Assiniboine Park's new Nature Playground will be open to the public on Friday and the children who got a chance to check it out on Thursday think it's great, a park official says.

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The Nature Playground at Assiniboine Park opens to the public on Friday. ((Courtesy of Assiniboine Park Conservancy))

"They gave a big gasp and then ran, and just jumped and swung and slid and played in the sand and water-play area, and marvelled at the incredibly creative topiary frog band," Margaret Redmond, president & CEO of the Assiniboine Park Conservancy, told CBC News.

Redmond said the $3-million project, which will be open to the public beginning on Friday, is unique.

"I can try to tell you how special a place the Nature Playground is but you’ll never believe it until you see it," Redmond said.

"This is a playground unlike any other in all of Canada and we are so thrilled to hand it over to the children and families who can now make it their own.

"It's just a really magical space that lets them [children] make up how they play in it," she said. "You will see no play structures like you see in school grounds and community centres."

The new nature playground is part of the park’s overall $200-million redevelopment plan, with this project made possible through government support from the City of Winnipeg, the federal government and corporate and private donations, according to a conservancy news release. 

"I believe there’s no better return on investment than the happiness of running, laughing children that this incredible new adventure playground will certainly foster, Mayor Sam Katz said.