Little Red Schoolhouse Nature Center

Little Red Schoolhouse Nature Center

Connect with the historic past of the Palos Hills at The Little Red Schoolhouse (LRSH). In 1886 the present building, originally located on the Black Oak Trail at old 99th Street, replaced a log cabin school.


Now hikers enjoy country lanes once used by its student. In 1932 the school house was moved to Camp Kiwanis by a local resident, using only one mule and log rollers. Classes continued there until 1948. In 1952 it was moved to its present site, and in 1955 reopened as a unique, new kind of school. In place of the three R’s, fascinating stories are told to children and grown-ups who visit here, stories about forest preserve plants and animals and the earth of which they live.


Fifty years ago Longjohn Slough was a wet prairie where farmers cut wild hay. Some farmers hauled hay to feed Chicago’s horses a round trip of about 10 hours! Old timers remember hunting rabbits in a hollow that is now Maple Lake, and one resident made a living just hunting and trapping. The land on which the schoolhouse now stands was a fruit orchard planted in 1906. Visitors in the spring still enjoy its pear, apple and plum blossoms.


In 2010 a new visitor center with additional live animals and exhibits, children’s activity room, and more joined the old school.
History of LRSH » LRSH on Facebook »

9800 Willow Springs Rd
Willow Springs, IL 60480

Hours: March – October
Building 9 am – 5 pm, closed Fridays
Grounds 8 am – 5 pm
Hours: November – February
Building 9 am – 4 pm, closed Fridays
Grounds 8 am – 4 pm

Thanksgiving, Christmas Day & New Year’s Day

Events List Navigation

February 2018
Sat, Feb 24 • 1:30 pm

Camo Kids

Little Red Schoolhouse Nature Center, Willow Springs
May 2018
Don't MissWed, May 23 • 10 AM

Nature is Accessible!

Little Red Schoolhouse Nature Center, Willow Springs
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Visit two of the treasures of the Forest Preserves of Cook County