Bison’s Bluff Nature Playground

Bison’s Bluff Nature Playground

Schaumburg is a suburban community northeast of Chicago with plenty of family-friendly attractions! It’s home to the massive Woodfield Mall, the International Sculpture Park, and the Trickster Cultural Center.

The new Bison’s Bluff Nature Playground at Spring Valley Nature Center is great for kids of all ages. Kids can explore a wetland ecosystem with features like Cattail Chaos, build muskrat and beaver lodges and hop across painted turtle art. Read this first!

Climbing Structures

The 3.5-acre park inspires open-ended, creative play that mimics the kind of natural experience enjoyed by previous generations of children who roamed vacant lots, creek beds, and woodlands. The nature playground was custom designed to include naturally occurring materials like logs and boulders as well as manufactured structures like a rock bluff and cliff, sand area, wetland, prairie, and a beaver lodge.

Kids will love to climb the “curious raccoon rendezvous” multi-tiered treehouse, sift through cobbles in the wetland-themed area, hop across Sallie the Salamander, make tunes on giant chimes, or create nature art in the prairie ecosystem. They will also enjoy the savannah climbing zone, rodent run, and mud pits or visit the dragonfly kaleidoscope and other interactive learning zones.

The nature playground is part of the larger 135-acre Spring Valley Nature Center and Heritage Farm which includes walking trails, a visitor center, and a historical farm with animals. The property is a great place to spend a few hours or an entire day.

Wetland Ecosystem

The natural play area features a wetland ecosystem with a creek, pond, and woodland tree canopy. Children can explore the environment by dipping sticks in water, building with logs, and playing with clay and sand. They can also take a ride on a seed spinner and create music with wood and metal percussion instruments.

While unstructured play often takes a back seat in an era of organized activities and screens, Schaumburg Park District officials want to ensure that this type of learning through natural experience doesn’t disappear completely. That’s the idea behind Bison’s Bluff, a new nature-based playground at the Spring Valley Nature Center.

The park’s other sub-attractions include the Volkening Heritage Farm and more than 3 miles of hiking trails, as well as a library room filled with topics about nature. The Nature Play Discovery Trail leads to smaller, themed “play pockets” for more secluded outdoor exploration and discovery. This is a great place for kids of all ages, though parents will need to closely watch younger children near the water features and climbing structures. Discover more exciting places here.

Prairie Ecosystem

In a time when unstructured play is rapidly disappearing as kids get tangled up in their devices and busy schedules, Schaumburg Park District wanted to provide an opportunity for children of all ages to reconnect with nature. The result is Bison’s Bluff, a play space within Spring Valley that immerses visitors in a prairie, wetlands, and oak savanna ecosystem.

In the wetland-themed section, kids can leap across stepping stones in a shallow pond, explore music in a dragonfly kaleidoscope and sift cobbles at the wetlands discovery station. Meanwhile, in the prairie-themed section, they can jump over Sallie the Salamander, muse on the “music of the prairie” and muscle up the multi-tiered treehouse. There’s also the savannah ecosystem where they can hop over the rock-hopping creek, race through a rodent run, and muscle up on the bluff climbing zone. Kids will have a blast exploring this new nature playground that seamlessly blends natural play elements with exciting structures.

Savannah Ecosystem

Located on 135 acres, this nature area is home to wetlands, streams, forests, and prairies. The park includes Bison’s Bluff, Vera Meineke Nature Center, and Volkening Heritage Farm visitor centers, as well as more than 3 miles of nature trails.

The design of this natural playground is a mix of both natural elements and manufactured features that mimic a rock bluff and cliff, a flowing stream, a wetland, a beaver lodge, a savannah, and more. It was designed to inspire active, open-ended, and creative forms of play that are similar to the way that previous generations of kids used to play in the woods and fields near their homes.

Kids can run, jump, balance, and explore in this nature play space. They can dig and build in a pit of finely ground dirt, make mud pies, and navigate rugged zebra-patterned balance beams. They can also leap across stepping stones in a shallow pond, create dams and sort cobbles in a stream bed, participate in painted turtle art, and hop across Sallie the Salamander. Find out more!


Driving directions from Decked Out Builders to Bison’s Bluff Nature Playground

Driving directions from Bison’s Bluff Nature Playground to The Water Works Indoor Water Park