Hideaway Woods

Outdoor Exhibit
Opens at 10:00 am

Get ready to see nature in a whole new light! Hideaway Woods is a two-acre, nature discovery environment featuring treehouses, a flowing streambed, and fanciful nature sculptures. The play zones in this exhibit space encourage you to flex your body and imagination all while viewing the world around you from a new perspective — sometimes up to 20 feet off the ground!

Hideaway Woods was funded by generous donors to our Climbing Higher campaign.

Treehouse village

Connected by rope bridges, each of our eight handcrafted treehouses offers a unique vantage point that changes with the seasons. Find your favorite way up using ladders, cargo nets, staircases, and an accessible gangway. Two slides offer a unique way back down!

Young Explorers

A scaled set of “mini” treehouses offers the perfect place for guests ages 0-6 to begin their nature adventure. Explore a small hillside slide, climb inside a giant log, or have a woodland dinner party in our nature-based imaginative play area. A dedicated stroller parking area, seating, and a separate fence make keeping an eye on your young explorer easier than ever.

A boy walks through our cooling stream with his bare feet.

Cooling Stream

Wade in an accessible, recirculating freshwater stream for a cooling exploration of how water interacts and behaves with other elements in nature. Grab a pine cone or a giant leaf and see how the current impacts your boat’s journey! What impact will your hand have on the flow of a mini waterfall? This play zone includes an accessible patio near the waterfall area. There is also a changing area and foot wash station nearby to make cleanup easier.

In Hideaway woods, this photo shows a wide-angle shot of every Sweetgum Thicket sculpture. These are leaning building-like sculptures made out of Sweetgum branches.

Sweetgum Thicket

Designed by local artist Patrick Dougherty, Sweetgum Thicket invites you to enjoy a one-of-a-kind game of hide and seek! Constructed entirely of woven sweetgum and red maple saplings, Patrick worked with a team of Museum staff and volunteers to construct the sculpture without any artificial supports, foundations, or connectors. How will your visit to Sweetgum Thicket change with the seasons? The main path passing through the center of the sculpture is accessible.

A child jumps across tree stumps cut in such a way that they look like stepping stones

Why nature play?

Play in naturalized, outdoor environments can foster deeper social, physical, and emotional developments in children (and adults!). The dynamic mix of full-body movement, imaginative play and opportunities to notice or observe, provides endless opportunities to exercise our mental and physical capabilities.