The Charlotte Nature Museum celebrated its 75th anniversary in 2021; in anticipation of this milestone, Discovery Place wanted to revamp the museum and grounds located on eight acres at the southeast corner of Mecklenburg County’s Freedom Park property. The museum has evolved from its roots as a neighborhood nature resource for the type of frog a child found in her backyard, into an environmental education stronghold for Charlotte and its school children. The museum has been telling the Piedmont nature story since 1946; even with its many additions to the museum building and the outdoor learning environments, the site became overgrown, dated, and in need of new life.
The site’s location along the Little Sugar Creek Greenway with a connection to Freedom Park was master planned with a brand new state-of-the-art facility that serves as a regional destination. New outdoor facilities include interpretive gardens, natural sculpture gardens, trails, tree-top canopy experiences, live animal exhibits, and interactive connections to Little Sugar Creek. The focus of the museum includes moving the front door 180 degrees to face the greenway and Freedom Park, as well as expanding the parking to accommodate more visitors. Improved site accessibility played a major role in the program layout, anticipating intergenerational visitors. The master plan set the stage for the future of the Museum and be a framework for a collaborative rebuild between Mecklenburg County as the property owners and Discovery Place, Inc., as the museum operators.
Discovery Place, Inc.
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