Located on the upland portion of Tom Hanafan Rivers Edge Park and on the boarder of Iowa and Nebraska, Belle’s Play Garden unites a diverse and emerging surrounding community and acts as a catalyst for regional gathering, play and conversation. The play garden, a partnership between The Go Play Initiative (founders: the Knudtson and Davidson families), The Iowa West Foundation, Back to the River Inc., Monstrum, and Agency Landscape + Planning, features a series of Missouri River-Inspired play and educational elements, interpretive seating and surface textures and rich native planting. Its focal point is a 15-foot-tall pelican play feature with climbing structures, a slide, intimate enclosures and a lookout perch with sweeping views to the Omaha skyline and Missouri River banks.
The site is also situated within bustling play grove, including a series of interactive and playful water elements—a water wall, scrim pool, bubblers, jets plaza and fog features–all designed to embrace the river and surrounding ecologies. Belle’s Play Garden opened in Summer 2022.
Photographs courtesy of Jimmy Palmer and the City of Council Bluffs.