Itasca's Springbrook Nature Center to reopen Saturday with new exhibits
Springbrook Nature Center in Itasca is set to reopen Saturday with new interactive exhibits for visitors.
The center at 130 Forest Ave. closed on March 24 so it could be renovated and get the new exhibits. The interactive exhibits were created with Taylor Studios Inc., a Rantoul-based museum exhibit design company.
Now the village and the Itasca Park District are planning to celebrate Arbor Day with a grand reopening of the remodeled facility. The event, scheduled for 9:30 a.m. Saturday, will include a tree dedication.
The nature center project included a paint job, new flooring, a new boiler and the installation of the exhibits. The park district received a $335,000 grant from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources to do the work.
Maryfran Leno, the park district's executive director, said the district paid for the improvements upfront and will be reimbursed.
"It was frustrating to spend money and have to wait to get reimbursed," Leno said.
However, she said, the nature center needed a facelift. "We are happy that things are moving forward," Leno said.
Taylor Studios and the park district created new nature exhibits -- based on creek, prairie, wetlands and woodland life -- that can be touched and interacted with. Leno said the district decided to avoid electronic integration to encourage visitors to be closer to nature and avoid relying on technology.
Some of the new features installed include a new periscope, a giant spider's web to study, and smelling stations that let visitors smell a variety of scents, including skunk spray or certain types of wood.
"Springbrook has always been a hidden gem of the village," Leno said. "We hope that people feel encouraged to discover new things in nature."