Enjoy Hands-on Activities and Displays at Creek Bend Nature Center

Indoor Places to GoNature

Run by the Forest Preserve District of Kane County, Creek Bend Nature Center can be found in the heart of LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve in St. Charles. One of the many incredible nature centers in the western suburbs, Creek Bend Nature Center is filled with hands-on activities and interactive displays.

We paired our visit with a trip to Hickory Knolls Discovery Center, and spent the day learning about local animals and habitats. These two nature centers are about 2 miles apart, making them the perfect combo trip for your littlest explorers.

Features of Creek Bend Nature Center

Creek Bend Nature Center is home to countless interactive displays that fill the main exhibit hall. Visitors will find taxidermy animals in display cases, complete with information plaques. Below each section are drawers filled with even more information about various animals and STEM topics.

Across the main walkway are smaller containers with various sensory and exploratory bins. Children can pick between topics that include “Wild Weather”, “Rocks and Minerals”, “Native Plants” and so much more. We enjoyed exploring textures, guessing facts about local birds, and playing with toy animals. We spent quite a bit of time here, only to find even more to do as we rounded the wall.

In the back corner, there were a handful of pelts and a microscope to try. There is also a small foxes’ den to crawl in, and a handful of interactive displays to listen to animal and nature sounds. My 5-year old loves any chance to push buttons.

For younger visitors, a corner of the exhibit space near the main entrance is filled with children’s puzzles, toys, books, puppets, and other kid-friendly activities. Even though we have a few of these toys, my son enjoyed the opportunity to play with them again, but out in a new environment.

Guests can explore the grounds of LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve, which includes over 15 mowed and limestone trails, varying in lengths up to 1.5 miles. The Creek Bend Nature Center is located near the Durant-Peterson House Museum and Sholes School Museum, bringing guests back to life in the 1800’s. Open on select Sundays, these museums give visitors the opportunity to test out their pioneer skills.


No food is sold at Creek Bend Nature Center, and there is no designated area to eat inside. We’d recommend packing a picnic lunch, or stopping somewhere in downtown St. Charles to extend your time in the area. We even see a few Kids Eat Free deals in St. Charles!


There are public restrooms inside the building, just across the hall from the main exhibit space. Both female and male restrooms have a changing table.


Creek Bend Nature Center is open throughout the week, but is closed on Fridays. Visitors are welcome from 10:00am – 4:00pm from Monday to Thursday, and Saturday to Sunday from 12:00pm to 4:00pm.


Visiting the Creek Bend Nature Center is always free!

Recommended Ages

While the exhibit hall is smaller, there is a ton to do here. My son, who is 5 years old, appreciated that he could touch everything. Opening drawers, playing with sensory items, puzzles and books. There was so much to explore.

Elementary-aged students would appreciate getting to read about and test their knowledge with the activities, while older toddlers would get the most out of their time in the children’s corner. We love that this area has space to run outside, too. With dedicated trails, visitors can burn off any additional energy with a tour down the trails before heading home.

Best Days/Times To Go

Mornings and days when the weather isn’t cooperating tend to be busier. When we were there, we shared the space with about four other families, and felt that we had plenty of room to give each other space.


The Creek Bend Nature Center houses all of their exhibits on one floor, which is easily accessible by wheelchair.

Upcoming Events

Creek Bend Nature Center is home to a variety of nature programming. On the second Wednesday of the month, they host monthly, themed storytimes. You can also find more details about free or drop-in events offered at the Creek Bend Nature Center by visiting the Kidlist calendar.

Creek Bend Nature Center
37W700 Dean Street
St. Charles, IL 60175
(630) 444-3190

Looking for more great nature centers throughout the Chicagoland? We have a list for that!

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