45 Nature Centers in Chicagoland: Visitors Centers, Nature Musueums, and Conservatories for Hands-On Nature Play

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Indoor Places to GoNature

By visiting a nature center near me, I have the chance to teach my children to appreciate nature, value its beauty, and honor the many benefits it provides. And with three young kids who love to explore, I am always looking for places to go where they can touch everything, get a little dirty, and develop their curiosity about the world we live in!

Thanks to wildlife and environmental professionals, these mini-museums are often interactive, educational, and fun for the whole family. Another bonus is that many are indoor locations, so you can visit them year-round.

Your choices for the Top 10 Nature Centers of 2024 are all here, too! Kidlist Reader Picks are noted with a star emoji ⭐ in the title and a note in the description. We loved hearing all about your favorite nature destinations; thank you so much to everyone who voted.

The hours listed have been updated as of February, 2024 and are subject to change.

Nature Centers in Chicagoland

Crabtree Nature Center in Barrington

Crabtree Nature Center
3 Stover Road
Barrington, IL 60010
(847) 381-6592

The exhibit building includes local wildlife displays and serves as a base for exploring three unpaved trails. From March through October, it is open from 9:00am – 5:00pm, and from November through February, it is open from 9:00am – 4:00pm. It is always closed on Fridays.

Red Oak Nature Center in Batavia

Red Oak Nature Center
2343 S. River Street
Batavia, IL 60510
(630) 897-1808

Red Oak’s Wildlife Room includes hands-on exhibits and a 500-gallon turtle and fish habitat, as well as frogs, salamanders, snakes, and more. Katie’s family visited this nature center a few summers ago; make sure to check out her full overview of Red Oak Nature Center. Current hours are Tuesday through Friday from 10:00am – 4:00pm and Saturday from 10:00am – 2:00pm; it is closed on Sundays and Mondays.

Kidlist readers picked Red Oak Nature Center as one of the Top 10 Chicagoland Nature Centers of 2024!

Bartlett Nature Center in Bartlett

Bartlett Nature Center
2054 W. Stearns Road
Bartlett, IL 60103
(847) 608-3120

Reptiles, insects, birds, and amphibians can be found both indoors and outdoors at the Bartlett Nature Center. There are also four miles of crushed limestone trails. Guests are welcome Monday through Friday from 9:00am – 4:00pm, and Saturday from 9:00am – 1:00pm.

Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum in Chicago

Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum
2430 North Cannon Drive
Chicago, IL 60614
(773) 755-5100

The Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum features many different exhibits to entertain your whole family! The Hawver and Lacy Families Nature’s PlaySpace, geared towards kids 7 and under, includes 25 interactives that bring nature indoors. Note that there is a fee to visit, but Thursdays are Donation Days for Illinois residents. It is open daily from 10:00am – 4:00pm, with the exception of May 3, November 28, and December 25, 2024.

Lyman Woods Nature Center in Downers Grove

Lyman Woods Nature Center
901 31st Street
Downers Grove, IL 60515
(630) 963-9388

This sustainably built center has a living roof, a vegetable garden, an active bee colony that produces local honey for sale, and a toddler-friendly, outdoor play area with a wooden house and stage. Inside, you’ll find exhibits, displays, an active beehive at work, and a couple resident amphibian friends. If you go on a day with good weather, explore the woods onsite and be sure to check out a family Adventure Pack to use along the way. Hours are Monday – Saturday from 9:00am – 4:00pm and Sunday from 10:00am – 2:00pm. See their website for additional closures.

Peck Farm Park Nature Center in Geneva

Peck Farm Park
4038 Kaneville Road
Geneva, IL 60134
(630) 262-8244

Peck Farm Park features a butterfly house, nature playground, nature center and museum, observation silo, and sensory garden. Check out Katie’s review of Peck Farm Park for more information about what to expect on your visit there! Hours for the nature center are Monday – Saturday from 9:00am – 5:00pm and Sunday from 12:00pm – 4:00pm.

The Grove Interpretive Center in Glenview

The Grove Interpretive Center
1421 Milwaukee Ave.
Glenview, IL 60025
(847) 299-6096

The Grove features the Interpretative Center, which is a nature center with many live animals (birds, turtles, snakes, and fish). There are also environmental exhibits and historical resources there. Built on 150 acres of land, The Grove is home to trails, a blacksmith shop, a one-room schoolhouse replica, a log cabin and Native American village, and more. Its hours are Monday – Friday from 8:00am – 4:30pm and weekends from 9:00am – 5:00pm.

