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Prospect Park

The Daily Plant : Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Zucker Natural Exploration Area Opens In Prospect Park

Photo by Daniel Avila

Funded by a generous gift from the Donald and Barbara Zucker Family Foundation, on October 6, NYC Parks and the Prospect Park Alliance opened the Donald and Barbara Zucker Natural Exploration Area in Prospect Park. Using trees damaged by recent storms and other materials from within the Park, the Alliance created this new natural exploration area for children, in Nellie’s Lawn, enlivening the northeast portion of the Park.

Originally named “The Children’s Playground” by Park co-designers Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, the northeast region of the Park was envisioned to be primarily for children. With the Zucker Natural Exploration Area, children are welcomed back to this region. With its unique collection of recycled trees, the Exploration Area provides an opportunity for children to learn the interesting history of many of the Park’s trees, through interpretative signs that tell their story.

“We are grateful to Donald and Barbara Zucker for their support of Prospect Park and we are very enthusiastic about the addition of this innovative exploration area for children,” said Emily Lloyd, President of the Prospect Park Alliance. She added, “We hope that the Zucker Natural Exploration Area will help generate excitement for this long-overlooked section of the Park as the Prospect Park Alliance begins to develop plans for its restoration.”

“The Donald and Barbara Zucker Natural Exploration Area will enable children to interact with nature on their own terms,” said NYC Parks Commissioner Veronica M. White. “I want to thank the Zuckers for their generosity in helping recreate the vision of Olmsted and Vaux for Prospect Park with an area that will encourage children to have active fun while learning about nature.”

The Donald and Barbara Zucker Natural Exploration Area provides innovative play structures using natural elements found in the Park, such as logs and boulders. Basic elements of wood and stone have been used to create tunnels, steps, sitting and climbing areas. Sand, water, and moveable wooden pieces will encourage unstructured free play, allowing children to exercise their minds as well as their muscles.


“The future, according to some scientists,
will be exactly like the past, only far more expensive.”

John Sladek
(1937 - 2000)

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