Bringing Nature Play to Wellfleet Bay

Young boy sitting on a log at Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary during a preschool program

Time in nature is not leisure time; it's an essential investment in our children's health (and also, by the way, in our own).

–Richard Louv, 'Last Child in the Woods'

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Nature Play Areas add more ways for children to connect with nature by encouraging self-directed, informal play. Unlike traditional playgrounds, these areas give children the chance to solve problems and develop creative solutions through natural elements and unstructured exploration.

Creating an accessible Nature Play Area at Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary will serve as a year-round resource for countless local families and enhance our ability to meet the community's need.


Creating Opportunities for Outdoor Play


At Wellfleet Bay's new Nature Play Area the logs, sticks, and stones (all recycled from the sanctuary property) will become jungle gyms, lean-to shelters, and balance beams. There will be places to imagine, build, and climb; a cool shady spot to play in summer, shallow pools to investigate on rainy days, and wildlife tracks to discover in winter.

Children will be able to:

  • Zig-zag along a series of stumps and logs
  • Play a tune at a musical fence
  • Find everything needed to build fairy homes at an accessible play table
  • Explore a bird blind complete with spotting scopes (PVC tubes), wooden toy cameras, and binoculars

The Nature Play Area will be universally accessible from the visitor center, and ADA-compliant picnic tables will await parents and weary kids ready for a snack. It will also have direct access to the Silver Spring and the Robert Read All-Persons Trails.


Why This Matters


The recent pandemic has reinforced the importance of nature and its physical, emotional, and cognitive benefits to people of all ages and abilities.

The changes in the world have only strengthened Mass Audubon Wellfleet Bay’s commitment to promoting inclusive and equitable access to nature for everyone.

But we can't do this without your support.


Make an Impact


We’re closing in on a $25,000 matching challenge!

An anonymous donor has offered a $25,000 matching challenge gift to help us close the distance to our goal! Now we're just $10,000 away from meeting that challenge and realizing our goal of funding and completing the Nature Play Area by spring of 2022.

→ Thanks to this matching challenge, your contribution will have double the impact.

Give Now

Our community has turned to the healing power of nature now more than ever. Please help us reach our goal by making a gift today!

Ways to Give

  • Donate online >
  • By Phone: Call Wendy O'Keefe at 508-556-7806
  • By Mail: Make your check payable to Mass Audubon (with "Nature Play at Wellfleet Bay" in the memo line) and send it to Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary, ATTN: Wendy O’Keefe, 291 State Highway Route 6, South Wellfleet, MA 02663