Iron Oaks

Irons Oaks is a joint project of the Homewood–Flossmoor and Olympia Fields Park Districts. The nature center combines adventure, recreation and education at the 40 acre site in Olympia Fields with day camps, adventure course workshops, and nature programs to the greater Chicagoland community. With the help of multiple input sessions including a values based planning approach, Upland Design developed a master plan guided by the experienced Irons Oaks staff and dedicated volunteers.

The master plan’s focus is strongly led by the site’s existing natural hydrology and topography. To help entice community members to visit the site, a new Nature Based Play Area is located near the parking lot. The play area focuses on introducing users to the site and nature. Utilizing the natural ravine, its Look Out Tree House creates an exciting entrance for visitors.

Project Details


Homewood–Flossmoor and Olympia Fields Park Districts



New Elements Include:
Amphitheater, Community Shelter, Nature Based Play Area, Overlook Deck, Outdoor Classrooms, Council Ring, Event Plaza, Additional Parking, Trails and Boardwalk, Restrooms, Wayfinding and Entry Signage

Upland Design’s recommendations were environmentally sensitive and highlighted the site’s natural ecosystem. The overall project goals of maximizing active space for programming needs while enhancing the natural systems and inviting the public to use the site while improving accessibility were met.

Iron Oaks - Masterplan
Iron Oaks Plaza Concept
Iron Oaks Overlook Sketch