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Summer in the Forest Preserves of Cook County
New summer hours at nature centers, including extended hours on Thursdays

Thursday, May 22, 2014
Special to
by Cook County Forest Preserve


New summer hours at nature centers, including extended hours on Thursdays

From fields of wildflowers to miles of trails and scores of fishing lakes, there’s so much nature to discover in the Forest Preserves of Cook County this summer. In addition to regular programming at the Forest Preserves’ six nature centers, summer provides the perfect setting for special events throughout the county.

Take a paddling adventure or shoot scenic landscapes on a Photo Meet-up. Fish, hike and explore at one of our nature celebrations or enjoy an evening with the family at our Films in the Forest or Forest Jams series.

“We’ve never provided so many diverse activities to draw visitors to the preserves and inspire them to experience nature,” said Forest Preserves of Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle. “Whether you’re looking for fun family activities or peace and quiet, the forest preserves have something for everyone this summer.”

All events are free and family friendly unless otherwise noted. For a complete listing of summer events, visit


The Forest Preserves of Cook County is excited to announce new summer hours at five of our six nature centers. Effective June through August:

·Nature center buildings will be open Tuesdays through Sundays, 9 am – 4:30 pm (closed Mondays).

·Nature center grounds will be open 8 am – 5 pm daily.

·We’ve added special evening hours: On Thursdays, buildings and grounds will be open until 8 pm.

·Please note that hours will remain the same at Sagawau Environmental Learning Center:

oBuilding: 9 am – 4 pm

oGrounds: 8 am – 4 pm

oOpen seven days a week


Nature is Accessible!

Wednesday, June 4 • 10 am – 2 pm

Little Red Schoolhouse Nature Center, 9800 Willow Springs Rd, Willow Springs

Join us for hours of fun and exploration. Trail walks, pond exploration and hands-on learning will delight visitors of all abilities. Learning activities are accessible.

Explore the Forest: 100 Years and Growing!

Sunday, June 8 • noon – 4 pm

Crabtree Nature Center, 3 Stover Rd, Barrington Hills

Climb a tree! Touch a fish! Check out restoration equipment! Pitch a tent! Try archery! See the many ways to enjoy the forest preserves. Special Stick with Nature activities at this Leave No Child Inside Event.

Live Healthy, Discover Nature

Tuesday, June 10 • 10 am – 2 pm

Daley Plaza, 50 W. Washington, Chicago

The Forest Preserves come to the city for a fun-filled day of nature-related activities and live animal demonstrations.

Beaubien Woods Celebration

Saturday, June 14 • 11 am – 4 pm

Beaubien Woods, I-94 & Doty Ave, Chicago

Enjoy this annual family event sponsored in partnership with Fishin’ Buddies and the Calumet Stewardship Initiative. Fish, explore, build with natural materials, hike and more! Register at

“Juneteenth” Celebration

Saturday, June 21 • 10 am – 3 pm

Sand Ridge Nature Center, 15891 S. Paxton, South Holland

Join us as we celebrate freedom, family, and country with our historical Underground Railroad program. Enjoy displays, an interactive interpretive hike, traditional music, crafts and much more.

Kids’ Fest

Saturday, July 12 • 10 am – 4 pm

Wampum Lake, I-90/94 & Thornton-Lansing Rd, Thornton-Lansing

Enjoy fishing, hiking, canoeing, archery and other fun activities at this free outdoor extravaganza for kids of all ages. Presented in partnership with Fishin’ Buddies and the Youth Conservation Conference. Register online at

CAMBr Meltdown

Sunday, July 20 • 9 am – 5 pm

Pulaski Woods, 9800 Wolf Rd, Willow Springs

The CAMBr Meltdown is Chicagoland’s premiere mountain biking event, with racing for all ages and abilities. Free for spectators.

Evening Storytelling

Wednesday, August 6 • 7 pm

Trailside Museum of Natural History, 738 Thatcher Ave, River Forest

Join us on a summer’s night for stories and campfire snacks. Family program; $2. Register by 8/4.

Teen Exploration Day

Wednesday, August 6 • 12 – 4 pm

Powderhorn Lake, 13843-14387 S. Brainard Ave, Burnham

The Youth Outdoor Ambassadors invite other teens to join them for a day of outdoor adventure. Enjoy canoeing, hiking, archery, art making and more.

