Watch this video to see unstructured play at The Grove in action!



  1. Get messy!

  2. Touch it all.

  3. Leave everything here.

  4. Be respectful of others.

  5. Use rocks and sticks for creating, not for throwing or fighting.

  6. Explore. Pretend. Make friends.

  7. Be safe. Have fun!

  8. Leave the electronics at home.


  • Water bottle

  • Sunscreen

  • Insect repellent

  • Blankets or towels to protect car interiors on the way home

  • Picnic lunch or snacks

Please Note

  • Groups of 10+ should call to find the optimal time to visit: 815-335-2915

  • Climbing features are intended for ages 5-12.

  • Children must be accompanied by an adult

The Grove Nature Playscape is a place where kids can use their imaginations to explore natural materials in a playful way. 

This certified Nature Explore playground has a few different areas to dig into that highlight different kinds of play and learning.

The Tone Zone provides opportunities for creating sounds using a variety of different instruments.

At The Block Lab kids can build with wooden blocks and tree cookies. The building possibilities are endless!!

The Spiders Web is a great place for kids to climb, play and use their imaginations. You would be surprised by the games they come up with!!

The Inspiration Tree is the fallen log that started it all. This tree was just off of the parking lot and kids would naturally gravitate to it and start climbing. This was the beginning of The Grove!

The Leopold Shack was designed as a covered hang-out spot for kids to be creative. There are shelves for kids to display found objects and create their own cabinet of curiosity. 

The Art Pod has slate easels for kids to paint with water from the cistern attached to Leopold's Shack. A sand table entices kids to experiment, and a large table provides plenty of space for creating. 

About the artists:

Local artists David Stocker and Drew Helge worked on creating The Grove. Check out a video of Drew and David discussing the creation of The Grove. David explains, “Drew and I used mainly wood and stone. We integrated fun found objects with natural materials in five creative unstructured play areas; for sound exploration, for art, for climbing, calling and listening, so that curious kids (and their parents and grandparents) can experience the natural world in new and inviting ways. There is no instruction booklet for The Grove.”

Musician David Stocker performs at the grove’s bandshell.

Musician David Stocker performs at the grove’s bandshell.

Artist Drew Helge demonstrates working with clay at the grove.

Artist Drew Helge demonstrates working with clay at the grove.

In the news:

Northwest Quarterly article about The Grove

Rockford Register Star article about The Grove

WIFR article on The Grove’s Grand Opening