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Parks & Recreation

Parks

While Olympia Fields was first established as a golf course community, it offers many more recreational opportunities to its residents today through the broad range of activities and programs offered by the Olympia Fields Park District. The centerpiece of the Park District’s 11 park sites, encompassing 142 acres, is the award-winning Sgt. Means Park. The design of the 20-acre park, which roughly takes on the shape of the State of Illinois, was the result of an international design competition titled, “A New American Green.” Originally part of a 600-acre farm, established in 1918 by early Olympia Fields resident A.J. Mason, the challenge of the Park District’s sponsored competition was to create a public park that would serve as a community center for recreation and special events.

Highlights of the park’s unique and imaginative design include: wood pavilions and a trellis that visually ties in the farm building to the rest of the park, a landscape that celebrates the unique character of Midwest flora, and surrounding native woodlands and rolling prairies. Its symbolic encapsulation of the history of the village and its founders, as well as a series of stepped terraces, suggest an architectural landscape linking the park’s wide-open spaces, baseball and soccer fields, tennis courts, a unique 18-hole Frisbee Disc Golf Course, an accessible playground, picnic areas and winding walkways.

Irons Oaks was established in 1979 under joint operation of the Olympia Fields and Homewood-Flossmoor Park Districts. From its inception, Irons Oaks has grown from a 6-acre park to a 37-acre nature preserve. Irons Oaks Adventure Center programs engage over 25,000 individuals annually in teambuilding challenges that include an on-the-ground team’s initiative course, high rope courses and a 50-foot climbing tower. Audiences include middle and high school students, adults, not-for-profit and corporate groups, sports teams and at-risk youth.

Irons Oaks Environmental Education projects and programs connect participants with Illinois natural areas. Students are linked to Irons Oaks through their participation with habitat management efforts. Over 40 distinct programs are available onsite or as outreach programs to area schools, each tailored to complement classroom studies. Irons Oaks also specializes in working with school communities to create and manage schoolyard wildlife habitats.

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