Volo Bog Visitor Center in Ingleside

Volo Bog
28478 Brandenburg Road
Ingleside, IL 60041
(815) 344-1294

The only open-water quaking bog in Illinois, Volo Bog lets visitors explore the floating mat of moss, cattails, and sedges. The Visitor Center is housed in an updated dairy barn and features a second floor with exhibits and a hands-on discovery area. The Visitor Center is open Wednesday – Sunday from 9:00am – 3:00pm; call to check daily availability before visiting.

Spring Brook Nature Center in Itasca

Spring Brook Nature Center
130 Forest Avenue
Itasca, IL 60143
(630) 773-5572

Kids can check out a big aquarium with fish and turtles or put together free crafts inside this nature center, which looks like a big red barn. The center was recently renovated and is now home to 10 raptors! A butterfly and hummingbird garden grows in warmer weather. Hours vary by season; see website for details.

Pilcher Park Nature Center in Joliet

Pilcher Park Nature Center
2501 Highland Park Drive
Joliet, IL 60432
(815) 741-7277

The first floor of the nature center has an area with turtles by the entrance and tanks and cages of live animals, including snakes, toads, a bearded lizard, and a ferret that was sleeping in a hammock when Annie visited with her kids. The Nature Center is open from 9:00am – 3:00pm daily; it is closed on holidays.

Plum Creek Nature Center in Joliet

Plum Creek Nature Center
17540 West Laraway Road
Joliet, IL 60433
(815) 727-8700

At the Plum Creek Nature Center, you can meet Bluey – a blue-tongued skink! The nature center also features hands-on exhibits and interactive play elements. Check out a honeybee exhibit, bird observation area, or have fun at the rain and pollinator gardens in the nature playscape. Hours are Tuesday – Saturday from 10:00am – 4:00pm and Sunday from 12:00pm – 4:00pm.

Lake Katherine Nature Center and Botanic Gardens in Palos Heights

Lake Katherine Nature Center and Botanic Gardens
7402 W Lake Katherine Drive
Palos Heights, IL 60463
(708) 361-1873

Lake Katherine is an 85-acre restored natural refuge that features hiking trails, a nature center, colorful gardens, a waterfall, and plenty of wildlife! The nature center encourages hands-on learning and lets kids get up close to a variety of animals. From late May until early October, rent a kayak or canoe to explore the gorgeous lake. Lake Katherine is open daily from dawn until dusk; the nature center is open Monday – Friday from 9:00am – 5:00pm and Saturday from 10:00am – 4:00pm.

Lake Katherine was chosen by Kidlist readers as a Top 10 Nature Center of 2024!

Sagawau Environmental Learning Center in Lemont

Sagawau Environmental Learning Center
12545 West 111th Street
Lemont, IL 60439
(630) 257-2045

The center has a big, cozy space filled with tables and chairs, as well as a couch by the fire—perfect for getting warm after a winter walk (or snowshoe) through the adjacent woods. Informational exhibits and displays include topics like geology and habitat management, and are mostly text and pictures – ideal for elementary-aged visitors and up. It is open daily from 9:00am – 4:00pm, with some holiday closures.

Jurica-Suchy Nature Museum in Lisle

Jurica-Suchy Nature Museum
Benedictine University (2nd floor of Birck Hall)
5700 College Road
Lisle, IL 60532
(630) 829-6545

Check out the impressive collection of over 3,500 mammals, birds, sea creatures, reptiles, amphibians, insects, skeletons, and more at the Jurica-Suchy Nature Museum! The museum provides scavenger hunts to keep your little ones engaged, and you can even check out “Discovery Boxes” which include specimens, background info, and suggested activities. Before visiting, reserve a time to explore – groups of 5 or more can call ahead, and all visitors should be 5 years old or older. When open, hours vary by season.

Knoch Knolls Nature Center in Naperville

Knoch Knolls Nature Center in Naperville

Knoch Knolls Nature Center
320 Knoch Knolls Road
Naperville, IL 60565
(630) 864-3964

This center sits on the edge of the DuPage River and has a large deck that extends out over the water for fabulous views. Outside, there’s a neat mud-free playground; inside, there are exhibits about the river, an aquarium, a living wall of plants, and more. Check out their calendar to search for kid-friendly events. Hours vary by season, so check the website ahead of time. As of February 2024, they are open Monday – Friday from 9:00am – 1:00pm and 1:30pm – 4:30pm, and Saturday from 9:00am – 3:00pm; they are closed on Sunday.

