French Regional Park Play Area

The play area at French Regional Park has been an iconic play area in the Twin Cities. Three Rivers started a re-design process in 2016 to develop a new play area at the park that will meet or exceed its status as a signature creative play facility.

For the first phase of the process, which took place in the summer of 2016, the Park District sought input from park users to find out what they like about the play area and what improvements they would like to see in a new play area.

The contract for construction of the new play area was awarded in April 2017 and the play area is currently closed. The new play area is anticipated to open in the summer of 2018.

New Play Area Plans

View images of the new play area design.

Construction Update

February 26, 2018

Some elements of the play area have been installed, and most concrete sidewalks around the play area and the plaza outside the Visitor Center have been completed. Custom play area features, including the tower, are being manufactured at the supplier. These play features will be installed in the spring, along with resilient rubber and wood fiber safety surfacing, seating elements, shade structures, landscaping and remaining concrete curbs.

The play area is still on target to open in summer 2018.

play area under construction

Frequently asked questions

1. How old is the French creative play area?
The Creative Play Area was constructed in 1989.

2. Why is the creative play area being replaced?
The Creative Play Area is almost 30 years old and is scheduled for replacement. French Regional Park will be undergoing a pavement rehabilitation project in the summer of 2017, so replacing the play area in 2017 limits the impact to the recreation area to one summer season.

3. Is it true it is structurally unsound?
No, but it is almost 30 years old and is showing its age. Three Rivers Park District would like to replace it now before it does reach a point where maintenance is cost-prohibitive.

4. Will it be replaced with similar features like wood, nets, wood chips? 
Yes. See the current design concept.

5. Will the new play area have water?
Misters as well as sand and water play (for pre-k) are components shown in the current design concept, but the construction of these components will be subjected to feasibility.

French Play Area

6. When is the play area closing?
Closing and demolition is anticipated to occur in the spring 2017, after a contract has been awarded for construction of the new play area.

7. When will the play area re-open?
Three Rivers Park District will be planning a Grand Re-opening of the new play area in 2018.

8. Where else can I play in 2017 while the French Creative Play Area is under construction?
All of the other Three Rivers Park District play areas will be open as usual. Go to, click on the Activities tab and the play areas link for more information.

9. Will the park be open or closed in 2017 with both the play area and pavement construction?
The park—including the beach and non-paved trails—will be open all summer. Construction will take place in phases, so there will be phased closures of boat launch, paved trails and parking lots.

10. How much will the new play area cost?
Three Rivers Park District has identified a project budget of $1 Million in its 2017 capital Improvement program for the replacement of the French Creative Play Area.

11. What will the new play area look like? How can I get updates on the project?
The design concepts are posted at the visitor center as well as on the French Park Facebook page as well as the construction projects page.

12. Will the visitor center be open during construction?
Yes, the Visitor Center will be open its regularly scheduled hours.