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Contact: Eric Hyde
Park Superintendent – Peninsula, Newport & Rock Island State Parks or 920-365-6112

New Accessible Playground At Peninsula State Park Now Open

The new playground at Peninsula State Park with an accessible surface and accessible playground equipment, including a flush-mounted merry-go-round. Peninsula State Park’s new playground has an accessible surface and accessible playground equipment, including a flush-mounted merry-go-round for users of all abilities, a universal swing and more. Photo credit: Wisconsin DNR

MADISON, Wis. – The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) today announced the opening of the new accessible Nicolet Beach Playground at Peninsula State Park.

In May 2021, the aging wooden playground at the park’s Nicolet Beach was deemed unsafe and beyond repair. Soon after, the Friends of Peninsula State Park began fundraising efforts for a new replacement playground.

“Our amazing Friends group here at Peninsula State Park immediately jumped on this project to assist the park to fundraise and replace the aging playground with a new accessible playground,” said Eric Hyde, Peninsula State Park Superintendent. “The outdoors are for all, and now people of all abilities have a new space at the park to enjoy.”

The most significant feature of the new playground is the accessible surface, along with accessible playground equipment, including a flush-mounted merry-go-round for users of all abilities and a universal swing. The playground also features universal interactive ground elements like a rain wheel and music elements.

The Friends group raised more than $130,000 in only a few months, and just over a year after closing, the playground at the popular beach is open again. The group also raised more than $1.1 million for the new Eagle Tower and ramp, renovations to the White Cedar Nature Center and a new outdoor amphitheater near the White Cedar Nature Center.

Bill Pennoyer and Judy Ortiz of the Friends of Peninsula State Park were instrumental in the playground renovation, spending hours working with contractors on the design and construction.

“I am extremely grateful for the much-needed playground,” said Judy Ortiz, Secretary of the Friends of Peninsula State Park. “So many campers with children will spend many hours on this playground. Many people have told me how much they missed having a playground on the beach. I want to thank all the donors for their generous outpouring of gifts. One donor said it all when they said, ‘We will all enjoy this gift, the noises of children.’”

Visitors to Peninsula State Park may use the playground at Nicolet Beach for free. However, a Wisconsin State Parks and Forest vehicle admission pass is required to enter Peninsula State Park. Parking is available near the beach, and visitors can access it from various hiking and biking trails in the park.

The new playground is one of the recent accessibility improvements at the park. Eagle Tower is the first fully accessible observation tower in the Wisconsin State Park System.

Peninsula State Park offers over 460 campsites, three group camps, a summer theater, an 18-hole golf course, Nicolet Bay Beach, bike trails, a lighthouse and eight miles of Door County shoreline. The rollicking waves that skip towards Peninsula's sky-high bluffs are part of the Niagara Escarpment.

The Friends of Peninsula State Park is one of 60 Friends groups across Wisconsin whose members have an interest in Wisconsin’s park system. Friends groups volunteer their time, services and direct support to enhance Wisconsin’s state parks, forests, trails and recreation areas. Learn more about the Friends group on the Friends of Peninsula State Park website.

Learn more on the Peninsula State Park webpage.