play space at yerkes

Williams Bay to Open World’s First Astronomy-Inspired Playground at an Observatory

Your little one will really think you’re out of this world when taking them to Play/Space, the world’s first and only astronomy-inspired playground at an observatory. Play/Space will open at Yerkes Observatory in Williams Bay in Spring 2026.

Yerkes Observatory is the birthplace of modern astrophysics, with cutting-edge robotic telescopes, a glass-plate library of 180,000-plus images of the cosmos and the world’s largest refracting telescope. Come Spring 2026, it will also be home to the world’s first and only astronomy-inspired playground at an observatory.

Play/Space is a four-season educational playground–designed by Denmark-based Monstrum, known for its bespoke thematic playgrounds–and modeled after a supernova (a massive star explosion). The playground will feature slides, a hidden maze, orbit swings, planetarium play hut, waveforms and a stage for “lightning talks” about astronomy, science and space. Plus, visitors of all ages will enjoy finding astronomy-focused fun facts placed throughout the playground.

“We know Yerkes and Play/Space will inspire future generations of astronomers, science enthusiasts and space explorers. What we don’t yet know is what they’ll discover,” says Dr. Amanda Bauer, who directs science and education at Yerkes Observatory, in a press release.

Play/Space will exceed the standards set by the Americans with Disabilities Act and support the needs of children with vision and hearing challenges as well as those on the neurodiversity spectrum. The forthcoming Yerkes Observatory playground also keeps parents in mind, providing ample seating, shade and water stations, as well as restrooms and a picnic area.

For more information, visit yerkesobservatory.org.

373 W. Geneva St.
Williams Bay, WI 53191

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