The summer months are the perfect time to discover the Forest Preserves of Cook County. In addition to regular programs at the District’s six Nature Centers; the summer season also includes a number of special events taking place in locations throughout the County. All events are family-friendly and most are free.
“The Forest Preserve District of Cook County was founded nearly 100 years ago for the pleasure, education and recreation of the residents of Cook County and our visitors,” Forest Preserve District of Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle said. “This summer, as we begin to celebrate our centennial anniversary, we’re offering more special events, festivals, educational programs, and volunteer activities than ever before. We hope that these opportunities will encourage people of all ages to rediscover and enjoy their forest preserves.”
For a complete list of summer events in the Forest Preserve District, click here.
Nature Is Accessible!
Thursday, June 6, 10 am – 2 pm
Little Red Schoolhouse 9800 Willow Springs Rd., Willow Springs, IL
Join us for hours of fun and exploration! Trail walks, pond exploration and fun, hands-on learning activities will delight visitors of all abilities. Learning activities are accessible.
Beaubien Woods Celebration
Saturday, June 8, 11am – 4pm
Beaubien Woods, I-94 and Doty Ave.
Have fun at this annual family event presented in partnership with Fishin’ Buddies and the Calumet Stewardship Initiative. Fish, explore, build with natural materials, hike and more!
Explore the Forest
Sunday, June 9, 12 am – 4 pm
Crabtree Nature Center, 3 Stover Rd., Barrington Hills, IL.
See all the Forest Preserve has to offer! Try archery, tree climbing, casting or get your bike tuned-up. Lean what our wildlife biologist, fisheries and ecologist do. Watch our restoration crews in action with their specialized equipment. This Chicago Wilderness Leave No Child Inside event has plenty of children’s activities, including our nature play area, to discover.
Bremen Grove Off-Leash Dog Area Grand Opening
Saturday, June 22, 9 am to 1 pm
Bremen Off-Leash Area, 16061 Oak Park Ave., Tinley Park
Bring the family, bring the dog and celebrate the grand opening of our newest off leash dog area in the Forest Preserve.
Dan Ryan Woods Celebration
Tuesday, June 25 6:30 pm – sundown
Dan Ryan Woods, 87th and Western
Celebrate the great outdoors at Dan Ryan Woods with a Forest Jams Concert featuring Nyahbingi Drum Choir, plus Stargazing after dark. We’ll also dedicate the renovated historic Pavilion with a ribbon-cutting ceremony.
Saturday, July 13, 11am – 4pm
Wampum Lake, Interstate 90/94 and Thornton-Lansing Road, Thornton-Lansing
Enjoy fishing, hiking, canoeing, archery and other fun activities at this free outdoor extravaganza for kids of all ages. Presented in partnership with Fishin’ Buddies and the Youth Conservation Conference
Saturday, August 17, 8:30 am – 3 pm
Sagawau Environmental Learning Center, 12545 W. 111th Street, Lemont, IL
Celebrate the beauty of hummingbirds and join us for hummingbird games, viewing and a demonstration of how the birds are banded for tracking and research purposes.
Tuesdays & Thursdays*, June 4 – August 29, 9 am – 8 pm
Trailside Museum of Natural History, 738 Thatcher Avenue, River Forest, IL
Visit Trailside Museum this summer for special evening hours and programming. Visitors will be able to walk the grounds, explore the nature center and enjoy special evening programming during these extended summer hours. Call for more information 708-366-6530
*Tuesday, July 4th open until 5 pm.
FILMS IN THE FOREST
6:30 pm – Family Activities, Dusk – Movie
Join us for free movie nights! We’ll be screening nature-themed feature films and offering family-friendly activities that correlate to the movie. Pack a picnic dinner and enjoy an evening of fun, entertainment and relaxation at our scenic natural preserves.
Thursday, June 20: My Side of the Mountain
Cummings, Square, 536 N. Harlem, River Forest
Thursday, July 11: Wallace and Gromit Movie: Curse of the Warerabbit
Whealan Pool, 6200 W. Devon, Chicago
Thursday, July 25: The Ant Bully
Green Lake Aquatic Center, 1100 River Oaks Drive, Calumet City
Thursday, August 1: Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax
Cermak Aquatic Center, 7600 W. Ogden Avenue, Lyons
Thursday, August 8: Daddy Day Camp
Kickapoo Woods, 144th and Halsted, Riverdale
Thursday, August 15: Despicable Me
Cummings Square, 536 N. Harlem, River Forest
Little Calumet Paddle
Saturday, June 22, 11 am – 3 pm
Meet at the Beaubien Woods Boat Launch, 950 E. 134th Street, Chicago
Pack a lunch and travel along the waterways of the Little Calumet, from Beaubien Woods to Whistler Woods. We’ll provide a shuttle bus for participants. Space is limited; call 708.771.1189 to reserve a spot.
Full Moon Paddle
Tuesday, August 20, 6:30 pm to 9:30 pm
Skokie Lagoon, Tower Road Boat Launch, Winnetka
Enjoy an evening paddle by the light of the full moon. Space is limited; call 708.771.1189 to reserve a spot.
Whether you’re using an advanced SLR camera, a point and shoot or a smart phone, photographing nature scenes and subjects can be both rewarding and challenging. Each month, one of our naturalists will lead a brief tour of the area, highlighting interesting and unusual plants, scenic vistas, and locations frequented by wildlife. During and after the tour, you can capture images and share tips and suggestions for getting the best shot with your fellow photographers.
Saturday, June 22, 10 am
Led by Staff from Crabtree Nature Center
Meet at the Baker’s Lake Younghusband parking lot, Dundee Road, east of Barrington Road, Barrington, IL
Sand Ridge Nature Center
15891 Paxton Ave., South Holland
Saturday, August 24, 10 am
Led by Staff from Little Red Schoolhouse
Meet at Swallow Cliff Woods South, 11918 South La Grange Road, Palos Park
6 pm – Related activities
6:30 – 8:30 pm – Concert
Head out to our summer concert series and participate in group jam sessions, learn about making instruments from natural materials and enjoy concerts by local music groups.
Thursday, June 27: Cermak Aquatic Center, 7600 W. Ogden Avenue, Lyons
Funkadesi, voted Chicago’s best world music band in 2012
Thursday, July 18: Cummings Square, 536 N. Harlem
Thursday, August 22: Whealan Pool, 6200 W. Devon Avenue, Chicago
Merit School of Music Summer Wind Ensemble, featuring more than 30 young musicians from Merit’s summer program
Thursday, August 20: Green Lake Aquatic Center, 1100 River Oaks Drive, Calumet City
In the Spirit, African-American music and storytelling
For more information on the Forest Preserve District of Cook County, visit www.fpdcc.com.