Play to learn and learn to play in this 4,000-square-foot marine-science-focused playground. It’s a place where children can climb, slide and be inspired by wildlife and the Hudson River nature and habitat.
The Playground includes custom-fabricated play structures in the shape of two endangered sturgeon species that are native to the Hudson River — the Atlantic sturgeon and shortnose sturgeon. Designed by OLIN, the same award-winning landscape design firm that designed adjacent Pier 26, this imaginative playground serves as an important educational and recreational space that further advances the Park’s extensive science and environmental programming.
Inside each of the two sturgeon structures children can explore fish “anatomy” and interact with other marine-oriented play features to learn about local wildlife that resides in the Hudson River Park’s 400-acre Estuarine Sanctuary. The play equipment manufacturer is Monstrum, a Danish firm that specializes in creating whimsical, nature-based designs that spark imagination. Hudson River Park’s River Project team advised on the scientific aspects of the design, helping to integrate science-based, age-appropriate educational features that help bring the sturgeon to life.
Trees and other plantings are integrated into the space, along with climbing nets, a perimeter seat wall, safety surfacing and various other engaging play features for all ages to enjoy.
The Pier 26 Science Playground was made possible by a $3.5 million fundraising campaign successfully completed by Hudson River Park Friends in 2021, anchored by a historic $1.3 million Challenge Match by former Friends Board Chair Michael E. Novogratz.