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

Find YOUR inner wild child . . .

All you need for fun and discovery is already here! The Wayside Wanderings Natural Play Area is filled with play elements made from natural materials for everyone to enjoy! Walk the one mile trail loop through the woods and discover play elements to spark your imagination!  

    • Little Library – Look inside the weatherproof library for story books and nature guides to borrow
    • Tree House – Crawl up, down, and slide around the Grandmother Tree in a giant fort hideaway
    • Fairy Village – Discover fairy houses left scattered along the trail and hidden in the woods
    • Little House in the Big Woods – Become a pioneer, play inside the  small log cabin
    • Salamander Room – Imagine a bedroom in the woods for a salamander to live and you to climb around
    • Skywalk – Run up or down the log stairs on a hillside
    • Woodpecker Tree – Find giant holes where real birds pecked away in search of food
    • Fort-Building Fun – Create whatever you can imagine with materials ready to go
    • Spider Web – Hang out on a web fit for a giant spider


Wayside Wanderings Natural Play Area is located 0.4 miles from the Museum at 43135 Randysek Road in Cable.  Just sign a waiver for each person and you will have unlimited access to play any time! 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.


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

Participant Waiver

Note: We do require the signature of a parent or legal guardian for each individual.