Destination: Nature playground at Wilkerson Nature Preserve
Posted April 26, 2012 9:17 p.m. EDT
I wrote about the Annie Louise Wilkerson MD Nature Preserve in north Raleigh last year. The 157-acre preserve, left to the city by Wilkerson, a trailblazing Wake County obstetrician and gynecologist, opened last summer with trails, a nature center and lots of open space to explore.
The preserve also includes a small nature play area with some stumps and logs for kids to play on. I'm told it has been really popular with kids of all ages. My two-year-old loves climbing on the stumps and walking and running around them. It's pretty amazing how much time she can spend here.
Last weekend, a team from CLH Design, an environmentally friendly master planning and site design firm which worked on the preserve project, returned with volunteers from N.C. State's College of Design to add on to the play area. Other local businesses, including Bordeaux Construction and Taylor's Nursery, chipped in time or materials.
The team built a 10-foot-tall teepee, made of branches and vines found at the preserve, and a small vine tunnel for children.
Since I visited the park last year, park manager Marti Kane also has set up all kinds of little habitats for creatures. If you go, be sure to ask Kane or any of her staffers to point them out. And Kane is adding new things at the preserve on a pretty regular basis and has many plans for the future.
Take a closer look at the expanded nature play area in my video interview with Glenn Medlin of CLH Design. The preserve also will have one of its free, drop-in Nature Play Days from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Friday, (an early release day for many Wake students). Park staff will have some special activities and be able to share all kinds of information about what's at the preserve.
And the preserve also got another boost from the City Council this month. The council unanimously voted to issue two sets of authorized bonds, which will pay for a variety of projects including the second phase of development for the preserve. Plans call for converting Wilkerson's residence into an education center.
The preserve is at 11408 Raven Ridge Rd., Raleigh. Click here for more information.