The Knoch Knolls Nature Center was picked as a Top 10 Nature Center for 2024 by Kidlist Readers!

River Trail Nature Center in Northbrook

River Trail Nature Center
3120 Milwaukee Ave
Northbrook, IL 60062
(847) 824-8360

This indoor nature center exhibits include hands-on activities for kids, including the chance to touch different animal artifacts. The center has indoor and outdoor play spaces and hosts regular nature activities. From March – October, it is open from 9:00am – 5:00pm; from November – February, it is open from 9:00am – 4:00pm. It’s closed on Fridays and certain holidays.

Fullersburg Woods Nature Education Center in Oak Brook

Fullersburg Woods Nature Education Center
3609 Spring Road
Oak Brook, IL 60523
(630) 850-8110

This spot has been a Kidlist reader favorite for years! There is so much to see and do at the Fullersburg Woods Nature Education Center as you learn about native plants and animals – make sure to check out the bird nest, as well as activity tables and tanks with animals. The trails around the nature center are also winding and beautiful. You can admire the colors, ducks and cranes along your journey. This forest preserve made our list of the Best Forest Preserve Trails For Kids. Their current hours are Monday – Saturday from 10:00am – 5:00pm; they are closed on Sunday and some holidays.

Lake View Nature Center in Oakbrook Terrace

Lake View Nature Center
17W063 Hodges Road
Oakbrook Terrace, IL 60181
(630) 941-8747

This hidden gem excels in on-demand group offerings and as such, only opens for park district programming and private group events – click here for more information on scheduling a visit with your friends and family. The facility is home to native animals and critters of all kinds, and also has a geological collection of local artifacts onsite for display and exploration.

Wildwood Nature Center in Park Ridge

Wildwood Nature Center
531 Forestview Avenue
Park Ridge, IL 60068
(847) 692-3570

Wildwood Nature Center opened in a new building in December 2023! Kids can visit over 35 animals, which include snakes, rabbits, turtles, and bullfrogs. They can also play in the Nature Nook, which is full of educational and interactive puzzles, books, puppets, games, and activities that change monthly. The center serves as a great base for exploring the nearby grounds. It is open Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 10:00am – 6:00pm; on Saturdays, it is open from 10:00am – 4:00pm.

Glacial Park Conservation Area Lost Valley Visitor Center in Ringwood

Glacial Park – Lost Valley Visitor Center
Route 31 & Harts Road
Ringwood, IL 60071
(815) 338-6223

The Lost Valley Visitor Center within Glacial Park is a 28,000 square-foot facility that hosts educational programs, workshops, and camps. There are displays and activities; you can even check out a free exploration backpack with binoculars, field guides, and a scavenger hunt! The building is open daily from April – October from 9:00am – 5:30pm, and from November – March from 9:00am – 4:00pm.

Trailside Museum of Natural History in River Forest

Trailside Museum of Natural History
738 Thatcher Avenue
River Forest, IL 60305
(708) 366-6530

Kids can see live native animals, tour wildflower gardens, learn about local wildlife and their habitats, and more—all inside a historic Victorian mansion! Check the calendar to find events like their regular free Story Trails, which include a craft kit to take home. From March – October, it is open from 9:00am – 5:00pm; from November – February, it is open from 9:00am – 4:00pm. It’s closed on Fridays and certain holidays.

Prairie Grass Nature Museum in Round Lake

Video courtesy of Round Lake Area Park District.

Prairie Grass Nature Museum
860 Hart Road
Round Lake, IL 60073
(847) 740-9823

This nature center has live animals and lifelike animal displays to help you feel like you’re outdoors, when you’re actually staying out of the elements! In addition to Nature Discovery Packs that you can check out to help you explore Hart Woods, you can also enjoy monthly crafts and activities during your visit. The nature center is located in the same building as the Aquatic Center, so if you visit in the summer, consider bringing swimsuits to play in the pool or splash pad, or check out the nearby Children’s Neighborhood Museum. Prairie Grass Nature Museum is open from Tuesday – Thursday from 11:00am – 3:00pm and on weekends from 12:00pm – 3:00pm. Check their Facebook page for additional closures.

The Prairie Grass Nature Museum was named one of the Top 10 nature centers in the Chicagoland area by Kidlist readers for 2024!

