Winnie the Pooh fans can now help enhance the Hundred Acre Wood — the honey-loving bear’s re-created home in the forest at Storybook Island.
Inspired by the fictional land of the Hundred Acre Wood (the setting where most Winnie the Pooh stories take place), the free, family-friendly amusement park in Rapid City has initiated a $600,000 fundraising drive to support a new, all-ability Winnie the Pooh tree that, when completed, will be equipped with an elevator, talk tubes, rope nets and slides. The existing structure is a small wood treehouse in a live tree. Through the years, many of the branches have had to be removed due to rotting and other hazards.
What’s in store?
The proposed structure — 26 feet tall and 21 feet wide — will be constructed out of concrete, creating a more permanent, immersive play setting for visitors of all abilities to enjoy. Also on the drawing board is development of an additional 5 acres of the park property. If the funding goal is met this year, patrons can expect Winnie’s new treehouse to be completed by summer 2023.
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Jackie Laws, executive director for the park, said because of the facility’s nonprofit status, Storybook Island relies on donations to keep the park open and free for visitors each season.
“We only exist because of the generosity of our ongoing sponsors and donors,” Laws said. “We are truly grateful for each and every one of them and their incredible support of this community asset.”
Famous stories for children come to life
The popular theme park, open Memorial Day through Labor Day, provides visitors of all ages the chance to explore and immerse themselves in more than 100 storybook, nursey rhyme and fairytale settings where imagination rules. A place where Snow White, Cinderella, the Three Little Pigs, Humpty Dumpty and more “come to life.”
More than 200,000 people, many of them second- and third-generation family members, visit the 62-year-old park each year, Laws said.
“It’s a place that brings the specialness, the magic and dreaminess of childhood back to life through these fantastic and iconic characters, Laws said. “And you can be any age to experience it. That’s the real beauty and fun of it.”
Attractions around the park are sure to entertain
The 8½-acre children’s park also includes a vintage carousel, slides, rope climb areas, live theater productions and the Storybook Island Line train ride through Middle Park, as well as lots of open grassy areas for kids to run and play. During the holidays, the park’s play settings are decked out in vibrant and colorful Christmas lights, which enhances the experience even more. A gift shop and concession stand are also available on site and feature the park’s famous ice cream and seasonal hot chocolate.
For Winnie the Pooh, a remodeled tree house will provide future generations more fantastical fun. Support the magic that happens at Storybook Island.
To donate to “Save the 100 Acre Wood,” please visit storybookisland.org, or mail a check to Storybook Island, P.O. Box 9196, Rapid City, S.D., 57709.