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Enjoy Spending Holiday Weekend in the Forest Preserves of Cook County

Nov 22, 2017

Spend more time with loved ones, less money this holiday weekend by choosing to #OptOutside


With many people planning to share the holiday weekend with close family and friends, the Forest Preserves of Cook County joins its partner REI in encouraging residents to #OptOutside and consider spending more time exploring the great outdoors.


Throughout the Forest Preserves of Cook County, residents and visitors can discover nearly 70,000 acres of wild and wonderful, including various habitats such as forest woodlands, wetlands, prairies and savannas.


Amenities within the Forest Preserves include more than 300 miles of marked trails for hiking, biking, horseback riding and cross-country skiing; numerous sledding hills and snowmobile areas; five campgrounds; six Nature Centers; more than 20 dedicated Illinois nature preserves; and more.


Below are ideas on different ways to #OptOutside within the Forest Preserves of Cook County. For more ideas and information on ways to enjoy time outdoors in the Forest Preserves of Cook County throughout the holiday weekend, download the Forest Preserves of Cook County’s online events brochure at Additionally, visitors can find information on making the most of the holiday weekend by booking a cabin at one of the Forest Preserves’ new campgrounds,



North Zone


  • Get up close and personal with one of the resident animals at River Trail Nature Center, 3120 Milwaukee Ave. in Northbrook, during the Creature Feature program beginning at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday, Nov 26.
  • Enjoy a walk along the North Branch Trail, which was recently extended 3 miles south from Caldwell and Devon Avenues to Irene C. Hernandez Family Picnic Area at Foster Avenue and Kostner Avenue.


Northwest Zone


  • Join a naturalist to learn how animals prep for and survive the cold months ahead during the Winter Preparation program at Crabtree Nature Center, 3 Stover Rd. in Barrington Hills. The program is free to attend, and begins at 1 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 26.
  • Head to Deer Grove to enjoy paved and unpaved trails.


Central Zone



South Zone



Southwest Zone


  • Visit exhibits on geology, history and habitat management from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Sagawau Environmental Learning Center, 12545 W. 111th in Lemont. Visitors can also help remove invasive shrubs to help native plants from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. while at the Nature Center. Registration for Ecological Restoration is required; call 630-257-2045.
  • Connect with Palos Hills’ historic past at Little Red Schoolhouse Nature Center, 9800 Willow Springs Rd. in Willow Springs. While there, visit with live native animals and more.




Visit two of the treasures of the Forest Preserves of Cook County