Spring Valley Nature Center in Schaumburg

Indoor nature center with nature displays, taxidermied birds, and turtle enclosure with grasses.
Child creating a habitat out of branches inside the Spring Valley nature center.

Spring Valley Nature Center
1111 E Schaumburg Road
Schaumburg, IL 60194
(847) 985-2100

Located at Spring Valley right next to the Bison’s Bluff Nature Playground, the Spring Valley nature center is a destination in its own right. The main area of the center is filled with hands-on displays and recreated habitats, while a library filled with books on nature and baskets of activities acts as a quiet place to wind down from play. Be sure to check out all of the turtles swimming in the indoor stream! The nature center makes for a great trip combined with a walk on the valley’s trails, which feature ‘natural play pockets’ where kids are encouraged to stop and play. From November – March, the nature center is open daily from 10:00am – 4:00pm.

Spring Valley Nature Center is a Kidlist reader pick for one of our Top 10 nature centers in Chicagoland!

Emily Oaks Nature Center in Skokie

Emily Oaks Nature Center
4650 Brummel St.
Skokie, IL 60076
(847) 674-1500, ext. 2500

The visitor center with an interactive Woodland Wander Inn hosts regular events and activities. Outdoors, you can explore 13 acres of nature nearby, including trails, a playground, a pond, and wooded areas. The nature center is open on weekdays from 8:00am – 5:00pm, on Saturdays from 8:00am – 12:00pm, and on Sundays from 10:00am – 4:00pm.

Creek Bend Nature Center in St. Charles

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

Creek Bend has interactive displays and hands-on exhibits centered around local ecology, including a Prairie Ecology exhibit starring a bison from the 1893 Chicago World’s Columbian Exposition. Naturalists onsite can help you take a self-guided hike, or enjoy a scavenger hunt. Guests are welcome Monday – Thursday from 10:00am – 4:00pm, and Saturday and Sunday 12:00pm – 4:00pm.

Hickory Knolls Discovery Center in St. Charles

Hickory Knolls Discovery Center
3795 Campton Hills Road 
St. Charles, IL 60175
(630) 513-3331

A visit to the Hickory Knolls Discovery Center includes a stop at the turtle pond, as well as seeing countless other native animals. They have a fun squad of Animal Ambassadors that are not to be missed – turtle and snake lovers will especially enjoy this fun feature. The grounds around the center, which feature over 130 acres of land, include a nature play area, wetlands, woodlands, and prairies to explore. Current hours are 10:00am – 4:00pm, Monday through Saturday. Weeknight evening and weekend hours are dependent on rentals.

Little Red Schoolhouse Nature Center in Willow Springs

Little Red Schoolhouse Nature Center
9800 Willow Springs Road
Willow Springs, IL 60480
(708) 839-6897

This spot frequently makes our “best of” list, and is a perennial family favorite! The original Little Red Schoolhouse building, built in 1886, is still on the property; however, a new large building was built in 2010 and is full of learning opportunities, activities for children, and space to walk around and explore. One feature of note is the Accessibility Garden, which is designed so that visitors of all abilities can interact with nature – it includes a sensory water feature! From March – October, it is open from 9:00am – 5:00pm; from November – February, it is open from 9:00am – 4:00pm. It’s closed on Fridays and certain holidays.

Kidlist readers chose the Little Red Schoolhouse Nature Center as one a Top 10 Nature Center of 2024!

Other Nature Destinations

There were so many other Nature Centers and Conservatories that received votes and have been recommended in the past. They’re listed alphabetically by town; check them out below!

The Morton Arboretum in Lisle

The Morton Arboretum
4100 Illinois Route 53
Lisle, IL 60532
(630) 968-0074

The Morton Arboretum, located in Lisle, has an award-winning children’s garden, maze garden, tadpole pond, and 16 miles of hiking trails. We have been there many times throughout the years and written about the areas and activities at the Arboretum. They have been doing large-scale art installations each summer, so you can also head to our article about The Morton Arboretum to get more details on that (beginning in May of 2024, it will be a Wonder Woods Mini Golf experience). The Arboretum itself is open from 7:00am – sunset daily for members (beginning at 9:00am for non-members); there are many building throughout the grounds that have varying hours.

The Morton Arboretum was one of our Kidlist readers’ choices for Top 10 Nature Centers in 2024!

