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May 29, 2013

Events include family festivals, films, concerts, paddling outings, photo meet-ups and more!


The summer months are the perfect time to discover the Forest Preserves of Cook County. In addition to regular programs at the District’s six Nature Centers; the summer 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 Forest Preserve District of Cook County was founded nearly 100 years ago for the pleasure, education and recreation of the residents of Cook County and our visitors,” Forest Preserve District of Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle said. “This summer, as we begin to celebrate our centennial anniversary, we’re offering more special events, festivals, educational programs, and volunteer activities than ever before. We hope that these opportunities will encourage people of all ages to rediscover and enjoy their forest preserves.”


For a complete list of summer events in the Forest Preserve District, visit



Nature Is Accessible!

Thursday, June 6, 10 am – 2 pm

Little Red Schoolhouse 9800 Willow Springs Rd., Willow Springs, IL

Join us for hours of fun and exploration! Trail walks, pond exploration and fun, hands-on learning activities will delight visitors of all abilities. Learning activities are accessible.


Beaubien Woods Celebration

Saturday, June 8, 11am – 4pm

Beaubien Woods, I-94 and Doty Ave.

Have fun at this annual family event presented in partnership with Fishin’ Buddies and the Calumet Stewardship Initiative. Fish, explore, build with natural materials, hike and more!


Explore the Forest
Sunday, June 9, 12 am – 4 pm
Crabtree Nature Center, 3 Stover Rd., Barrington Hills, IL.
See all the Forest Preserve has to offer! Try archery, tree climbing, casting or get your bike tuned-up. Lean what our wildlife biologist, fisheries and ecologist do.  Watch our restoration crews in action with their specialized equipment. This Chicago Wilderness Leave No Child Inside event has plenty of children’s activities, including our nature play area, to discover.  


Bremen Grove Off-Leash Dog Area Grand Opening 

Saturday, June 22, 9 am to 1 pm

Bremen Off-Leash Area, 16061 Oak Park Ave., Tinley Park

Bring the family, bring the dog and celebrate the grand opening of our newest off leash dog area in the Forest Preserve.


Dan Ryan Woods Celebration

Tuesday, June 25 6:30 pm – sundown

Dan Ryan Woods, 87th and Western

Celebrate the great outdoors at Dan Ryan Woods with a Forest Jams Concert featuring Nyahbingi Drum Choir, plus Stargazing after dark. We’ll also dedicate the renovated historic Pavilion with a ribbon-cutting ceremony.


Kids Fest

Saturday, July 13, 11am – 4pm

Wampum Lake, Interstate 90/94 and Thornton-Lansing Road, Thornton-Lansing

Enjoy fishing, hiking, canoeing, archery and other fun activities at this free outdoor extravaganza for kids of all ages. Presented in partnership with Fishin’ Buddies and the Youth Conservation Conference


Hummingbird Festival

Saturday, August 17, 8:30 am – 3 pm

Sagawau Environmental Learning Center, 12545 W. 111th Street, Lemont, IL

Celebrate the beauty of hummingbirds and join us for hummingbird games, viewing and a demonstration of how the birds are banded for tracking and research purposes.




Tuesdays & Thursdays*, June 4 – August 29, 9 am – 8 pm

Trailside Museum of Natural History, 738 Thatcher Avenue, River Forest, IL

Visit Trailside Museum this summer for special evening hours and programming. Visitors will be able to walk the grounds, explore the nature center and enjoy special evening programming during these extended summer hours. Call for more information 708-366-6530

*Tuesday, July 4th open until 5 pm.




6:30 pm  – Family Activities, Dusk – Movie

Join us for free movie nights! We’ll be screening nature-themed feature films and offering family-friendly activities that correlate to the movie. Pack a picnic dinner and enjoy an evening of fun, entertainment and relaxation at our scenic natural preserves.


Thursday, June 20: My Side of the Mountain                        

Cummings, Square, 536 N. Harlem, River Forest


Thursday, July 11: Wallace and Gromit Movie: Curse of the Warerabbit

Whealan Pool, 6200 W. Devon, Chicago


Thursday, July 25: The Ant Bully

Green Lake Aquatic Center, 1100 River Oaks Drive, Calumet City


Thursday, August 1: Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax

Cermak Aquatic Center, 7600 W. Ogden Avenue, Lyons


Thursday, August 8: Daddy Day Camp

Kickapoo Woods, 144th and Halsted, Riverdale


Thursday, August 15: Despicable Me

Cummings Square, 536 N. Harlem, River Forest




Little Calumet Paddle

Saturday, June 22, 11 am – 3 pm

Meet at the Beaubien Woods Boat Launch, 950 E. 134th Street, Chicago

Pack a lunch and travel along the waterways of the Little Calumet, from Beaubien Woods to Whistler Woods. We’ll provide a shuttle bus for participants. Space is limited; call 708.771.1189 to reserve a spot.


Full Moon Paddle

Tuesday, August 20, 6:30 pm to 9:30 pm

Skokie Lagoon, Tower Road Boat Launch, Winnetka

Enjoy an evening paddle by the light of the full moon. Space is limited; call 708.771.1189 to reserve a spot.




Whether you’re using an advanced SLR camera, a point and shoot or a smart phone, photographing nature scenes and subjects can be both rewarding and challenging. Each month, one of our naturalists will lead a brief tour of the area, highlighting interesting and unusual plants, scenic vistas, and locations frequented by wildlife. During and after the tour, you can capture images and share tips and suggestions for getting the best shot with your fellow photographers.


Saturday, June 22, 10 am
Led by Staff from Crabtree Nature Center

Meet at the Baker’s Lake Younghusband parking lot, Dundee Road, east of Barrington Road, Barrington, IL

Sand Ridge Nature Center
15891 Paxton Ave., South Holland

Saturday, August 24, 10 am
Led by Staff from Little Red Schoolhouse
Meet at Swallow Cliff Woods South, 11918 South La Grange Road, Palos Park




6 pm – Related activities

6:30 – 8:30 pm – Concert

Head out to our summer concert series and participate in group jam sessions, learn about making instruments from natural materials and enjoy concerts by local music groups.


Thursday, June 27: Cermak Aquatic Center, 7600 W. Ogden Avenue, Lyons

Funkadesi, voted Chicago’s best world music band in 2012


Thursday, July 18: Cummings Square, 536 N. Harlem

Artist TBD


Thursday, August 22: Whealan Pool, 6200 W. Devon Avenue, Chicago

Merit School of Music Summer Wind Ensemble, featuring more than 30 young musicians from Merit’s summer program


Thursday, August 20: Green Lake Aquatic Center, 1100 River Oaks Drive, Calumet City

In the Spirit, African-American music and storytelling


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About the Forest Preserve District of Cook County

Established in 1914, the Forest Preserve District of Cook County is the oldest and largest forest preserve system in the nation, maintaining more than 68,000 acres of open land for the education, pleasure and recreation of the public. The District strives to protect and restore the county’s diverse ecosystems, so all our unique native plants and animals can live and thrive. Each year, millions of people use these lands and facilities to enjoy or study nature, bicycle, hike, fish, cross-country ski, picnic, golf, canoe, or simply relax in a large preserve that leaves urban life behind. For more information on the Forest Preserve District of Cook County, visit

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