Have you heard? There’s a brand new, “Nature inspired,” playground for kids at Northwest Trek. Reader mom, Julie, went with her gang and has this review for you!
After more than four years of dreaming and building, Kids’ Trek at Northwest Trek Wildlife Park is complete…and it’s magnificent!
Northwest Trek Wildlife Park is located in Eatonville, WA and it’s the sister zoo to Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium. It features animals native to the Pacific Northwest on a walk through tour, plus a narrated tram ride that winds through 435 acres of forests, meadows, and wetlands where you can view moose, elk, deer, bison, big horn sheep, and others roaming about their habitat.
The new Kids’ Trek is a half-acre, nature-themed play area, and it’s a great addition to the park. There are several distinct areas for kids to explore and play, and it’s created to be multi-level to encourage climbing on the stairs, bridges, and tunnels. Kids’ Trek is also ADA accessible.
Immediately upon entering is an area with two kid size log cabins alongside a big sand area with buckets, shovels, and weeping rock providing just enough water for wet sand play. My five year old was fascinated by this feature and spent a long time playing just at the edge of the wet area.
There is also a “construction” area featuring a root wad cave, a tunnel, and plenty of tumbled sticks to get creative and build. In the center of the play area is a large “tree” trunk with a couple of ways to enter and exit, including a 15-foot fireman’s pole! Our four kids loved hanging out on the cargo nets inside the tree. There is also an Eagles Nest, a tunnel slide (my favorite!), and couple of different cargo nets to climb to the top of the rocks.
Down one side of the play area is a cascading waterfall with stepping-stones, logs to cross, and a beaver dam. It’s only a couple of inches deep, but is constructed to include the swirls and eddies you would see in a real mountain stream. Kids are encouraged to splash and play (bring dry clothes and boots!), and the water is lightly chlorinated to keep it safe for play.
Next to the stream is a pump with potable water for kids who are working up a thirst. What did my kids like best? Well, they liked all of it. When playing with their older cousins (ages 10 and 13), they preferred the tree and slides. When their cousins went to get a snack, my 5 and 6 year olds went to the sand and weeping rock and stayed put. My 5 year old liked the small log cabins best. A win for everyone!
Parents with younger kids will appreciate that there is only one entrance/exit. The rest of the play area is fenced in.
Our crew played in Kids’ Trek for nearly two hours before our tram ride, and asked to go back after we visited the animals. “It’s just like playing in the woods, only there’s more stuff to do!” exclaimed my 6 year old daughter.
Check out Northwest Trek’s website for more info at nwtrek.org. Visits to Kids’ Trek are included with daily admission to NW Trek or with membership.