AROUND TOWN - NATURE CENTERS
Lake Katherine Nature Preserve and Botanic Gardens
7402 Lake Katherine Drive, Palos Heights
This nature center and botanic garden offers many opportunities to observe wildlife in their natural habitat. Lake Katherine provides a nesting area for migratory waterfowl, as well as a refuge for many different species of wildlife. Hike 3.5 miles of trails.
Little Red School House Nature Center
9800 Willow Springs Rd., Willow Springs
The “Little Red Schoolhouse” is part of the historic past of Palos Hills in which it is more or less centrally located. Visit the schoolhouse or follow the paths around the lake.
Pilcher Park Nature Preserve
2501 Highland Park Dr., Joliet
The nature center features small animals like reptiles along with kids' activities. There are hiking and bike trails, playground areas and picnic grounds.
Hidden Oak Nature Center
201 Recreation Drive, Bolingbrook
Find bluebirds, a raccoon, snakes and other animals while exploring the nature center. Search the exhibits and interpretive signs along the trails for information about savannas, geothermal heating, restoration and archeology.
27341 Ridgeland Ave., Monee
Shoreline fishing on a 47-acre lake. Boat rentals and concessions available. Features 2.5-mile hiking trail that loops through a wetland.
Plum Creek Nature Center
27064 Dutton Rd., Beecher
There are hands-on exhibits at the center and other activities. A large window provides an observation area for the bird feeding station. Most children's programming is on weekends.
Sand Ridge Nature Center
15891 Paxton Ave., South Holland
Now you can visit prairies, hike through forest, savannahs and wetlands, see local animal species and exhibits at the center. The trails are soft but usually stroller friendly except in wet weather.
Lake Renwick Heron Rookery in Plainfield
Lake Renwick Heron Rookery is a unique site in Illinois where great blue herons, great egrets, black-crowned night herons, double-crested cormorants, and cattle egrets nest together. The site includes a 200-acre lake with several small islands used for nesting.
The Lake Renwick Heron Rookery Visitor Center offers an opportunity for you to see these birds for yourself during public bird-viewing programs and interpretive hikes. During the breeding season, the Visitor Center and the Preserve are only open during these programs, which take place from May 1 through August 15 on Wednesdays at 10:00 a.m. and on Saturdays at 8:00 a.m., and are free of charge. The Rookery is located on Renwick Road, 1 mile east of Rt 30. For information call 815.727.8700 or visit www.reconnectwithnature.org