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Oct 21, 2014

Closed over the summer, the River Forest landmark has a new parking lot, exhibits, amenities


Doors officially open this Friday, 5 – 8 pm


For families and neighbors who’ve been eager to see inside the Forest Preserves of Cook County’s newly refurbished Harold “Hal” Tyrrell Trailside Museum of Natural History, the wait is over.


The nature center will officially reopen its doors beginning with an event this Friday evening.


Inside, the 138-year-old building has had its floors refinished and walls painted. New exhibits include a monarch butterfly display, an insect display and a birdwatching display, while a colorful mural now accompanies the interactive and educational experiences in the children’s area.


Behind the scenes, office space and other staff and program preparation areas have been remodeled for increased functionality.


Outside, a new parking lot replaces the old one along Chicago Avenue. From the lot, visitors can reach the nature center along a new accessible walkway. A new service drive allows staff and service vehicles to access the center.


“The refurbished Trailside Museum feels fresh, new and easier to use. It will help us do what we do best—connect the public to the natural world,” said Trailside Museum Director Michele Mottlowitz. “We encourage everyone to come check it out.”


The nature center also has some new amphibians, including tiger salamanders. A large box turtle terrarium, also a new addition, greets visitors near the entrance.


Exciting renovations will continue after the nature center reopens its doors. Several additional exhibits will be added in the coming months and a new outdoor nature play area will break ground next spring.


The public is invited to the official reopening event:


An Evening at Trailside

Friday, October 24, 2014

5 – 8 pm

Trailside Museum of Natural History

738 Thatcher Avenue

River Forest, IL 60305



Get up close and personal with your neighborhood nature center! Sample a variety of educational programs and crafts, chat with your local naturalists and get a close-up view of our entire mammal furs and skulls collection. A rare “behind the scenes” program will show you how we prepare food for our live display animals. Light refreshments will be served. For adults and families; free.



Following Friday’s event, Trailside Museum will be open during its regular fall hours:


Building: 9 am – 4:45 pm, closed Fridays
Grounds: 8 am – 5 pm


Please note that winter hours begin on November 1:


Building: 9 am – 3:45 pm, closed Fridays
Grounds: 8 am – 4 pm


Please visit for more information.

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