If you and your family love exploring the outdoors, you will definitely want to check out the local parks, nature centers, and woodland preserves located near Romeoville, Illinois. There are several opportunities for you and your family to discover these beautiful and relaxing outdoor areas. Spend the day hiking together, or bring your bikes along for an afternoon of exercise. Perhaps you prefer to simply walk through the park and enjoy the breathtaking view. Whatever your preference is, take advantage of these five nature-filled experiences in the Romeoville area.
O’Hara Woods Preserve
Image via Flickr by marneejill
Located behind the Romeoville Recreation Department, the lovely woodlands and vibrant flora of the O’Hara Woods Preserve are a breathtaking sight to see. With its mature sugar maples and oak trees, a forest floor of greenery, and a curving stream throughout the trails, you will certainly want to add this to your list of must-visit parks. The main walking trails are created from gravel, while the more inland dirt trails allow you to explore the scenery from deep within the preserve.
While any time is a great time of year to visit the O’Hara Woods Preserve, the spring and fall let you experience it at its best. The spring season brings with it colorful wildflowers such as the white toothwort or the Virginia bluebell. In the fall, you can watch as the leaves transform from their bright green color to bold golds, oranges, and reds.
Isle a la Cache Museum
Visit the hands-on museum located at Isle a la Cache on Romeo Road. You and your little ones will love learning about the cultural heritage and natural history of the Romeoville area. Once inside the museum, you’ll be taken back to the 18th century when the fur trade was the main source of income for this Midwestern land. Discover how French voyageurs and the Potawatomi people lived and worked together. Your children can view authentic beaver pelts and birch-bark canoes, and they can even walk inside a wigwam.
The fun doesn’t stop there. Once you venture outside, you’ll find yourself immersed in the surrounding forest preserve. You can choose from a number of outdoor activities to explore the woodland area such as biking, hiking, running, in-line skating, and even geocaching. If you love to be on the water, try your hand at fishing or kayaking. During the winter season, families gather to cross-country ski or snowshoe through the trails. If you’re lucky, you’ll happen upon some of the wildlife that makes the preserve their home, like migratory songbirds, mink, turtles, and the majestic bald eagle.
Boucher Prairie Park
Image via Flickr by Walakazoo
For those who like a more structured outdoor area, be sure to visit Boucher Prairie Park, located on Richfield Trail. Families of all ages will enjoy this park with its basketball courts, exercise stations, walking track, and in-line hockey rink.
Parents can gather together under the pavilion or at picnic tables while the kids enjoy the playground in the spring and fall or the splash pad during the hot summer months. You can plan family get-togethers, birthday parties, and friendly gatherings. You can also explore the nearby nature areas or take part in a cornhole game or two. With plenty of parking available and much to explore, your family will thoroughly enjoy Boucher Prairie Park.
Riverview Farmstead Preserve
Only a short 20-minute drive to Naperville, the Riverview Farmstead Preserve is a 387-acre preserve that is part of the DuPage River preservation system. The main goal of this preserve is to protect the local prairie habitat while enhancing its natural resources. The farmstead, which includes a limestone house, a barn that was converted from an early residence, and a large barn, was settled by the Clow family during the 1800s. While visiting the homestead, you and your family can catch sight of the area wildlife such as the big brown bat, osprey, and dickcissel bird. It’s also home to more than 500 different plant species.
A paved segment of the DuPage River Trail is located adjacent to the farmstead preserve. Enjoy activities like biking, in-line skating, hiking, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing with family or friends. Spend a day at the farm picnicking at the Riverview Farmstead Shelter, fishing on the river shore, or canoeing and kayaking down the DuPage.
Sagawau Environmental Learning Center
Take a short 30-minute drive to Lemont, and you’ll find yourself at the Sagawau Environmental Learning Center. This preservation center features exhibits on geology, natural history, and habitat management. While they host many educational and classroom presentations, anyone can visit this nature complex and take advantage of the nature center, walking trails, and Sagawau canyon preserve.
The Sagawau Nature Center offers programs and displays regarding plants, animals, and natural habitats in the local area. If you’d like to get a small group together for one of their popular field trips, the center has outdoor activities available for all ages from preschool to adult.
There are four walking trails available that let you explore the local grounds in all its vibrant flora and fauna. During the spring, summer, and fall months the trails are open for walkers, hikers, and runners. When the weather turns cold and the snow begins to fall, the trails turn into groomed paths for cross-country skiing or snowshoeing.
The Sagawau Canyon Nature Preserve abounds with unusual yet impressive plant and animal life. It’s also the only area where you can view the natural exposure of bedrock in nearby Cook County. The preserve can only be observed through guided walks conducted by the preserve staff as individual access is restricted to protect the fragile and vulnerable land.
There’s our list of exciting and fun-filled places to explore nature from Crème de la Crème of Romeoville. Have you taken the time to discover any of these community parks or woodland areas? Are there other outdoor learning centers or forest preserves you’ve visited with family or friends? If so, we’d be happy to add it to this list. Simply contact us and we’ll be happy to do so!
Take a moment today to plan an afternoon with your kids at any one of these nature-filled parks or centers. You’ll be so glad you spent the time making lasting memories together.