New Eagles Nest doesn’t play, when it comes to indoor play

Solomon Gustavo • The Eagles Nest’s improved three-level play structure at the New Brighton Community Center, featuring new amenties like new slides, an air bounce and a simulated eagle nest, is now open.

courtesy of City of New Brighton • It took two months and $489,000 worth of construction to update the Eagles Nest, which reopened Nov. 18.

Any Minnesota child’s dream day is all play. Even in colder months, in the wonder of a fluffy snowfall, mini-Minnesotans could traipse and tumble and sled and snow angel all the live-long-day.

Unless that day is short, dark and too cold for even the toughest Minnesota adult.  

New Brighton’s updated Eagles Nest, for children ages 12 years old and younger, offers an ambitious attempt at making the indoors as fun as running around outside. The new and improved Eagles Nest opened Nov. 18 at the New Brighton Community Center after two months and $489,000 worth of construction.

“Everything you see is brand new,” said New Brighton Parks and Recreation Director Jennifer Fink. And the size of the play area has increased by a third. 

The added space used to be a parent waiting area. There are benches against the wall in the new Nest, but, what Fink described as the “loungey vibe” of the previous iteration is gone. 

She said the goal now is to have parents available and actively participating with children. 

“We want kids and adults to have good memories doing things together,” Fink said. 

Good-memory amenity updates include more ball pits, which are tailored for specific age groups, a 14 percent increase in the size of the toddler play area, new characters for kids to climb on — such as a dinosaur-like figure emerging from the ground — a button-activated merry-go-round and an outsized piano keyboard replica kids can step on to play notes. 


Fun for days

Fink said a lot more activities can take place in the new Nest, especially with the spaces made specifically for larger kids, toddlers, smaller toddlers and infants. 

A big feature of the new Nest is its size. It is three levels high, replete with new slides, including a gnarly new tornado slide, a zip line and an air bounce. There’s even a replica eagle’s nest with eggs that can be seen from the top of the structure. 

The centerpiece is the air bounce. It is a large cylinder, three levels high, with a cushioned base. From there, kids climb up the cylinder. For the more traditional climber, there is also a climbing wall area. 

All of these new fun things are accessed through a series of tunnels, tubes, climbing paths and slides. Fink said they made sure that each tube and tunnel gets plenty of daylight, so that they don’t “seem dark and scary.”

The well-lit, towering playpen labyrinth is forest themed. One of the new slides is interactive, displaying images of woodland creatures that change when kids slide down. 

The Eagles Nest opened in 1994 and the last update to it was in 2003. 

Fink said the latest Nest update has already been used by 5,000 kids. 

“It’s been such a tremendous response,” she said, adding the kids are really excited about the new structure, but have had to adjust to new rules procedures. All procedures will be posted on the New Brighton City website and the Eagles Nest Facebook page, she said.

In an effort to prevent overcrowding, the Nest will put a periodic hold on handing out wristbands on really busy days. Link said parents can call and ask if the Nest is on hold at the moment. 

Scheduling the Nest for birthday parties, a new and old Nest mainstay, is still available and going strong. Fink said the schedule has nearly filled up through the end of the year. There’s a lot more birthday party availability in 2018; Fink says the best time to come is during the week.

The Nest is open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. Wristbands cost $5.50 per child. Adults and children under 12 months old are free. Wristbands are good all day — you can leave for lunch and come back. 

For more information go to and click on the community center link.

Solomon Gustavo can be reached at or 651-748-7815.

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