First it was the YES Center, then the Brookings Outdoor Learning Center, and now it’s the South Dakota Outdoor Adventure Center (OAC). What gives?
Each change has better identified the mission and goal of the facility, its planners say. Adding “South Dakota” to the title reflects its statewide – actually, region-wide – importance and its service area. And “Outdoor Adventure” perfectly dovetails with the national 4-H “Outdoor Adventures” program it supports. The “Adventure Center” part of the name is a little more dynamic than the old “Learning Center,” and it works well with one of its occupants, the children’s TV show “Nature Adventures with Terri and Todd.”
The 135-acre park where it’s located – once the Brookings city landfill – went though a similar “identity crisis.” For several years, planners called it SouthBrook Nature Park (because it’s next to the SouthBrook Softball Complex). That was before it was officially dubbed “Dakota Nature Park” to reflect its regional significance as a nature attraction.
What the OAC is not, and is often confused with, is the Nature Center. That facility will be located in the southwest corner of Dakota Nature Park.
To be erected this summer, that building will overlook the park’s middle pond. It will have a lobby for nature exhibits and two large classroom areas, as well as public restrooms. It will be used by school classes for nature study – the park itself has long been a favorite location for university field trips – as well as other activities sponsored by the Brookings Department of Parks, Recreation and Forestry.