Fall Fun In The Cook County Forest Preserves!

Fall is the perfect time of year to get out and explore the Forest Preserve District of Cook County. In addition to daily programs at the District’s six Nature Centers; the autumn 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 autumn months are one of the most beautiful times of year to visit our natural areas,” said Forest Preserve District of Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle. “We are proud to present these special events that offer children and families the opportunity to experience nature in a fun and accessible way.”

Highlights include the return of the Annual Traditional Pow Wow at

Busse Woods (9/14, 15 and 16); the Little Red Schoolhouse Art Fair (10/7);

and Settler’s Day at the Sand Ridge Nature Center (11/18)

For a complete list of fall events in the Forest Preserve District, visit www.fpdcc.com/events.

A River Thru History: The Des Plaines Valley Rendezvous

September 8; 10 am to 5 pm & 9; 10 am to 4 pm;

Columbia Woods, Willow Springs, IL

Step back 200 years into America’s past with food, music, craft demonstrations, canoe races, games and more. Presented in partnership with the I & M Canal National Heritage Corridor Civic Center Authority.

Admission: $5-$8, with family passes available; access ONLY by free shuttle bus.

59th Annual Traditional Pow Wow

Friday, September 14; Free Education and Culture Day 10 am to 1 pm; and Free screening of the film “Smoke Signals” at 7 pm

Saturday, September 15 11 am to 9 pm (Grand Entry at 1 and 7 pm)

Sunday, September16, 10 am to 5 pm (Grand Entry Noon)

Busse Woods South, Higgins Ave. & Route 53, Elk Grove Village

Co-presented with the American Indian Center of Chicago, the FPDCC brings this Annual Chicago-area Pow Wow back to the outdoors. Experience Native American dance, drumming, food, art wares and fun. Competitors of traditional native dance come from all over the country to perform. FREE for schools on Friday; contact cyndee@aic-chicago.org for more information to to sign up your school group.

Suggested donation for Saturday and Sunday is $8 Adults and $4 for kids, seniors and active military. Three day and group passes are also available.

Archeology Days: Sand Ridge Nature Center’s 50th Anniversary Celebration


September 22; 10 am to 3 pm

Sand Ridge Nature Center, 15821 Paxton Ave., South Holland

Come for a day of activities that promote a better understanding and appreciation of historic Native American culture. Enjoy displays from local archaeologists, and storytelling, games, guided hikes, traditional craft making, and more.

Art in Nature


September 23; 10 am to 4:30 pm

Crabtree Nature Center, Palatine Rd. one mile west of Barrington Rd., Barrington, IL

This Plein Air Competition and Exhibit is presented partnership with the Barrington Cultural Arts Center. Participate as an artist and create natural scenes outdoors, or simply come to see artists at work and their final exhibit. Nature and art activities take place throughout the day.

Hike & Seek

September 29, 12 to 3 pm

Beamis Woods, 11500 Ogden Avenue, Western Springs

Explore trails and nature with fun activities, learning stations and a scavenger hunt. Hosted by the National Wildlife Federation, this is one of 6 events around the country that helps raise funds so the NWF can continue its important work of conservation and ecology.

Admission: $12 adult; $7 children must register online at www.hikeandseek.org.

Art Fair


October 7, 9 am to 5 pm

Little Red School House, 9800 S. Willow Spring Rd., Willow Springs

Experience “Nature in Northern Illinois” with music, snacks and other family activities. See the exhibit TreeWhispers and create your own tree story disc to add to the exhibit. Get a head start on holiday shopping for others or yourself, hike our trails, and enjoy a beautiful autumn day in the Palos Hills.

Fall Festival


October 21, 10 am to 4 pm

River Trail Nature Center, 3120 N. Milwaukee Ave., Northbrook, IL

Celebrate the season with a day of beekeeping demonstrations, barn dancing, raptor presentations, hay rides, fall color walks and more family fun, in a spectacular golden-hued maple forest. Children will enjoy puppet shows, storytelling, and a craft corner including pumpkin painting.

Pumpkin Paddle–North


October 27, 12 to 4 pm

Skokie Lagoon

Pumpkin Paddle—South


October 28, 12 to 4 pm

Beaubien Woods, I94 & Doty Ave, Chicago, IL to Whistler Woods

Enjoy all things fall with cannoning event and other fun fall like leaf rubbings, pumpkin decorating and more. Space is limited unless you bring your own canoe. Canoeing will be available for everyone ages 5 and up. Please sign up by calling 708.771.1189.

Settler’s Days


November 18; 10 am to 3 pm

Sand Ridge Nature Center, 15821 Paxton Ave., South Holland

Celebrate our heritage with living history demonstrators from the French fur trade, pioneer, and Revolutionary and Civil War periods. Activities include an imaginary wagon train, history hikes, pioneer games and crafts. Donations of non-perishable food to local food pantries will be gratefully accepted.


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