Readers Are Leaders

Thursday, August 7 • 10:30 – 11:30 am

Cummings Square, 536 N. Harlem, River Forest

WTTW Kids brings Readers Are Leaders performances featuring Miss Lori’s CAMPUS to the Forest Preserves. Families with children ages 3-9 years can sing, dance and celebrate all things reading.

Teens Outside: The Summit

Friday, August 15 • 12 – 6 pm

Green Lake, 1100 River Oaks Dr, Calumet City

Share with your peers what it means for you to be outdoors! Enjoy some great conversation, engage in fun, interactive breakout groups, try your hand at writing green poetry, archery and more.

Hummingbird Festival

Saturday, August 16 • 8:30 am – 3 pm

Sagawau Environmental Learning Center, 12545 W 111th St, Lemont

Celebrate the beauty of these amazing birds, and join us for games, viewing and demonstrations of how the birds are banded for tracking and research purposes.

Family Fish Fest

Saturday, August 23 • 12 – 4 pm

Powderhorn Lake, 13843-14387 S. Brainard Ave, Burnham

Celebrate all things “fish” in partnership with the Chicago Park District. The whole family can enjoy fishing, canoeing, archery, learning about native fishes, crafts and more.


Photo Meet-Ups

The Forest Preserves Photo Meet-ups series is for photographers of all skill levels. Each gathering will feature a naturalist leading a brief tour of the area, highlighting interesting plants, scenic vistas and wildlife. Photographers can capture images and share tips for getting the best shot.

Saturday, June 28 • 10 am

Bemis Woods South

Ogden and Wolf Roads, Westchester

Meet at the information sign near Grove 6.

Hosted by Trailside Museum of Natural History

Saturday, July 26 • 10 am

Sand Ridge Prairie Nature Preserve

Meet in the Sand Ridge Nature Center parking lot,

15891 Paxton Ave, South Holland.

Hosted by Sand Ridge Nature Center

Saturday, August 23 • 10 am

Swallow Cliff Woods South

11918 S LaGrange Rd, Palos Park

Hosted by the Little Red Schoolhouse Nature Center

Third Thursdays

This monthly series explores nature, art and more. Call 708-771-1373 for more information.

Cummings Square, 536 N. Harlem Ave, River Forest

Thursday, June 19 • Pre-movie activities at 6:30 pm. Movie begins at dusk.

Film in the Forest: “Over the Hedge” Rated PG

A scheming raccoon learns a thing or two about the importance of family.

Thursday, July 17 • 11 am – 2 pm

Wellness in the Woods

Learn about and enjoy both the physical and mental health benefits of spending time in nature. Bring your workout outdoors!

Thursday, August 21 • 1 pm – 4 pm

Monarchs and More

Celebrate all things monarch! We’ll explore their migratory patterns, learn about plants that help and attract them and more. Create your own memory to take home.

Archery Series

Nature Obstacle Course & Archery Night

Eggers Woods, 11201 S. Avenue B, Chicago

Families, try our outdoor challenge! Attempt our nature obstacle course—created from all-natural forest materials. You can also join our staff for archery instruction and activities. Obstacle course for all ages; archery for ages 10 & up. Call 708-771-1010 to reserve your spot.

Wednesday, June 11 • 4 – 8 pm

Afterschool Archery & Hike

Thatcher Woods, 8030 Chicago Ave, River Forest

Explore the trails of Thatcher Woods on a hike led by Forest Preserve staff, followed by a hands-on archery workshop. Pack a picnic and stay for dinner! Ages 10 & up. Archery equipment provided. Call 708-771-1010 to reserve your spot.

Wednesday, August 27 • 5:30 – 7:30 pm

Paddling Series

Dog Fun and Doggy Paddle

Beck Lake Off-Leash Dog Area

1000 N. East River Rd, Des Plaines

Spend some time with your pup and learn about our new Off-Leash Dog Area volunteer opportunities. Then head over to the Beck Lake Boat Launch for a special paddle. Your dog is invited, too! Canoe instruction provided. Ages 12 & up. Call 708-771-1010 for more information.

Thursday, June 5 • 6 – 8 pm

Little Calumet River Ecology Paddle and Cleanup

Little Calumet Boat Launch, Ashland & Jackson, Riverdale

Help us clean up the river as we paddle down to Kickapoo Woods and back. Learn about fur-bearing animals and aquatic life along the Little Calumet. Canoe instruction provided; includes lunch. All ages. Groups welcome. Register at

Saturday, June 7 • 9:30 am – 1 pm

Beginners Evening Paddle

Big Bend Lake, 9301 Golf Rd, Des Plaines

Beginner canoeists, this paddle is for you! Learn from Forest Preserve instructors about parts of the canoe and basic paddle strokes. Pack a snack and some water and we’ll relax under the evening sky. Call 708-771-1010 to reserve your spot.

