Welcome Spring in the Forest Preserves of Cook County
Public can enjoy events, hiking and more throughout season

As days grow longer and signs of spring’s imminent arrival begin appearing, residents and visitors will find an abundance of ways to enjoy the season in the Forest Preserves of Cook County. The Forest Preserves’ Spring Guide is brimming with exciting events and programs.

Nature Center visitors can join in on numerous spring-themed events and programs including guided bird and wildflower hikes, as well as a variety of programs about native plants and animals. The Forest Preserves is also hosting hands-on programs such as Breakout Adventures, Camping 101, Archery 101 and more.

In addition to joining events and programs, visitors can get outdoors during spring and take to the waterways during paddling events, hop on a bicycle and enjoy more than 300 miles of trails, or pitch tent and spend an evening under the stars while camping at one of the Forest Preserves’ campgrounds.

Below is a list of some of the spring-themed events and programs taking place throughout the Forest Preserves of Cook County. For a complete list of events in the Forest Preserves, or to download our spring guide, visit fpdcc.com/events.


Spring Breakout Adventure
Tuesday, March 27 • 11 am – 2 pm
Rolling Knolls, 11N260 Rohrssen Rd, Elgin

Calling all families, friends and youth organizations! Come out and try your hand at all this unique 56-acre preserve has to offer. Archery, exploring biodiversity with guided hikes, fishing in the pond, navigating your way with an orienteering course or practice your frisbee technique with our 18-hole disc golf course. All equipment provided.

Spring Symphony
Saturday, April 14 • 1 pm
Crabtree Nature Center, 3 Stover Rd, Barrington Hills

Learn what all the singing is about and identify some common tunes of the local bird and frog choruses out on the trail.

Art in Nature: Mixed Media Wildflowers
Sunday, April 15 • 1 pm
Crabtree Nature Center, 3 Stover Rd, Barrington Hills

Learn how to up-cycle and alter your junk into whimsical collage representations of local wildflowers. Taught by artist Karen Sako. Adults and teens only. Registration required: call 847-381-6592.

Painting by the Pond – Spring Edition
Friday, May 4 • 5 – 7 pm
Rolling Knolls, 11N260 Rohrssen Rd, Elgin

Explore nature through painting while taking in the Rolling Knolls landscape! Follow along as an instructor leads you step by step in creating a Georgia O’Keefe-inspired painting of spring ephemeral flowers using a large tree slice as your canvas. All painting materials will be provided. Ages 21 & up. BYOB (no glass). Payment required upon registration. Refunds are not available for any reason. Call 708-386-4042 ext. 26 to register.

Springtime Slitherers
Sunday, May 6 • 1 pm
Crabtree Nature Center, 3 Stover Rd, Barrington Hills

Come learn about some of our local snakes and their busy springtime activities, then go for a short hike to look for them.


What’s in Bloom?
Sunday, April 29 • 1:30 pm
River Trail Nature Center, 3120 Milwaukee Ave, Northbrook

Enjoy a walk to observe and learn about some native woodland flowers.

Mother’s Day Wildflower Walk
Sunday, May 13 • 1:30 pm
River Trail Nature Center, 3120 Milwaukee Ave, Northbrook

Learn about spring woodland wildflowers on a casual hike.


Celebrate Spring! Fest
Wednesday, March 21 • 11 am – 2 pm
Cummings Square, 536 N Harlem Ave, River Forest

Build and play with natural materials: make a decorative terrarium, create a bird house and participate in other activities. All ages.

Guided Spring Nature Hikes

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

Enjoy a naturalist-guided nature hike on our trails to discover signs of spring in the forest preserves, such as wildflowers, baby animals and more. All ages.

Spring Festival

Sunday, May 6 • 11 am – 3 pm

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

Celebrate spring with a day of activities for all ages, including animal encounters, kids’ tree climb, guided wildflower walks, netting in the pond, seed planting, building a bird house to take home, and much more! Call 708-366-6530 for more information.


Spring Fishing Derby
Saturday, April 14 • 8 – 11:30 am
Papoose Lake, 9823-10357 W 123rd St, Palos Park

Join us for spring fishing and fun! Prizes will be awarded for the largest fish caught in different age groups. Registration begins at 8 am. Fishing is from 8:30 – 11 am. This is a catch and release event; fishing license not needed.

Earth Day Wildflower Hike
Sunday, April 22 • 1:30 pm
Little Red Schoolhouse Nature Center, 9800 Willow Springs Rd, Willow Springs

Check out the array of wildflowers as we walk the White Oak Trail. Hike will just exceed one mile. All ages. Registration required by 4/20, call 708-839-6897.

Sagawau Science: Spring Wildflower Walk
Saturday, April 28 • 1 pm
Sagawau Environmental Learning Center, 12545 W 111th St, Lemont

Take a closer look at wildflowers while walking through the woods. How are the leaves arranged? Are they hairy or smooth? Note the colors of the flower and their insect visitors. Join us and gain a greater appreciation for these flowering beauties.


Spring Welcome Event
Thursday, March 22 • 9 am – 12 pm
Sand Ridge Nature Center, 15891 S Paxton Ave, South Holland

Discover your wild and wonderful local Forest Preserves! Join us for an introduction to Sand Ridge Nature Center and Camp Shabbona Woods. We have ongoing exhibits, events and programs, hiking trails, pioneer cabins, and live animals. There will be opportunities both to learn and to share your interests.

A family hike on the trails near the Trailside Museum, April, 2012

Spring Breakout Adventure
Thursday, March 29 • 11 am – 2 pm
Dan Ryan Woods Pavilion, S Western Ave & W 87th St, Chicago

Come out to one of the largest forest preserves in Chicago for a fun-filled day of activities including archery, navigation and orienteering courses, hikes to the tallest point in Chicago, and more. All equipment provided.

Outdoor Adventures: Following Migration
Saturday, April 28 • 10 am – 1 pm
Jurgenson Woods, 18300 Cottage Grove, Lansing

Embrace your inner birder and help search for spring migrants. Learn why birds migrate, basic bird identification, and more. Enjoy bird hikes and bird-themed games and artmaking projects. All ages. Equipment provided.

Spring Wildflower Walk
Saturday, April 28 • 1:30 pm
Sand Ridge Nature Center, 15891 S Paxton Ave, South Holland

Join us as we take a walk to look for and learn about some of our amazing native ephemeral wildflowers that are in bloom.


About the Forest Preserves of Cook County

Don’t you sometimes just want to escape? Explore the natural beauty of Cook County for an hour, a day or even a night. When you’re surrounded by 70,000 acres of wild and wonderful there’s no better place to feel free.

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