Thorne Nature Experience’s latest establishment, The Lafayette Nature Center, aims to cultivate future Earth stewards. Bienenstock Natural Playgrounds played a key role in collaborating with Thorne Nature Center’s team to create an authentic nature experience, emphasizing equitable access for an underserved community.

Spanning 10,000 square feet, this expansive environment provides inclusive access to various play areas, communal spaces, pavilions, and trails linking to Coal Creek. Visitors can journey through dense tree groves, and traverse tunnels and caves, with opportunities for climbing and strategic play, engaging all senses and fostering children’s connection to nature through physical and imaginative exploration.

Lafayette Nature Community Center
Lafayette Nature Community Center

The Beauty of Nature

From an industrial site just 10 months ago, the center has transformed into a premier outdoor community hub, set to benefit numerous individuals for years to come. This initiative echoes the core values of Dr. Oakleigh Thorne II, a pioneer in connecting children to nature for over six decades, advocating for all children to enjoy and access natural environments. Adam Bienenstock, the Founder of Bienenstock Natural Playgrounds, expresses pride in contributing to this enduring legacy and commitment from inception to realization.

The grand opening of the Thorne Lafayette Nature Center on Saturday, June 15, 2024, was a vibrant celebration of community spirit and joy, with attendees from all walks of life coming together to witness the fruition of a collaborative effort. Among the attendees was John El-Raheb, the CEO and co-owner of Bienenstock Natural Playgrounds, the creative minds behind the captivating play areas at the center. Expressing his delight, El-Raheb emphasized the gratification of witnessing children and families actively engaging with the natural playground, highlighting the essence of communal joy and purpose.

A Place for Communities

The center, nestled amidst natural beauty, not only accommodates offices for the nonprofit’s employees but also extends its welcoming arms to the public, offering unrestricted access to its outdoor spaces including the enchanting playgrounds and creek banks. The uniqueness of the center is more than just a nature hub but a communal park accessible to all, operating from dawn to dusk as a public oasis privately owned for the community’s benefit.

The grand opening of the Lafayette Nature Center symbolized more than just a physical space; it embodied a collective vision of unity, accessibility, and the enduring value of nature in enriching lives and fostering interconnectedness within the community.

Lafayette Nature Community Center
Lafayette Nature Community Center

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