The Woodland Discovery Playground was designed by Shelby Farm Park Conservatory’s Master Plan design firm, James Corner Field Operations (JCFO), and the design process was anything but ordinary. To create the next great 21st century play landscape, SFPC and JCFO went straight to experts—local kids. The site for the Woodland Discovery Playground is situated on an existing twenty-year-old play area and edged by woodland that has been overtaken by Chinese Privet. The design of the playground capitalizes on its location with a woodland restoration project and significant new native plantings that enmesh the play space with its surroundings.
Within its wooded context, outdoor play at Shelby Farms Park will promote discovery, provoke challenges, embrace delight, encourage creativity, build relationships, and cultivate healthy children’s development. The new Woodland Discovery Playground will shape an environment that allows for change, transformation, and growth; that reflects theories about how children learn, develop, and play; and that meaningfully engages with the entire Memphis community.