Upland Design brought the Village of Orland Park’s master plan to life by creating an outdoor nature center for the community from an old commercial site. The two acre site was developed to utilize local materials and sustainable detailing like permeable pavers, and to limit the impact to adjacent wetlands while bringing users closer to nature. The presents a green theme throughout with permeable paving parking and central plaza, an amphitheater and outdoor classroom space, and bird watching station. Custom, leaf pattern structures offer shade at the picnic area and classroom. Throughout construction document creation, special attention was paid to ensure the right materials were used to create a unique experience.
Trails spiral away from the plaza to bring visitors to a natural overlook that takes advantage of views of the neighboring preserves. Sensory native garden areas and boardwalks bring visitors closer to the flora and fauna of the site. The surrounding land is planted with native plants including savannah shade trees, prairies grasses and native wetland plants to rehabilitate the site and connect it with neighboring protected lands. The nature center is an oasis of habitats for both animals, birds, insects and humans alike.