Brookfield Zoo in Brookfield

Brookfield Zoo
8400 31st Street 
Brookfield, IL 60513
(708) 688-8000

The Brookfield Zoo brings nature to the suburbs in an exciting way! This Zoological Park is built on 235 acres and boasts 511 different species of animals. Check out the Hamill Family Play Zoo and Hamill Family Wild Encounters exhibits for a chance to get up-close with animals and learn through exploration. Annie’s review gives great tips on visiting Brookfield Zoo, as well as what you can see and do while you’re there. There is a cost to visit the zoo, but they offer many free days throughout the year! Zoo hours are 10:00am – 5:00pm daily.

The Brookfield Zoo was a Top 10 Nature Center for 2024, as picked by Kidlist readers!

Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago

Lincoln Park Zoo
Chicago, IL 60614
(312) 742-2000

This free zoo in Chicago is home to nearly 200 species of animals, as well as many different plants. Inside the Pritzker Family Children’s Zoo, kids can learn through tactile interactions; the indoor Houston Family Play Treehouse and outdoor Wild Sapling Play Forest are also housed in this part of the zoo. Check out their calendar to see the dozens of events that they host each year. Zoo hours vary by season.

Elwood Children’s Garden in Elwood

Elwood Children’s Garden
801 North Chicago Avenue
Elwood, IL 60421
(815) 693-0214

Visiting Elwood Garden is an unexpected treat! The outdoor space features Peter Rabbit’s Garden with kids’ activities, a playground, a sandbox, pretend play opportunities, a little playhouse, and more. It’s ideal for little kids. Check out their website for hours and information about special events.

Sensory Garden Playground in Lisle

Sensory Garden Playground
2751 Navistar Drive
Lisle, IL 60532

The Sensory Garden Playground isn’t indoors, but it is a great spot to explore nature for all kids! A little trail leading from the parking lot up to the fun playground feels like an adventure in itself. Sensory-integrated playground equipment and amenities along with gardening areas make this spot extra neat. They’ve been making improvements to make the playground accessible for all, and are scheduled to begin building a 5 to 12-year-old playground in late 2024.

The Children’s Farm at The Center in Palos Park

The Center – Children’s Farm
12700 Southwest Highway
Palos Park, IL 60464
(708) 361-3650

The Children’s Farm at The Center offers kids a chance to get up close with farm animals. During your visit, you can take a self-guided tour and go into animal’s pens to touch, groom, and pet them. The animals change, but usually include cows, horses, chickens, sheep, pigs, and rabbits (to name a few!). Hours vary, and are usually on the weekends; there is a fee to visit The Center. They also offer different classes and events. Read about Katie’s family’s visit to The Children’s Farm.

St. James Farm in Warrenville

St. James Farm
2S541 Winfield Road
Warrenville, IL 60555
(630) 580-7025

St. James Farm is a free local outing for families looking to stretch their legs, learn a little history, and enjoy the gorgeous outdoor landscaping. Rachel’s family took a lot of pictures to give you a sneak peek! Hours vary by building.

Cantigny Park in Wheaton

Cantigny Park
1S151 Winfield Road
Wheaton, IL 60189
(630) 668-5161

Cantigny Park is a beautiful place to stroll around gardens, play at the tank park and playground, and visit the museum. Check out our insider’s guide to Cantigny Park for more details and tips. Admission ranges from $5-20 per car (regardless of the number of people), depending on time of year and day of week. Register in advance for free Wednesday parking from March through October.

Chicagoland Conservatories

Chicago Botanic Garden in Glencoe

Chicago Botanic Garden
1000 Lake Cook Road
Glencoe, IL 60022
(847) 835-6801

The Chicago Botanic Garden is located on 385 acres of land. The Regenstein Learning Campus features a 26,000 square-foot learning center, complete with indoor and outdoor classrooms. Among some of the outdoor kid-friendly attractions are the Grunsfeld Children’s Growing Garden and the Nature Play Garden, which features rolling hills and multi-sensory gardens and is open from mid-April until mid-November. Hours for the different areas of the Chicago Botanic Garden vary. Note that there is a fee to visit the Chicago Botanic Garden, but there are plenty of free days!

The Chicago Botanic Garden is a 2024 Kidlist reader choice for our Top 10 Nature Centers!

Garfield Park Conservatory in Chicago

Garfield Park Conservatory
300 N. Central Park Avenue
Chicago, IL 60624
(773) 638-1766

Garfield Park Conservatory is the largest conservatory we’ve ever been to, with eight indoor display gardens and more than 10 acres of outdoor gardens. There is even a nature play space for kids. We love to walk around the different houses, ducking under arches full of hanging plants, enjoying waterfalls, stepping over streams, exploring moss covered stones, and watching fish in the ponds. It is open Wednesday from 10:00am – 8:00pm, and Thursday through Sunday from 10:00am – 5:00pm. Admission is free and you are welcome to give a donation.

