Nature Center Renovations

1978 Nature Center Photo

Since 1978 the visitor center at the Maplewood Nature Center has been hosting environmental programs for young and old.  What do you do with a 40-year-old well-used, well-loved City building?  Update it to make it work for today!

This year visitors will notice a change inside the 2,400 square foot building:  the iconic two-step sunken room or “amphitheater” is no longer.  “Where’s the pit?” is a common question heard as visitors step inside.  While it’s true a beloved icon has been filled, the touch-and-see room still sports the habitat theme of shallow marsh surrounded by mixed oak woodlands, represented by colorful trees, a crawl-through log, taxidermy owls, songbirds and waterfowl.  The level surface and upgraded restrooms improve accessibility so people with mobility difficulties can better enjoy the visitor center and indoor programs. 

Energy improvements include a new furnace and venting system, additional insulation, replacing fluorescent lights with LED fixtures, and some new windows.  Other interior changes include new paint, carpet, and polished concrete floors instead of laminate tile.  The tar and gravel flat roof was replaced with an EDPM membrane (extremely durable synthetic rubber roofing), and a metal roof replaced the former cedar shakes.  Wood siding was replaced with maintenance-free cement board siding.  Overall, the improvements will reduce maintenance needs and improve the energy efficiency, accessibility and safety of the building.  We hope that you will come to love the renovated building as much as the old, and we invite you to join us this winter for new and old favorite programs!