On June 3rd, the Orland Park Nature Center celebrated its soft opening. Mayor Keith Pekau led the opening with the village’s Board of Trustees, Open Lands Commission, and Upland’s own Michelle Kelly, Liz Dafoe, and Heath Wright. Trustee Kathleen Fenton had the honor of cutting the red ribbon. The two-acre site will join Orland Park’s 650 acres of parkland, featuring a mix of the village’s wetlands and grasslands.
Upon arrival, visitors escape the suburban roadways to meet the sounds of local wildlife. Ornithophiles can enjoy a dedicated bird watching station, complete with binoculars overlooking the adjacent wetlands. This bird habitat was generously donated by Steven and Matina Gianakas in honor of their late son, George.
Spiraling around the center, a crushed limestone trail guides visitors through native gardens featuring savannah shade trees, prairie grasses, and wetland plants. The shaded picnic areas casts shadows from custom leaf patterns cut in the canopies. Nestled in the middle of the rehabilitated land are a central plaza, amphitheater, and outdoor classroom space.
Now open to Orland Park, this nature center will provide an oasis for local fauna while bringing the public closer to nature.