LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) - Kids and adults in the community have been formally invited to the Myrick Hixon EcoPark to play on the Forest Scramble Playscape, a tree house-style play structure.
The EcoPark held a grand opening ceremony with a ribbon cutting on Thursday morning.
"We're excited to be able to offer a structure for the community that can show kids what it is to climb a tree, kinda be like a squirrel up in a tree," said Myrick Hixon EcoPark Executive Director Jean Chromey.
An attendant will be at the Forest Scramble structure when it's open, which is on Thursdays from Noon – 6 p.m., Fridays from Noon – 6 p.m., Saturdays from 9 a.m .– 6 p.m. and Sundays from Noon – 4 p.m.
"It's a unique structure and it is just a small portion of what the planned structure will look like when finished."
The Forest Scramble Playscape is one of four planned interactive areas that EcoPark leaders hope to complete by June 2017.
"We have Wild Water, which is on top of the hill and that's a small portion and that's about one-fourth of what the overall structure will be when complete," Chromey said. The Wild Water will be a place where children control the flow of water through a series of waterfalls, channels and marshes.
"The Prairie Mystery Maze -which is almost the most complete structure we have – it's made of prairie grass and there's a maze that weaves in through the prairie grass," Chromey said.
There will also be a barn, which Chromey said is the cornerstone of a playscape called Farm Play "which teaches kids how to source local food. So we'll be adding some demonstration gardens and small farm play area."
EcoPark leaders are in the process of raising funds to be able to complete the entire structure. It's a $4.4 million campaign, with money to be set aside for short and long term operating goals.
"It's important because there are too many kids spending too much time in front of computers," Chromey said. "There's statistics and research that shows that letting kids outdoors is good for their health and creates much more creative thinking in children and adults and it's not just kids – it's getting adults active."
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