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Parking will be limited at the Nature Center to allow for construction equipment and deliveries to be made as Acorn Acres progress continues. Additional parking is available in the north overflow parking lot (1213 Bellevue Blvd. N.).

Parking will be limited at the Nature Center to allow for construction equipment and deliveries to be made as Acorn Acres progress continues. Additional parking is available in the north overflow parking lot (1213 Bellevue Blvd. N.).

Acorn Acres Construction to Begin May 28

 

After much anticipation, construction in Acorn Acres will begin on May 28 and is expected to open to the public this fall! 

Acorn Acres – a half-acre natural playscape in the heart of Fontenelle Forest – is an outdoor experience that introduces visitors of all ages and comfort levels to nature.

The space will be renovated this summer, keeping the same goals as when it was originally developed in 2008: to connect families and explorers of all ages through unstructured play, provide a safe space to explore nature, and welcome new visitors to Fontenelle Forest. It is a place to inspire curiosity, reduce possible fear or uncertainty about nature, and be especially inclusive.

Features

A rending of a treehouse with a ramp surrounded by green area.

Concept rendering of Tom’s Treehouse, which will be the centerpiece of the reimagined Acorn Acres. Tom’s Treehouse will be nestled within the natural canopy of Acorn Acres

Acorn Acres provides countless opportunities to discover nature through hands-on interactions which support imagination, socialization, and independence. Instead of conventional manufactured play equipment, Acorn Acres will feature exciting arrangements of trees, logs, and rocks to stimulate the senses and provide a gateway for visitors to feel comfortable exploring the rest of the forest, Riverview Boardwalk, and dirt trails. The centerpiece will be a two-story treehouse, made from real, harvested trees. Tom’s Treehouse is a memorial to the late Thomas J. Morrow.

Accessibility

Fontenelle Forest has committed to incorporating accessibility practices into the Acorn Acres project design. We partnered with HDR and All Kinds Accessibility Consulting – a disability-led creative accommodations consultancy – to guide us through accessibility considerations. It is our goal to create a space for as many people as possible to explore, play, and learn.

The reimagined Acorn Acres will incorporate accommodations for people using mobility aids and with needs related to sight, tactility, sensory, energy allocation, and caregiving. We prioritized signage with high contrast, low glare, and text colors that meet luminescence standards, raised lettering, and pictograms.

Due to the vast array of access needs of our visitors, as well as needs we cannot anticipate, we know we will not meet everyone where they are. Even so, we will continue to explore ways to ensure Fontenelle Forest can be as accessible as possible.

Partners

This natural playscape would not be possible without the generosity of our donor community. Special thanks to:

    • John and Elizabeth Lauritzen Foundation
    • Bruce and Gerry Lauritzen
    • Pape Family Foundation
    • Sydney Winstrom
    • Parker Family Foundation
    • Dixon Family Foundation
    • Amy L. Scott Family Foundation
    • The Sherwood Foundation
    • Kiewit Companies Foundation
    • William and Ruth Scott Family Foundation
    • Claire M. Hubbard Foundation

Follow Along

The Nature Center, Riverview Boardwalk, and trails are anticipated to remain open with minimal disruption throughout construction, though short-term closures may occur. We will communicate applicable closures in advance via our website “alerts” button, social media, and through visitor services.

We realize that seeing big changes in the Acorn Acres area can be exciting for some visitors and disruptive for others. There will be large construction machines on site, which may occasionally produce loud noises.

Fontenelle Forest encourages all to follow along this project’s progress through social media, e-newsletters, and conversations with the Visitor Services team. For the safety of visitors and staff, we ask that guests refrain from entering Acorn Acres during construction.


 

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Fontenelle Forest is a 501(c)(3) tax exempt nonprofit.

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