Graham Regional Park

Play and Fitness in a Natural Setting

Haw River, NC


Connecting Families with the Outdoors

Graham Regional Park is a rethinking of the traditional play and recreation area. Instead of a single large play structure, the city and landscape architect worked with GameTime to create separate areas of freestanding play activities that blend with the natural environment and promote multigenerational play.

The city of Haw River, NC bought the Hawfields area acreage in 2010 through a $500,000 state Parks and Recreation Trust Fund, contingent upon some development within five years. The project managers utilized the best-practice research in NatureGrounds to create a wooded area with complementary nature-inspired play components throughout, hillside slides to take advantage of topography, an obstacle course and fitness equipment, a nature garden, and walking/cycling paths through and around the woods. The park is centrally located between two elementary schools, Alexander Wilson Elementary to the south, and North Graham Elementary to the north, within easy access for field trips. By combining nature and the built environment, children are encouraged to get the highest use and activity level through the variety of options available to encourage play and fitness.


Multigenerational Play and Fitness Destination Based on Best Practices
  • Incorporate design best practices to create a play and recreation area that blends the benefits of the natural environment with manufactured play equipment
  • Create opportunities for children and families to enjoy nature, play and be active together, and explore the various areas of the park
  • Encourage movement, learning, and periods of moderate to intense activity, as recommended by the Surgeon General, helping the community stay active, fit, and happy