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Wander at the Wetland - Nygren Wetland Preserve
Wander at the Wetland is a free, family friendly outdoor event. All ages, families and individuals will enjoy the natural setting of the prairies and wetlands as they hike, snowshoe or ski the trail set with hundreds of luminaries under the full moon. There are plenty of places to warm up including the winter-themed greenhouse lodge and by two bonfires. Complimentary refreshments will be in the greenhouse lodge with cookies, snacks, hot cocoa, coffee and tea. Throughout the event there will be guided trail tours or self-guided hikes available. Rocktown Adventures will be on site with snowshoes to rent. Free admission. Registration is requested by February 2.
Creekside Outdoor Center for Environmental Education
Located along Sugar Creek, about five miles north of Lincoln, Creekside the Outdoor Center for Environmental Education will be an experiential outdoor classroom featuring an outdoor teaching pavilion, insectarium, greenhouse, and a restored prairie. It will include parking space, bioswales, rain gardens, and boardwalks and sidewalks to make the site handicapped-accessible. When complete it will be powered by solar panels and a wind generator.
Waukegan Charter Boat Fishing
Eight experienced fishing charter boat captains offering World Class Salmon, Trout and Perch fishing April into November. The Waukegan Charter Boat Association is the oldest and largest charter boat fleet on Lake Michigan. Experience Coho Salmon, Chinook ( King ) Salmon, Rainbow (Steelhead) Trout, Brown Trout and Lake Trout fishing on the western shores of Lake Michigan out of Waukegan, Illinois.
Springbrook Nature Center
The present Springbrook facilities includes a barn-styled building with a classroom, open area with activities, a large aquarium and restrooms. The land includes 2 miles of trails that are open year-round. Whether you are walking through a tunnel of prairie grasses or standing four feet above a cattail marsh on the 700 foot long boardwalk, the sights will take you back to the days of the explorers. Along your walk you’ll discover a flowing brook, shady woods, flower-filled meadows and prairies, and marshes thick with cattails and ancient willows.
Riegel Farm & Conservation Center
Riegel Farm has a very diverse group of animal residents. We have exotic birds and reptiles such as an alligator and snakes. Birthday parties, group tours, pony rides and hayrides.
CITY: University Park
The Friends of the Indian Boundary Prairies
Located only 26 miles southwest of Chicago. Over 200 acres of pristine Illinois native prairie, much like the area was pre-settlement. Wildflowers, birds, butterflies abound! Prairie slide shows and tours available with advanced notice.
Owl Prowl Weekend
On Friday and Saturday: Steve Bailey, an ornithologist, will be here for Owl Programs and Owl Walks. Programs are at 6:00 pm with an Owl Walk to follow on both days, finishing back at the lodge around 8:30 pm. Price is $10 for adults and $7 for children 10&under. Everyone should plan on bringing a flashlight. During the program, Steve will have some owl specimens, feathers and pellets. He will be trying to call in a Screech, Barred and Great Horned Owls. Maybe if we are lucky we will see some nest or uncommon wintering owls. Reservations required on Saturday and Sunday: “Hoo” Haven Wildlife and Education Center from Durand, IL will be here with their owls for a presentation. Programs are at 10am, 12pm and 2pm in the LaSalle Room of the Lodge. Adults $5, Children 10&under: $2.50.
Loyola University Retreat & Ecology Center
Welcome to 100 acres of prairies, savannas, woodlands, wetlands, and ponds- otherwise known as Loyola University Chicago's Retreat and Ecology Campus. Located in beautiful Woodstock, Ill., our retreat facility welcomes guests to visit our ecologically friendly campus and experience the great outdoors through a multitude of interactive team building activities. The Retreat and Ecology Campus provides a serene setting for overnight conferences, retreats, workshops, classes, and special events, while allowing individuals to connect intellectually, spiritually, and through nature.
