Children’s Programs

Check out the lists below to see our upcoming programs for children. Click on the name of the program to see more details and register.

Young Children

Put on some boots and bring your sense of adventure! Put on some boots and bring your sense of exploration! This program is designed for children ages 2.5 – 5 accompanied by an adult. Come and learn about nature through story time, art activities, and outdoor exploration. This program takes place on the 1st Wednesday (March – May) and the 1st Saturday (March – July) of the month from 10 – 11 am.

Program Fees: $4/members, $5 non – members. Siblings under 2 are free. Pre-registration is required.

Wednesday Dates (10 – 11 am)

  • March 6 – Tremendous Trees
  • April 3 – Peepers & Leapers
  • May 1 – Wing It
  • August 7 – Shapes in Nature

*NEW* Saturday Dates (10 – 11 am)

  • March 3 – Tremendous Trees
  • April 6 – Peepers & Leapers
  • May 4 – Wing It
  • June 1 – Sensational Summer
  • July 13 – Forest Tea Party (2nd Saturday)
  • August 3 – Shapes in Nature

Register Here

Tiny Trekkers is a weekly drop off program for ages 3 – 5. Preschoolers will explore our nearly 500 acres of preserve through hands-on experiences out in nature. This program runs from 9 – 11 a.m. on Tuesday mornings.

Tiny Trekkers is a great complement to part time preschool programs, as preparation for entering preschool or kindergarten, or even as an addition to a PreK/K homeschool program. Registration is offered by the month only and spots are limited. Children must be able to use the restrooms independently. Please see our Tiny Trekkers page for more details.

  • Frozen Fun: February 6th, 13th, 20th, and 27th
  • Creature Features: March 5th, 12th, 19th, 26th
  • Curious Collectors: April 9th, 16th, 23rd, 30th (no session on the 2nd)
  • Stream Stomp: May 7th, 14th, 21st (no session on the 28th)

Register Here

Calling all homeschool families! This program takes place on select Mondays and Wednesdays. Our Early Childhood session meets from 10 – 11 am. Sessions fill up quickly, so be sure to register early for your preferred dates.

Our sessions may include hikes, nature exploration, games, experiments, art projects, or scientific surveys. Participants at our younger sessions will also receive extension activities that can be completed at home with their whole family. Topics rotate each month and sessions are offered September through May.

Early Childhood & Elementary sessions require a parent or guardian to attend with their child.

Learn More and Register Here

Students

Calling all homeschool families! This program takes place on select Mondays and Wednesdays. Our Early Childhood session meets from 10 – 11 am, Elementary sessions meet 10 – 11:30 am, and our Middle & High School session meets from 1 – 3 pm. Sessions fill up quickly, so be sure to register early for your preferred dates.

Our sessions may include hikes, nature exploration, games, experiments, art projects, or scientific surveys. Participants at our younger sessions will also receive extension activities that can be completed at home with their whole family. Topics rotate each month and sessions are offered September through May.

Early Childhood & Elementary sessions require a parent or guardian to attend with their child. Our Middle & High School sessions are drop off only.

Learn More and Register Here

Discovery Nature Club is an after school drop-off program for elementary students (1st – 5th grade). This fall, students will meet bi-weekly from 3 – 5 pm to explore the preserve and learn more about nature. Registration is by the month. See below for the monthly themes. $18/month session for members, $20/month session for non-members. Pre-registration is required.

  • Creatures & Cryptids: March 5th & 19th
  • Earth Day Celebration: April 2nd & 16th
  • Microscopic Marvels: May 7th & 21st

Register Here

Need an evening off? Join us for a Kids Night Out! This 3 hour drop off program includes dinner and an evening of fun for ages 6 – 10 (with an occasional night offered for ages 9 – 13). This program is offered once a month on a Friday evening during the school year. Spaces are limited. See below for a description of our upcoming Kids Night Out. $30/member, $35/non-member. Pre-registration is required. Spots fill up fast!

  • March 8th, 4 – 7 pm: Pleased to Eat You
    • Feeling hungry? So is the wildlife! Get to know the producers, consumers, and decomposers that make up our food chains in Illinois.
  • April 12th, 5 – 8 pm: Fantastic Fungi
    • Search for mushrooms, identify some fungi, and learn about mycelium!
  • May 17th, 5 – 8 pm: Frogwarts
    • Discover the magic of amphibians! Dip into our creeks to search for frogs, toads, and salamanders.

Register Here

This drop off program provides a single camp day for students when schools are closed. Morning snack is included in the program pricing. Spaces are limited. This program runs from 9 am – 3 pm and is available to ages 6 – 12. See below for a description of our upcoming Outdoor EDventure Days. $50/members, $55/members, morning snack is included. Pre-registration is required.

  • April 1st (Spring Break): April Fool’s Day Fun!
    • Professor Joe Kerr is on the lookout for interesting creatures out in nature. Assist him in logging his new finds!

Register Here

Test out our Children’s Outdoor Escape Room! Ages 9 and up can join us for a variety of nature-based missions. Each mission provides a variety of puzzles to help you escape. Our Children’s Outdoor Escape Rooms are suitable for ages 9 and up and take place entirely outdoors. This program runs for 1 hour and is only booked for one group at a time. Group size must be 2 – 8 people and children must be accompanied by an adult. $10/person for members, $12/person for non-members. Check out our specific topics below:

  • Animal Adaptations (5th – 8th)
  • Biomes (5th – 8th)
  • Classification & Taxonomy (7th – 10th)
  • Ecology (7th – 10th)
  • Food Webs & Chains (4th – 7th)
  • Life Cycles (3rd – 5th)
  • Life Cycle of Stars (5th – 8th)
  • Lunar & Solar Eclipse (4th – 8th)
  • Moon Phases (4th – 9th)
  • Parts of a Flower (4th – 7th)
  • Plant Adaptations (5th – 8th)
  • Plant & Animal Habitats (4th – 8th)
  • Plant Parts (8th – 12th)
  • Planets (4th – 9th)
  • Solar System (4th – 9th)
  • Space Rocks (4th – 9th)

Learn more and register here.