Kids in search of a new place to play in a natural setting along the Red River in Fargo Moorhead will soon have a brand new place to explore, run, jump and get immersed in nature. This whimsical 4-season playground will use boulders, trees, shrubs, logs, rocks and water to provide open-ended, physically challenging and unstructured play opportunities. The playground will be as enticing for a child to play in as it is aesthetically beautiful to the community, where children will challenge every part of their mind, body and spirit, through play. Watch this 4-minute video to learn more.

Why is a Natural Playground Needed in Fargo Moorhead?
 
 
Children in Fargo-Moorhead have access to numerous parks, playgrounds, and sporting activities. However, children today have much less time for unstructured play compared to previous generations. Why does that matter? Unstructured play is critical to children’s cognitive, social and emotional development. It is advised that children have twice as much time for unstructured play compared to structured play. Many adults remember the joy of free, outdoor, natural, unstructured play from their own childhood, but this is a distinct contrast from children today who are much more sedentary and who tend to participate mainly in adult-organized activities. This lack of play is contributing to the mental and physical health crisis in children.
 
Studies show natural playgrounds increase physical activity compared to conventional playgrounds and are preferred by children because they find them challenging and more interesting. One study found that natural playgrounds in the UK had 55% more children visiting (and 14% more adults) when compared to conventional playgrounds in the US, and kids were about 18% more active in natural playgrounds. Natural playgrounds also have a lower rate of injury when compared to conventional playgrounds. Natural playgrounds typically cost less than conventional playgrounds to build as well.
 
 

This project also envisions building a bike skills park. Biking instills confidence in kids and helps develop balance, strengthens joints, muscles, bones, and the heart and lungs. Bike skills parks are playgrounds for bikers that include a variety of natural obstacles such as rocks and logs, imaginatively created features such land ladder bridges, teeters, and dirt jumps all collected in a small and easily accessible location. These can most easily be thought of as a skateboard park designed specifically for mountain bikes. As mountain biking popularity increases, these parks are often being constructed and designed for younger kids to help introduce them to the sport and provide a setting to develop the skills to allow them to eventually ride on more advanced trails.

The FM Rotary Foundation's goal is to raise $700,000 to build a world class natural playground and bike skills park. The goal is to create a unique, fun and challenging playground to promote physical activity, get kids outside year round and promote healthy development in local kids.

 

What Will You Do at Riverfront Park?

 
A goal for this project is bring fun and enjoyment to our winters.  Daily outdoor time is healthy year round, and with proper preparation, we can embrace the outdoors, just like the year-round outdoor-loving Scandinavians, who have year-round outdoor preschools and who build winter time activities into daily living.
 

Maintenance of the playground will be done by the partnering Park District, similar to the setup at two previous Rotary projects - the Lindenwood Universal Playground in Fargo and the Miracle Field in south Moorhead.

Location
The project committee conducted a study of multiple potential sites in Fargo, Moorhead and West Fargo, and following months of analysis, the site of Riverfront Park in Moorhead, Minnesota was selected. This site offers a beautiful riverfront location on the Red River of the North, nestled between hills and trees in a serene setting just across from downtown Fargo, North Dakota. It is steps from the Moorhead bike trail, and also is on the lit cross country ski trail system. Parking is readily available on a riverside road just off First Ave. North. The location is central in the metro region, and easily accessible by public transportation, located steps away from rapidly expanding downtown Moorhead.
Learn More and Get Involveddonate
 
Join the discussion on the importance of natural outdoor play by joining our mailing list. Much remains to be done, and your support is needed. The goal is to have the playground construction kicked off in 2021. Preliminary cost estimates are $700,000. Corporate and individual sponsorships and donations are welcome, and major donors will be recognized through signage at the playground. Click here to make a secure online donation of any size, or checks can be mailed to
FM Rotary Foundation
PO Box 684
Fargo, ND 58107
What is Rotary?
 
Rotary International is a global volunteer organization with over 1.2 million members organized into over 35,000 Rotary Clubs spread throughout the world. There are 5 Rotary Clubs in Fargo-Moorhead. Click on this humorous 3-minute video produced by the local Rotary Clubs to learn more about Rotary, or this site provides links to each of the five clubs; or you can learn more about Rotary International.
 
The FM Rotary Foundation is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization led by the 5 Fargo Moorhead Rotary Clubs. Click here for more information on the FM Rotary Foundation. The 5 local Rotary Clubs are in Rotary District 5580, covering North Dakota, northwest Minnesota, Superior, Wisconsin and southwestern Ontario in the regions around Thunder Bay.
 
Project Sponsors