UNIVERSITY CITY, Mo. – The Missouri Botanical Garden will soon move forward with plans to develop an innovative nature playscape in University City, an outdoor play and learning area for young children.

Garden leaders will receive a $75,000 grant from the PNC Foundation through the PNC Grow Up Great initiative. Current plans call for the new playspace at University City’s Julia Goldstein Early Childhood Education Center.

The grant will help fund garden work “to develop a nature-rich playscape, designed to stimulate imagination, curiosity and positive socio-emotional outcomes among young learners,” according to a news release from the garden.

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The garden aims to integrate nature-based STEM concepts into the playspace.

“As a champion and facilitator of nature-based learning, the Garden recognizes the vital role outdoor play represents in helping children cultivate connections with people, plants and the environment,” said Sean Doherty, vice president of Education for Missouri Botanical Garden. “PNC Foundation’s support will allow the Garden to lean into our work as a convener and leader in educational outreach as we collaboratively create this transformative learning environment for children, families and educators at Julia Goldstein Early Childhood Education Center.” 

Work on the nature playscape is slated to begin this summer. Crews anticipated to complete construction on the playspace by fall 2025.