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.

View our 2016 schedule of playgroups here!


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.

Become a member of the Wayside Wanderings Natural Play Area to enjoy free access to the site even when there isn’t a program scheduled!

Read our brochure, and sign (and return to us) our Participation Agreement and our Waiver Agreement, and you are considered a member—free of charge!

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

View the brochure below:

Wayside Brochure 2 high resWayside Brochure 1 high res