For 10,000 years, since the last glaciers melted away, the Des Plaines River Valley has been home and highway for plants, animals and people. Only a few hundred years ago American Indians paddled their canoes along the river and hunted bear, deer and elk along its banks, while trappers and fur traders came searching for beaver in its waters.
A fragment of that world has been preserved in the Forest Preserves of Cook County.
River Trail Nature Center tells the story of native plants and animals that remain in the urban environment. Here you may walk through sugar maple woods along the river on self-guiding trails, learn of the past and present in the exhibit building, and visit a few of our native animals.
Younger children may enjoy River Trail’s nature discovery area, where kids can climb in an eagle nest, crawl in a fox den, create their own puppet shows, and more.
Programs and special events are held throughout the year. Trail maps and interpretive publications are available at the front desk, and naturalists will answer your questions.
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