By John McDevitt

By John McDevitt

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — An abandoned reservoir in Fairmount Park, inaccessible to the public for decades, will the new site of an outdoor discovery center.

The reservoir was once considered a world class water storage facility when it was built in the late 1800s. It was abandoned by the city about 45 years ago and closed off to public access.

Outward Bound and National Audubon Society joined forces to create The Discovery Center.

Phil Wallis, Executive Director of the Audubon Pennsylvania, says with more than a 130 species of birds, it is one the most extraordinary bird settings in the United States and one of the few in an urban area.

(McDevitt:) “So how? Why?”

“Pristine water,” said Wallis. “When you think about it the water department has done an amazing job protecting our human water and natural water and this part of the reservoir has never had any pollution in it and the birds know it. They vote with their wings.”

The 50-acre discovery center is slated to open in the Spring of 2017 and will include classrooms, trails, canoe launch, high ropes challenge course, climbing wall and bird-watching platforms.