In partnership with community partners, PARD will be installing nature play features across the parks system in an effort to increase the opportunity for children and families to engage with the natural world. The first round of parks to have this installation in 2020 focus on areas of Austin that are considered “nature deficient,” including Armadillo Neighborhood Park.


Studies have shown that children who learn and play in nature are healthier, happier, and smarter. In March of 2016, the City of Austin was one of seven cities nationwide selected to receive a planning grant from the project partners for Cities Connecting Children to Nature. The grant funded a six-month strategic planning process that brought together representatives from ten city departments, AISD, the health sector and nonprofit organizations in order to create a 3-year Implementation Plan that identifies how city leadership can provide abundant and equitable access to nature for the children of Austin, with a specific focus on children in low-income communities and children of color.

To achieve these goals, we conducted extensive research and mapping to identify areas of Austin with the largest gaps in nature equity. This informed our selection of the areas where priority implementation strategies are focused.

The addition of nature play features throughout our parks system also helps meet the City’s Strategic Direction 2023 through the Health & Environment outcome, whose goal is for citizens to enjoy a sustainable environment and a healthy life, physically and mentally.

Project Description

This project will focus on adding nature play features throughout Armadillo Neighborhood Park for families to enjoy. The features, including stump jumps, climbing logs, loose parts play and seating areas, will be constructed of reclaimed wood and local stone, in keeping with the existing natural character of the park. Over the next several months, we will gather input, develop and design a park plan, and build new nature play features at the park. The proposed date of completion is spring 2023. These features will be beneficial for children and families by providing play opportunities that encourage exploration, imagination, and cooperative play.


  • Provide play opportunities in a park that is otherwise unsuitable for a traditional playscape
  • Activate underutilized park space within a growing neighborhood
  • Increase opportunity for children to interact with the natural world

Anticipated Schedule

  • Winter2020: Conducted community engagement
  • Fall 2022: Developed and designed a park plan
  • Winter 2022: Construction begins*
  • Spring 2023: New features available for public use*

*Due to COVID-19, construction timeline has been modified

Funding & Resources

This project will be funded through community partnerships.

Community Engagement

One community meeting will be held at the start of this project for a hands-on look at various nature play options and gather input on feature selection. An additional meeting will be held prior to construction to present the final design and discuss how input was incorporated.

Community Meeting #1
February 22, 2020,
10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Armadillo Neighborhood Park
910 Armadillo Rd, Austin, TX 78745

The purpose of this meeting was to gather input from the neighborhood on nature play feature options for the park and provide hands-on nature play opportunities.

Community Meeting #2
Date, Time, Location TBD

The purpose of this meeting is to present the final design to neighborhood and discuss any remaining concerns.


For program questions, contact Melody Alcazar by email or 512-974-9466.