Pioneer Park Master Plan & Nature Center

Pioneer Park Master Plan & Nature Center

The Nature Center, part of a 600-acre city park, is intended for study and enjoyment of the natural environment. A master plan was developed to complement the Center’s mission statement: “to interpret the natural history of the Central Great Plains, particularly Nebraska; to promote the enjoyment, appreciation, and awareness of our natural environment; to practice and foster a conservation ethic; and to provide a sanctuary for wildlife and a peaceful retreat for people.”
The master plan proposed several changes.  The landscape immersion concept places visitors into the same representative natural environment as the animals they are viewing, with a new trail loop for exhibit viewing that provides access to representative tall and short grasses, Nebraska Pine Ridge and Riparian environments.  The plan calls for improvements and additions to new natural exhibit areas that blend transparently with the natural landscape for raptors, bison, raccoons, weasels, wild turkeys, prairie dogs, Golden Eagles, elk and others. The plan develops and interprets an oak/savannah environment, including a new ADA accessible trail.
The addition to the existing Prairie Building was designed as an extension of the natural prairie. The new addition wraps around the existing structure and integrates architecture and landscape into harmonious unity and includes several amenities.