticks in their hands......OOPS my bad not politically correct to do those things is it

  • JohnnyWalker Nov 11, 2013

    In gtarabokia2's defense, I mean c'mon. Its a news article about something with a specific location. One would expect the address to be in the article. Sure there are alternative methods to finding out where this place is, but jeeeeeez. Chalk another one up for WRAL's crack news team. That is an important part of the story omitted.

  • NCSU84 Nov 11, 2013

    Sorry, meant to say "trees"

  • bill0 Nov 11, 2013

    'For many of us, nature was all we had for a play space. And we had a GREAT time!"

    That is kinda the point of the article. When you fill every available inch with subdivisions and strip malls, it becomes very important to preserve some open spaces for future generations.

  • NCSU84 Nov 11, 2013

    I planted tree there about 6-7 years ago with Trees Across Raleigh! Cool place.

  • RaleighHunts Nov 11, 2013

    Seriously, you can get on the internet to read this article, and you can post comments in the comment section, but you cannot just type the name "Prairie Ridge Ecostation" (written right in the article) directly into your address bar and hit enter? It will immediately show you exactly where it is... I don't mean to be a smartaleck, but seriously...

  • jurydoc Nov 11, 2013

    What a shame that we need a place that, from the article, "teaches [children] how to use nature as a play space.” For many of us, nature was all we had for a play space. And we had a GREAT time!

  • bill0 Nov 11, 2013

    " How can we find out exactly where it is?"

    1671 Gold Star Dr, Raleigh, NC ‎

    Google is your friend

  • gtarabokia2 Nov 11, 2013

    The article didn't give an exact address in west Raleigh. How can we find out exactly where it is?