Designing our new nature play space at Auckland Zoo!

We are planning to build one of Aotearoa New Zealand’s best nature play spaces here at Auckland Zoo in 2026 – with your help!

Our ambition is to move away from a traditional playground, to provide a play space where all ages and abilities connect, explore, and draw from the natural world.

We developed an online survey (which has now closed) to connect and listen to our communities about what’s important as we start designing Auckland Zoo’s new nature play space, with the following prompts in mind:

  • Play that helps us learn about Aotearoa animals, plants, and natural places
  • Play that includes everyone
  • Play that helps us connect to and care for nature
  • Play that weaves in our unique culture
  • Play that is active, fun, and sparks our curiosity for nature

We want Auckland Zoos nature play space to be an inclusive and accessible, interactive outdoor space for people of all ages and abilities to connect in nature through play.

By creating a nature play space, we are seeking to deliver on the underlying principles that being more connected to nature enhances our visitors’ and communities’ wellbeing (social, physical, mental, and spiritual), and nurtures those life-long connections with nature that help to grow a love and care for wildlife and wild places.

Our nature play space will have a look and feel distinctly of Aotearoa New Zealand by celebrating and weaving in our country’s unique natural taonga, culture, and stories.


What 'Nature Play' experience would you like to see?

You can learn more about nature play at Auckland Zoo.

Connecting, exploring and playing in nature is brilliant for our wellbeing. You can find more wellbeing in nature activities here and here are 30 Ways to Notice Nature.

Nature play design - next steps

Our nature play survey ended on Tuesday 27th February 2024. Thank you to everyone who participated and shared your ideas with us!

The next steps are collating and reviewing all of the feedback we received which will help us to start the next phase of our design and planning work.  

In early 2025 we will be ready to share a preliminary design of Auckland Zoo’s new nature play space ahead of construction in early 2026.