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The Nature Playground at Westminster Station Park

Westminster, Colorado

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Interactive Nature Play Area Connects Community to Westminster Station Park and Little Dry Creek Park

The Westminster Station Park Nature Playground showcases a large playground, innovative water quality treatment area, and a gathering pavilion that overlooks Little Dry Creek and the entire Westminster Station Park. The nature playground portion includes custom tree forts and rope bridges that connect various feature within the park, a sand play area with realistic dinosaur fossils, a bubbling spiral rock fountain, and a cascading water feature that children can play in and around. 

A part of Matrix Design Group’s team, Muller provided civil engineering design and construction support services for the nature play improvements in Little Dry Creek Park. Services consisted of planning, layout, and grading of improvements which include the nature play area, concrete paths, stairs, gathering spaces, restroom, and structural design of the smaller concrete wall and stair features. “There’s a lot of science behind sending kids out into nature. Kids stay a lot longer in a natural area than a standard playground,” said Nicole Ankeney, senior landscape architect with the City of Westminster. “We are bringing nature to the kids.”

CEI Constructors harvested rock from waste piles at old mining sites in the South Park area in the adjacent Rocky Mountains and imported it to create a mountain environment in Westminster with sustainable materials. Additionally, during the preconstruction phase, the contractor found subsurface alluvial material below the water table that could be stockpiled and reused elsewhere on site as needed. CEI/Muller collaborated to quantify this available material and reduced the export from the site and the import of commonly required materials by 13,000 cubic yards. Resulting approximate project cost savings were $350,000.

The multi-functional park provides overlapping regional detention and site improvements supporting the adjacent RTD Westminster Station, engaging the local community far beyond what traditional flood storage infrastructure would provide. Additional environmental benefits were provided by salvaging removed trees to create underwater fish habitat, the re-use of mining byproducts mentioned above, and the removal of extensive amounts of trash (junk couches, tires, etc.) from Little Dry Creek. 

The City and design team worked with the nearby Colorado STEM Academy to use the nature playground portion of the park as a project-based learning experience. STEM Academy students provided drawings and dioramas of ideas for a playground to connect kids to nature, which designers then used as the inspiration for the final design.


City of Westminster




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