Log in

Log in

Outdoor Educational Playscape to Begin Construction

By Gavin Miculka

February 2024

This spring, the Friends of Kreische Brewery & Monument Hill, in collaboration with the Texas Historical Commission, will launch construction of an innovative outdoor interactive exhibit space. This space will be a unique environment designed for children’s imaginative play, physical exercise, socialization, exploration of curriculum-based concepts, and a deeper understanding of our sites’ history and themes. This project is primarily funded by local grants and Friends fundraising events like Trail of Lights and Bluff SchuetzenFest; however, there are still opportunities for you to directly support the construction of this exciting new exhibit space. Interested in supporting? Contact the Friends at or call the Sites at (979) 968-5658.

The idea for the outdoor interactive exhibit space (OIES) arose from a need to enhance the existing playground equipment, some of which date back to the 1950s. Recognizing the diverse needs of visitors, the staff sought alternatives to standard commercial playgrounds. Inspired by the playground at Meanwhile Brewing and Jester King in Austin, featuring cedar lumber and recycled materials, the staff approached Austin sculptor Chris Levack to design a play space that integrates both the natural heritage and unique history of Kreische Brewery & Monument Hill.

Collaborating with Levack and drawing from archaeological reports and interpretive themes, the team designed seven elements for the OIES. The first element is a cement “river” pathway that will connect the other six elements, thus making much of the OIES wheelchair accessible. This pathway is unique in that its shape and appearance will reflect the Colorado River as it passes through Fayette County.

The second element will be the Kreische ferry, a specially designed cart on tracks that will cross the river pathway using a pull rope.

A Texas map platform makes up the third element. Here, this 8-foot-wide map will help students understand the relationship between towns, roads, and natural features of Texas geography.

The fourth element is a second-story platform representing the Bluff overlooking the Colorado River. The high platform will provide a great vantage point of the entire exhibit space and the grounds beyond. From the top of the platform, children are encouraged to wave a reproduction “Frisch Auf” banner to call all of their friends to the Bluff, just as the Kreische family would have done in the late 19th century.

Beneath the Bluff platform a purpose-built sandbox dubbed the “archeology dig pit” will encourage students to excavate and discover replica artifacts. The base of the sandbox will be constructed to resemble the stone ruins of Kreische Brewery. Once filled with sand, this exercise will help students piece together the stories of the brewery using archeological methods. While the dig pit is designed to be used for self-facilitated experiences, the area also provides a unique venue to lead structured school programs inspired by archeology field schools.

Element six honors the stonemason legacy of Heinrich Kreische. This feature, known as the “stone haus,” will have a timber frame and cedar shingle roof inspired by the architectural styles of the Kreische house, smokehouse, and barn. Within the timber frame, the project team will construct a partially built stone wall to illustrate Kreische’s stonemasonry techniques. For the rest of the frame, children can use foam faux stone blocks to assemble walls and other “stone” creations.

The final element celebrates Kreische Brewery and the hundreds of barrels that rolled out of its cellar doors. This will be an interactive sculpture of welded metal bars in the shape of a barrel, doubling as monkey bars. While the sculpture provides for an incredible climbing experience, it will also serve as a tool to communicate the form and function of barrels and the role they played in transporting goods for hundreds of years.

Taken together, these elements will create an inviting space for families to engage in physical activity, exploration, and learning. The OIES will serve as a daily destination for families and a multifunctional outdoor classroom for curriculum-based programs.

Friends board members, staff, and partners are excited for this project, which promises to enrich the community and inspire a new generation of stewards for Kreische Brewery and Monument Hill. While past fundraising efforts and local grants have laid the foundation for this endeavor, individual contributions are crucial for its success. The Friends board seeks supporters such as you to bring this exciting project to fruition. We look forward to working with you to make this project a reality.

Call or Email Us
Office: 979-968-5658

414 State Loop 92
La Grange, TX 78945

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software