New Natural Landscape Playground at Zoo

Sixty years ago, Robert Kallman—then owner of a thriving nursery and later a county supervisor—played a pivotal role locating the Santa Barbara Zoo in its current location; as an accent note to that accomplishment, Kallman and his family provided key funding for the creation of a new children’s play garden at the zoo, which opens this weekend. The new garden was designed to give kids a more natural landscape on which to frolic rather than a traditional playground jungle gym. By doing so, the thinking is that kids can be encouraged to play in nature rather than on built structures. To this end, designer Amy Pryor included a toddler-appropriate maze only 18 inches high, climbing boulders, a dry artificial creek bed, statues of small animals, and a kid-sized teepee covered in pink Wonga Wonga vines. According to the press release, adult conservationists “almost always had a transcendent experience in nature as children.”

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