Inspired by the Children & Nature movement to get kids to open, unplug and reconnect with the nature.

The Nature Exploration Area expands the part of Heron’s Head Park as an environmental education mecca for youth. The San Francisco Recreation & Park Department and the Port of San Francisco teamed up with SF Children & Nature and Bienenstock Natural Playgrounds to produce a unique space where kiddies and families can gather, produce, and play.

Designed by Bienenstock Natural Playgrounds with input from the original community who drew their ideal play areas, the new space allows children to learn through exploring nature, climbing, and balancing. Locally sourced natural rudiments including boulders and tree wholes give the accoutrements for creativity, dramatic play, and imagination.

Heron's Head Nature Area

Winding, accessible pathways mix with sportful lanes, leading to a gathering space or out-of-door classroom with seating made from repurposed logs and native foliage, the disquisition area offers high lookout spots for observing birds and other wildlife.


The pandemic showed us the importance of nature and outdoor space for our city’s children. I am thrilled that our kids now have a new, safe, and spacious area to cultivate their imaginations, connect with friends, and learn about the natural world.” — Mayor London Breed


Through engagement sessions and consultation sessions with the team at ODS we at Bienenstock Natural Playgrounds were able to refine their mission for the space and were able to create a space for art, music, and drama to engage children who aren’t as interested in the traditional playground structures and give children an opportunity to develop an authentic connection to a more natural experience.

Heron's Head Nature Area

Beyond recess, they had expressed interest in using the playground space for outdoor classrooms as well, which led to design adaptations and component that could be used as an outdoor learning “hub”. Empowering the children to be confident and creative builders of their future who understand the importance nature in learning.

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