The playground at Walnut Creek Metropolitan Park is now opened after being renovated to provide a leading, accessible playground for children of all ages and abilities in North Austin. The design features a loop exploration path through a sensory garden, a rubber safety surface with a variety of ground-level play opportunities, and an iconic platform structure that thematically aligns with the natural areas surrounding the playground. An area of the park has also been transformed into the Parks and Recreation Department’s first official Nature Play Space. The signature play feature is the Fairy Pavilion, re-homed from the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center’s Fortlandia exhibit. Additional nature play features include all-natural elements that invite children to climb, build, and explore the space. This nature-play expansion was supported by a grant from St. David's Foundation.

Previously, Earth Native Wilderness School, working in partnership with the City of Austin Parks and Recreation Department, helped families connect more deeply with Austin’s wonderful Walnut Creek Metro Park and the new natural play feature that has recently been added to the park, including the Fairy Pavilion, stump jumps, and more. We hope you all had fun exploring the park and learning something new with Earth Native Wilderness School!

Park History

Walnut Creek Metro Park is a 293-acre public park in Northeast Austin. The park was mostly developed in the 1960s and '70s, with the current playground installed in the early 2000s. The metropolitan park serves citizens across Austin.

Project Description

This project focuses on providing a new, enjoyable playground in Walnut Creek Metropolitan Park that meets and exceeds accessibility and playground standards while providing improved play opportunities for park visitors. The playground remains in its current location, but the new design was expanded to incorporate nature discovery opportunities throughout the space.

The park project was completed in mid-2021. We believe this park will create a more inclusive, comfortable space for many years to come.

Project Objectives

  • Improve accessibility and inclusivity for children of all ages and abilities
  • Limit risk to playground safety hazards including low branches and nearby parking lot
  • Provide new play features to allow maximum enjoyment of the area
  • Provide nature play opportunities

Project Schedule

  • December 2020: Construction Began
  • May 2021: New Playground Opened
New playground components

Overview of playground layout area and materials used for play area

Play tower for kids

Play structure for ages 2-5

a wooden pavilion sits on top of mulch. trees surround it. the roof of the structure is painted with bright colors.

Community Engagement

Throughout the project, PARD staff provided several opportunities for citizen input on the type and style of proposed playground equipment.

Community Meeting #1
Walnut Creek Metro Park at the Playground
12138 N. Lamar Blvd., Austin, TX 78753
January 18, 2020, 10 a.m. to noon

Online Survey #1 - closed June 9, 2020

Online Survey #2 - closed July 17, 2020

View video of preliminary design

Funding and Resources

The playground replacement project was funded through the 2018 Bond. The nature play expansion was funded through the St. David’s Foundation Parks with Purpose grant.


For questions regarding this project, please contact Patrick Beyer at (512) 974-9476.

Image of new playground at Walnut Creek Metropolitan Park