Twenty-eight acres of Meadowbrook Park was first acquired in 1967 and was formerly the McCullough Farm. The rest was acquired when plans for a park/school complex fell through and grant funds initially intended for purchase of Champaign County fairgrounds were redirected towards the Meadowbrook project. Current park features include a farmstead, 80 acres of recreated tallgrass prairie, McCullough and Douglas creek corridors, paved and unpaved walking trails, the Timpone Ornamental Tree Grove, organic garden plots, a sensory garden, an herb garden, the Freyfogle Overlook, the district's largest play structure PrairiePlay and the Wandell Sculpture Garden.
Since 1977, the Urbana Park District, Champaign county Audubon Society and other volunteers have worked to recreate and restore the natural areas of Meadowbrook as outposts of the Illinois native landscape.
Three miles of paved trails make this park ideal for walking, jogging, inline skating and cycling. See an aerial site map.
Prairie Restoration efforts at Meadowbrook began in 1977 with additional acreage added in 1984 to bring the total acreage up to 16 acres. With ongoing assistance from Champaign County Audubon Society much more was planted in 1990, ‘91, ‘93, ‘96, and ‘97 bringing the total acreage up towards 67 acres including the Spomer Prairie and Wandell Sculpture Garden planting. In 2006, an additional 13 acres of prairie and several trees and shrubs were installed in the Walker Grove savanna planting to the south. A grand view of the prairie restoration is provided at the Freyfogle Overlook. This accessible feature includes seating areas and interpretive signage from highest location in the park.
At 13,000 sq ft, PrairiePlay is the Urbana Park District’s largest playground. The design and funding for the project were heavily driven by community support. Numerous concrete pavers with messages and handprints surround the playground in honor of the many donors and volunteers who helped build the structure in 1995.
Click here to learn more about planning the next Meadowbrook Playground!
Gardens in Meadowbrook Park
Meadowbrook is home to many examples of garden styles that work in east central Illinois as well as examples of habitats that are being restored to reflect the areas natural history. The list of gardens in the park includes:
Since 1975, the Meadowbrook Organic Garden program has supported healthy bodies and a healthy community. We provide space, water, hoses and wheelbarrows. You supply tools, plants and labor. During the garden season (March-October), a Garden Supervisor can assist with questions or concerns. As this is a community garden, gardeners are encouraged and expected to network with each other and the public.
For more information, call 217-384-4062 or see the Garden Manual. Tips on the basics of organic gardening are available in the supplemental guide.
Register for a garden plot by calling 217-367-1544 or completing the registration form. Online registration is not available.
Historic McCullough Farmstead
Prior to becoming a park, Meadowbrook was the McCullough family farm. Today, many of the farmstead features remain and have been incorporated into the park landscape near the Race Street entrance. The corncrib stands as an anchor piece for the surrounding sensory garden, the dairy barn has been renovated and serves as a programmed interpretive center, and the farmhouse is occupied as a private staff residence.
Meadowbrook Park features 3 miles of 10’ wide multi-use paved paths. A large loop around the entire park and a smaller loop around the Wandell Sculpture Garden provide for those with different schedules or ambitions. For a more off the beaten path experience, an additional 2 miles of unpaved paths wander through the park’s prairie and stream corridors. Visitors on bikes, inline skates, and boards are asked to refrain from excessive speeds and respect others while making use of the trails.