Lincoln Park Conservatory in Chicago

Lincoln Park Conservatory
2391 North Stockton Drive
Chicago, IL 60614
(312) 742-7736

There are four display houses at this conservatory, including the Palm House, Fern Room, Orchid House and Show House, which is home to the annual flower shows. It is free to visit the conservatory and gardens, but there is a fee to park. Hours are Wednesday – Sunday from 10:00am – 5:00pm.

Friendship Park Conservatory in Des Plaines

Friendship Park Conservatory
395 W. Algonquin Road
Des Plaines, IL 60018
(847) 298-3500 ext. 403

Friendship Park Conservatory features an outdoor courtyard and indoor three-story atrium. It is currently undergoing renovations, so it is only open on Mondays from 10:00am – 2:00pm; indoor restrooms are closed, but outdoor porta potties are available. Construction is scheduled to be finished in April of 2024.

Bird Haven Greenhouse in Joliet

Bird Haven Greenhouse
225 N Gougar Road
Joliet, IL 60432
(815) 741-7278

One of the great aspects of Pilcher Park is that there is a paved path between the conservatory and nature center. It’s about a one mile walk, so if you wanted to visit both, it’s a nice way of getting exercise and enjoying nature along the way. The conservatory is small, but it makes a great combo trip! The greenhouse is open daily from 8:00am – 4:30pm; it is closed on holidays.

Oak Park Conservatory in Oak Park

oak park conservatory

Oak Park Conservatory
615 Garfield Street
Oak Park, IL 60304
(708) 725-2400

There are three garden showrooms, a water feature, and an outdoor native plant garden. Guided tours are available for a fee. Rehm Park is also across the street, which makes a great combo trip. Oak Park Conservatory is open Tuesday – Sunday from 10:00am – 4:00pm. The conservatory is also closed on select holidays. Please note that groups of 10 or more need to register in advance at the number above.

Wilder Park Conservatory in Elmhurst

wilder park conservatory

Wilder Park Conservatory
225 Prospect Avenue
Elmhurst, IL 60126
(630) 993-8900

Wilder Park Conservatory isn’t a huge greenhouse, but it is worth checking out! It is located in Wilder Park, which is also where Elmhurst Public Library, Elmhurst Art Museum, and Wilder Mansion sit. Wilder Park Conservatory is open April – December from 8:00am – 6:00pm and January – March from 8:00am – 2:30pm.

Nature Centers Currently Closed for Renovations

The following Nature Centers are currently undergoing construction and renovations. We are looking forward to checking out their new features as they reopen!

Hidden Oaks Nature Center in Bolingbrook ⭐ – Currently Closed

Kids playing a match-the-smell game at Hidden Oaks Nature Center in Bolingbrook

Hidden Oaks Nature Center
419 Trout Farm Road
Bolingbrook, IL 60440
(630) 739-2600

Hidden Oaks will be closed most of the year for renovations. This reader-favorite center has both interactive exhibits and hands-on discovery opportunities. During its closure, Hidden Oaks will undergo architectural changes and the addition of new exhibits. You can learn more about the renovations here. We can’t wait to explore this space once it is reopened!

Hidden Oaks was chosen as a 2024 Kidlist reader pick for Top 10 Nature Center!

Crystal Lake Park District Nature Center in Crystal Lake – Currently Closed

Crystal Lake Park District Nature Center
330 N. Main Street
Crystal Lake 60014
(815) 459-0680

This nature center is currently closed for renovations; we are looking forward to seeing what new, hands-on exhibits they have when they open again in Spring! Programs are currenly being held at the Oakwoods Lodge.

Willowbrook Wildlife Center – Currently Closed

Willowbrook Wildlife Center
525 S Park Boulevard
Glen Ellyn, IL 60137
(630) 942-6200

The visitor center is currently closed as part of an ongoing facility improvement project; trail access is also closed. However, the Wildlife Center is still open to receive wild animals that are in need of rehabilitation. This spot is a reader favorite, and we are looking forward to checking out the improvements, which include an opportunity to view animals as they are fed, examined, in surgery, and rehabilitated through one-way mirrors and video monitors!

Want to enjoy more nature? Explore a local farm or take a hike!

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