FOX VALLEY AREA REGIONAL NEWS: Calumet County, Fond du Lac County, Outagamie County, Winnebago County

New ‘Wild Space’ connects kids with nature

Local News

MENASHA, Wis. (WFRV)-There’s a new spot for kids to have fun at the Heckrodt Wetland Reserve in Menasha.

It’s called the Wild Space and today was its grand opening. 

Bryan Schaefer says he brings his family out to Heckrodt Wetland Reserve about twice a month.

“Getting your kids to see nature at a young age is really important,” says Schaefer.

He says the grand opening of the Wild Space is making his family’s visit to the Heckrodt Wetland Reserve special today. His kids enjoy crawling through the tunnels, zooming down the slides, and flying down the zipline.

Maverick Wesner and his family also gave the thumbs up on the new Wild Space area.

“This playground is one of my favorites (of all the playgrounds he’s been on),” says Maverick.

The theme of the playground is to learn about life below our feet as well as life in the canopy. Kids can fill a bucket with materials and pretend to build a nest. They can learn about the sounds owls make and compare their wingspans to the wingspans of the birds that live in the wetlands.

“We can’t just be waving our flag preserve nature preserve nature we need to get people out in nature and when they’re out in it then they want to protect it,” says Heckrodt Nature Reserve Education Director Luke Schiller.  

We’re told the Wild Space is the culmination of two years of work and over $150,000 in donations.

Heckrodt celebrating today with music, gelato, and toy giveaways for the kids. The hope is the Wild Space gets these kids to love nature as much as they do.

“Nature is therapeutic, it’s great for our hearts and lungs and it’s great to get outside and get some physical activity,” says Schiller.

The soft opening of the Wild space was in November but that all the components of the space that were on display today weren’t ready at that time. 

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