Fall is just around the corner, and the leaves will be turning to vibrant hues of red, orange and yellow. Take your little ones on a nature hike and immerse yourselves in the season at some of these great locations!
Park Village Nature Center
5801 N. Pulaski Rd., Chicago
Located in the city, the North Park Village Nature Center lets kids escape the urban jungle and take in nature. Hike the trails on this 46-acre preserve and meander through woodland, wetland, prairie and savanna. Kids can learn more in the discovery room, where they can get hands-on with natural objects.
4100 Illinois Route 53, Lisle
The Morton Arboretun offers 16 miles of paved or wood-chipped trails. Take in the scenery on a regular hike, or come out on weekends in September and October for Theater Hikes. Tales will be told among the 1,700 acres of trees and beautiful landscapes. See web site for theater schedule.
Trail Nature Center
3120 Milwaukee Avenue, Northbrook
River Trail Nature Center tells the story of native plants and animals that remain in the urban environment. Here you can hike the self guiding trails and see the fall foliage while walking through the sugar maple woods. Kids can learn about past and present in the exhibit building, and visit some native animals.
1000 Lake Cook Road, Glencoe
Here you can bring your kids for an easy hike around the lake, and discovery a variety of plants and flowers. Families can check out a Discovery Backpack and find tools for identifying the plants and animals found in the Gardens. A smartphone app offers an interactive map, tour guide and walking tours for kids.
Lake Katherine Nature Center
and Botanic Gardens
7402 W. Lake Katherine Drive, Palos Heights
This 85-acre park includes woodlands, prairie, wetlands, and a 10-acre lake. Walk the 3.2 mile Lake Katherine Trail and take in the foliage along with native birds and wildlife, and then examine plants and flowers in the gardens.
2821 Ridge Road, Highland Park
Heller Nature Center is a 97-acre preserve with oak-hickory forests, tall grass prairie, oak savanna and natural wetlands. Kids can hike three miles of marked trails that offer close contact with nature, and families can learn more about these habitats in the Interpretive Center.
Oaks Nature Center
4650 Brummel, Skokie
Emily Oaks Nature Center offers thirteen-acres filled with native wildflowers, native grasses, a 3 acre pond and hiking trails. Kids will likely catch glimpses of wildlife that may include herons, coyotes, flying squirrels, red foxes and Cooper's hawks.