Von Bergen's Country Market
Our farm market features a large variety of farm fresh family grown vegetables. Our sweet corn is picked fresh every morning when its the sweetest. Tomatoes, green beans, pickling cucumbers, broccoli, zucchini and other summer squash, a variety of specialty peppers are among the fresh vegetables we grow here on our farm. If fruit is what you are looking for, you will find our homegrown muskmelon, honeydew and watermelon delicious. We also carry Michigan peaches, pears, nectarines and other in season fruit from the Midwest. We are a working family operated farm. We want you to have a day on the farm experience when you stop by during the summer or the fall. Our tractor/sand box play areas are available all during the season. Our own animals are always here for you to visit, but we do bring in more during the fall season. In the fall we have our family grown pumpkins, gourds, corn shocks, Indian corn and other specialty decorations. Of course we will still have the fall veggies, squash and more, plus the continuing of the summer treats! KNOW YOUR FOOD! KNOW YOUR FARMER!
Willowhaven Interpretive Center
Whispering Willows Park at Willowhaven Interpretive Center features open prairies, wetlands, interpretive gardens and 1.5 miles of limestone trails surrounding two scenic ponds. All trails begin and end at the Willowhaven Interpretive Center scenic outlook.
The marina is surrounded by a nine acre green space with shelter and electricity for picnics or family reunions; public restrooms with showers; playground; grills and picnic tables. For more information on rentals, the picnic shelter, or winter storage, contact the marina or visit their website.
Fullersburg Woods Nature Education Center
Educational facility offering exhibits, interactive programs and interpretive trails that highlight DuPage County's unique natural history. Open daily. Admission free.
CITY: Oak Brook
Bicentennial Riverfront Park
Bicentennial Riverfront Park is a five-acre community park on the south bank of the Fox River. Built by volunteers on Hydraulic Street, Bicentennial Riverfront Park makes optimum use of the river, with abundant fishing, plus canoe and kayak access to the white water chute. There is also a beautiful view of the Glenn Palmer Dam as you follow the trail along the river and the picnic area, playground and river-side pavilion are popular community gathering spots in the summertime.
Guests have the opportunity to rent canoes, kayaks, and paddleboats to explore the rivers and lakes at Kickapoo State Park. Canoe and kayak trips (8 or 13 mile) are offered or rentals can be done by the hour. Following your adventure, guests can grab a bite to eat at the on-site Dockside Cafe which offers live music throughout the summer.
Wards Grove Nature Preserve
Wards Grove is the best “mound forest” remaining in the Driftless Area. 335 protected acres of woodlands with populations of sensitive plant and animal species.
Friends Creek Regional Park
36 sites with pads, 20 extended-stay sites, 22 regular sites, electrical hook-ups, modern restrooms and showers. Reservations required.
This 34-acre park located next to the Big Muddy River includes a public boat ramp, picnic areas, ball fields, hiking trails, a pavilion, historic band shell and playground areas.
Wapello Land & Water Reserve
Experience Native American mounds, prairie and the Apple River. Hike beginner trails. Pets welcome. Fishing allowed.
Lakewood Forest Preserve
Amboy Marsh Wildlife Sanctuary
The Amboy Marsh Wildlife Sanctuary is 272 acre of wetlands offering a rare and fragile ecosystem, which includes endangered turtles, many birds and unique plant life. It is located near the intersection of U.S. Route 52 and Mormon Road about 3 miles south of Amboy. Open to the public 7 days a week for walking and bird-watching. No dogs are allowed due to sensitive plant and wildlife.
Schurmeier Teaching Forest
Two miles of beginner and intermediate hiking trails, educational signage teaches about tree and forestry practices. This forest is the perfect place to spend the day. Horses welcome!
Rall Woods State Natural Area
280 acres for public hunting, hiking, nature viewing. Area has native hilltop prairies and views of the Mississippi River.
Hanover Bluff Nature Preserve
This nature reserve is the perfect place to bring the family. Hike 450 natural acres, home of nine Illinois endangered or threatened plants and animals. Hanover Bluff Nature Preserve is The Prairie State's 150th nature preserve.
Columbia Woods Forest Preserve
A River Thru History
CITY: Willow Springs