6 Spectacular Nature Places for Chicago Families

7/19/2016 10:21:55 AM
6 Spectacular Nature Places for Chicago Families - KidTrail Pick
Hiking at LaBagh Woods
With summer in full swing, it is time to get outside and enjoy all the greenery and nature that Chicago has to offer. With long Chicago winters, you don’t want to miss the opportunity to explore nature through hikes, picnics, trails and more! There are many options here such as conservatories, nature preserves, and parks! KidTrail has come up with the 6 best nature places in Chicago for families! The places listed below have children’s activities, educational opportunities and lots of outdoor nature to explore! Take a look, explore and let us know what you like the best!


West Ridge Nature Preserve 
 
What: Located between Peterson and Western Avenue, this city oasis provides a touch of nature in the hustle bustle of the city. With 20 acres of woods, oasis of flora/fauna and a beautiful 4­acre pond, park goers can easily spot foxes, hawks, and even coyotes! The preserve provides great events for children and adults, like their monthly family nature days! Open daily from sunrise to sunset!  
 
Kids/Family Activities: Join the West Ridge Nature Preserve on the last Saturday of each month for their family nature day! This month, on July 30th, the theme is fish, turtles, frogs, and more. Festivities begin at 10am and end at 1pm. Fishing clinics, crafts, and other fun activities will be provided at the event! Other fun events include nature play dates and art, photo, and writing contests! 
 
Cost: Free 
 
Location: 
West Ridge Nature Preserve
5801 N Western Ave, 
Chicago, IL 60659 
 
For more information:
 
The 606 
 
What: The 606 connects 6 different neighborhoods with The Bloomingdale Trail as its centerpiece. With an observatory, event plaza, art installations, educational programs and other amenities, the 606 is the perfect place to bring the kids! Since the trail is above city streets, this gives city slickers and visitors the opportunity to experience Chicago above ground, whether it be biking, walking, or running! Imagine block after block of uninterrupted trails. Kids are learning to ride their bikes here, commuters are finding a new shortcut to work, and neighbors are making new friends. The 606 connects four ethnically and economically diverse Chicago neighborhoods: Wicker Park, Bucktown, Humboldt Park and Logan Square.
 
Kids/Family Activities: The trail itself is family friendly with great outdoor space for biking and walking. The trail also has many access points to playgrounds at ground level making for fun and free family fun! In addition, The 606’s Trail Mix Event Series includes Kids Mobile, For the Love of Stars, the FrakenToy Mobile, and many more! Events are free, kid friendly, and held in the summer and fall.  Open daily from 6am­11pm.  
Cost: Free 
 
Location: This park and trail system runs along Bloomingdale Ave (1800 N), from Ridgeway Ave (3750 W) on the west to Ashland Ave (1600 W) on the east. 
 
For more information: 
 
North Park Nature Center 
 
What: Located on a beautiful 155 acre campus, North Park Nature Center has everything for a lovely weekend day with the family! North Park Nature Center has a 46 acre preserve and educational facility (perfect for the kids!) as well as trails that wind through woodland, wetland, prairie, and savanna, giving visitors a taste of other landscapes right here in Chicago! Also, make sure to check out the park’s discovery room and interactive display! Whether you seek serenity, a place to spot a rare bird, or a place to volunteer your time and talent, visit this oasis of nature in the city, this hidden gem. Fun Fact: The wild onions and leeks that were growing in the park’s wetlands inspired American Indians to name the area “land of the stinking onion”, which loosely translates to Chicago in English, giving our city its name! Open daily from 10am­4pm.  
 
Kids/Family Activities: Hiking, bird watching, picnics! In addition, there are public programs for preschoolers, school age children, families and adults. North Park’s Eco­Explorers camp teaches children about nature and interacting with the natural environment.
 
Cost: Free. Camps have a fee, please call for pricing.
 
Location:
North Park Nature Center
5801 N Pulaski Rd.
Chicago, IL 60646 
 
For more information: 

Garfield Park Conservatory  
 
What: Commonly referred to as, “landscape art under glass”, this stunning conservatory is located on 12 acres in the west side of Chicago. With 8 greenhouses and 5 outdoor gardens, Garfield Park has plenty to explore! Check out the Aroid House, with its popular “Persian Pool” that consists of sixteen yellow lily pads surrounding a beautiful, serene lagoon.  Another great greenhouse (especially for the kids!) is the Elizabeth Morse Genius Children’s Garden. With its gigantic vines, interactive exhibits, diverse plant life, and 7 foot seed to climb, this house is sure to keep the kids entertained! The Conservatory is open daily from 9am­5pm and 9am­8pm on Wednesdays.  
 
Kids/Family Activities: Come to wild Wednesdays at the conservatory, from 4pm­7pm every Wednesday all year around! Learn more about animals or become a chef in the soil kitchen! However, if weekdays don’t work for your schedule make sure to attend a Juicebox concert! Held on the 1st and 3rd Saturdays of each month till end of June each year, musicians, dancers, and storytellers hold a free concert at the conservatory! Bring a blanket and some snacks for the kids! And don’t forget the Elizabeth Morse Genius Children’s Garden. Concerts are from 11am­noon.  
 
Cost: Free 
 
Location:
Garfield Park Conservatory
300 N Central Park Ave.
Chicago, IL 60624 
 
For more information: 
 
Lincoln Park Conservatory  
 
What: Open all year, Lincoln Park Conservatory provides a lush and tropical escape for visitors and families alike! Designed both to showcase exotic plants and grow the thousands of plants needed for use in the parks, the Conservatory offers visitors a tropical experience within its four display houses: the Palm House, Fern Room, Orchid House, and Show House, each with their own exotic identity! Also, make sure to check out The Lincoln Conservatory Garden with its breathtaking display of flowers and plants, the perfect place for an afternoon picnic! Open daily from 9am­5pm. 
 
Kids/Family Activities: The Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool is the perfect spot to enjoy tranquility in nature! Lily pool is open now through mid-November or first snow/ice.  
 
Cost: Free 

Location: 
Lincoln Park Conservatory
2391 N Stockton Dr.
Chicago, IL 60614 
 
For more information: 
 
LaBagh Woods 
 
What: The shady tree cover, quaint picnic tables, and the scenic atmosphere makes LaBagh Woods the perfect spot for a Saturday afternoon picnic with the family! LaBagh Woods is an all-encompassing type of preserve. Visitors range from dog-walkers and runners to large picnic groups and families with young kids. North of Foster Avenue, this large area offers open space for games, picnic tables and shelters, gravel trails for walking, hiking and biking and quiet natural areas to reflect and watch birds. The wooded riverbanks, bluffs and hills along the river add depth to the terrain. Along the river, kids may be able to see duck families up close. Birders frequent the preserve, especially during the active May migration. Also, LaBagh can accommodate groups of up to 350 people, making it a great location for a birthday party or special event! Open 8am­5pm, Monday through Friday.  

Kids/Family Activities: Take a nice Sunday stroll with the family, bike ride with the kids, or have a family picnic!  A walk along the river affords glimpses of birds and water animals.
 
Cost: Free 
 
Location:
LaBagh Woods
536 North Harlem Ave. 
River Forest, IL 60305 
 
For more information: 

Photo Credit: LaBagh Woods

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