Connecting children and families to Northwoods nature through free play experiences that inspire wonder, discovery, and responsibility.

Walk the one mile trail loop through the woods and discover play elements to spark your imagination!  You can explore the Grandmother Treehouse, play pioneer in the log cabin, build a fairy house, and read a book in the Salamander Room.

Wayside Wanderings Natural Play Area is located 0.4 miles from the Museum at 43135 Randysek Road in Cable and is free to use any time after you complete the free membership (see below). This Museum property was once the homestead of our founding director and naturalist, Lois Nestel. Lois wrote a newspaper column titled “Wayside Wanderings,” and this natural play area is named in honor of her.


Nature play encourages children to learn about the wonders and secrets of the natural world.

The Wayside Wanderings Natural Play Area provides creative play, which has been shown to:

  • Foster a love and appreciation for nature.
  • Foster a sense of place.
  • Encourage community and social development.
  • Promote healthy lifestyles.
  • Enhance academic achievement.
  • Counteract Nature Deficit Disorder.
  • Reduce some symptoms of ADD/ADHD.



new play area map

Want to visit the Wayside Wanderings Natural Play Area on your own time? Just sign two forms at the Museum or at the kiosk at the site and go have fun in the woods!

Participation Agreement

 Waiver Agreement.

Note: We do require the signature of a parent or legal guardian on both forms. Each individual needs to have their own set of signed forms. 

View the brochure below:

Wayside Brochure 2 high resWayside Brochure 1 high res