Thursday, July 10 • 6 – 8 pm

Birds of Prey Paddling Workshop

Powderhorn Lake, 13843-14387 S. Brainard Ave, Burnham

Learn exciting facts about our native raptors and their habitat, diet and adaptations. Then head out onto the water to look for signs of raptors and their prime habitats. Lunch and snacks included. Instruction provided; call 708-771-1010 to reserve your spot.

Saturday, August 9 • 9:30 am – 2 pm

Full Moon Celebration Paddle

Skokie Lagoons, Tower Road Boat Launch, Winnetka

Join us for a unique paddle dedicated to celebrating the appearance of a full moon. This canoe trip is more than just a paddle—it’s an experience full of surprises you won’t soon forget. Space is limited; call 708-771-1010 to reserve your spot.

Tuesday, August 12 • 6 – 9:30 pm


Join us for movie nights! Feature films with a nature connection will be presented along with family friendly activities based on the film. Pack a picnic dinner or grab a bite from food trucks and enjoy an evening of fun at scenic preserve venues. Pre-movie activities start at 6:30 pm. Movie begins at dusk.

Thursday, June 19

“Over the Hedge” Rated PG

Cummings Square

536 N. Harlem, River Forest

Thursday, June 26

“The Princess Bride” Rated PG

Caldwell Woods

6350 W. Devon Ave, Chicago

Tuesday, July 8

“WALL-E” Rated G

Eggers Woods

11201 S. Avenue B, Chicago

Tuesday, July 15

“Epic” Rated PG

Whealan Pool

6200 W. Devon Ave, Chicago

Thursday, July 31

“The Hunger Games” Rated PG-13

Green Lake Aquatic Center

1100 River Oaks Drive, Calumet City

Thursday, August 14

“The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” Rated PG-13

Cermak Aquatic Center

7600 W. Ogden Ave, Lyons

Thursday, August 28

“Jens Jensen The Living Green” Not rated.

Deer Grove East, Grove 1

Pepper Tree Dr. & Dundee Road, Palatine


Head out to our summer concert series and participate in group jam sessions, learn about making instruments from natural and recycled materials and enjoy concerts by local musicians. Pre-activities start at 5:30 pm. Concert runs from 6:30 to 8 pm.

Tuesday, June 24

Green Lake Aquatic Center

1100 River Oaks Drive, Calumet City

Tuesday, July 22

Cermak Aquatic Center

7600 W. Ogden Ave, Lyons

Tuesday, August 5

Dan Ryan Pavilion, Grove 5

87th and Western, Chicago

Tuesday, August 19

Whealan Pool

6200 W. Devon Ave, Chicago


Take a hike, discover fun facts, explore, build and create! The Forest Fun Van and University of Illinois Mobile Lab bring outdoor fun and nature learning to picnic groves all over the county. Look for us on Saturdays at these locations!

Saturday, June 28 • 1 – 4 pm

Schiller Woods West, Grove 6

9228 Irving Park Rd, Schiller Park

Saturday, July 5 • 1 – 4 pm

Bunker Hill, Grove 4

6639 W. Harts Rd, Niles

Saturday, July 26 • 1 – 4 pm

Rubio Woods, Grove 1

5800 Midlothian Turnpike, Midlothian

Saturday, August 2 • 1 – 4 pm

Bemis Woods North, Grove 2

Wolf Rd & 35th St, Westchester

Saturday, August 9 • 1 – 4 pm

Dan Ryan Pavilion

87th & Western, Chicago

Saturday, August 30 • 1 – 4 pm

Midlothian Meadows, Grove 2

15398 Crawford, Markham

# # #

About the Forest Preserves of Cook County
Established in 1914, the Forest Preserves of Cook County is the oldest and one of the largest forest preserve systems in the nation, maintaining more than 69,000 acres of open land for the education, pleasure and recreation of the public. The Forest Preserves strives to protect and restore the county's diverse ecosystems, so all our unique native plants and animals can live and thrive. Each year, millions of people use these lands and facilities to enjoy or study nature, bicycle, hike, fish, cross-country ski, picnic, golf, canoe, or simply relax in a large preserve that leaves urban life behind. For more information on the Forest Preserves of Cook County, visit

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