Thorn Creek Nature Center and Preserve were opened in 1974, and the preserve was dedicated as an Illinois State Nature Preserve in 1978. The preserve has over 3 1/2 miles of trails which meander through an oak-hickory woodland, floodplain and scenic ravines and pine plantations. A marshy vernal pond, Owl Lake, is located at the far end of the trail system, which leads to a wetland overlook. Located within the preserve is the Hornicek Farm and restored prairie. The nature center resides in a building built in 1862 and sits at the trail head. Several displays are located within the nature center, including a bird viewing station, insect display and children’s science corner.