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EMBRACE WINTER IN THE FOREST PRESERVES!

Dec 2, 2014

Our new lineup of special winter events and programs has plenty to keep visitors warm and exploring the natural world.

 

If predictions turn out to be true, 2014-15 could be another big winter…or not. But no matter how much snow and cold we get, we invite you to stay active and keep learning all winter long with our great lineup of exciting winter events.

 

Of course, the preserves are also open from dawn to dusk for less structured winter activities, including hiking, cross-country skiing, sledding, ice fishing, ice skating and more. Learn more at fpdcc.com/recreation/winter.

 

All Forest Preserves events are family-friendly and free unless otherwise noted. For a complete list of winter events in the Forest Preserves of Cook County, including nature center programs not listed here, visit fpdcc.com/events.

 

 

MAJOR EVENTS

 

Family Night Out: Stars, Stories and S’mores

Thursday, December 4 • 5 – 8 pm

Caldwell Woods Warming Shelter, 6350 W Devon Ave, Chicago

Bring the family and enjoy an evening in the forest. We’ll have a fire, storytelling, snacks and other nature activities.

 

Christmas Past

Sunday, December 7 • 11 am – 3 pm

Sand Ridge Nature Center, 15891 S Paxton, South Holland

Visit our pioneer cabins as we celebrate this joyous time of year in a simpler way, with homemade toys, chestnuts roasting and popcorn popping in the open fire. Everyone is invited to make a craft to take home.

 

Winter Solstice Bonfire

Sunday, December 21 • 6:30 – 8:30 pm

Little Red Schoolhouse Nature Center, 9800 Willow Springs Rd, Willow Springs

Celebrate the shortest day of the year with a nature walk, bonfire and trimming of the wildlife tree. Family program; no organized groups, please. In-person registration required, starting 12/1. $3 per person.

 

Winter Breakout Adventures

Mondays, December 22 at Dan Ryan Woods & 29 at Thatcher Pavilion • noon – 4 pm

Don’t let the chilly winter bring you down—embrace your time off from school and head outdoors! Youth and families, join us for winter adventure and fun with activities like shelter building, GPS hikes, animal pelt stations and winter-themed games. Come for the day or just an hour. Call 708-771-1010 for details.

 

Happy Canoe Year

Thursday, January 1 • 9 – 11 am

Willow Road Dam, north of Forest Way and Willow Road, Winnetka

Experienced paddlers, bring your canoe or kayak and ring in the New Year by paddling down the Chicago River from Willow Road Dam to Linne Woods in Morton Grove. Shuttle runs 8 am – 2 pm from Linne Woods (Dempster St and Ferris Ave) to Willow Road Dam.

 

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service

Monday, January 19 • noon – 3 pm

Dan Ryan Woods, 87th & Western, Chicago

Celebrate Dr. King’s birthday with service and other activities. Learn about conservation, restoration and invasive species, and help us burn a brush pile.

 

Ski Fest

Saturday, January 24 • 9 am – 3 pm

Sagawau Environmental Learning Center, 12545 W. 111th St, Lemont

Celebrate cross-country skiing at Sagawau’s winter wonderland. Experience our groomed trails at this slide-and-glide party for skiers of all levels. Fee for ski rental.

 

Darwin Celebration Days

Saturday & Sunday, February 7 & 8 • 11 am – 3 pm

Trailside Museum of Natural History, 738 Thatcher Ave, River Forest

Celebrate Charles Darwin’s birthday! Join us as we explore adaptation, fitness, selection and survival through activities and displays. Drop-in program for all ages.

 

Surf the White Winter Wave

Saturday, February 21 • 9 am – 3 pm

Sagawau Environmental Learning Center, 12545 W. 111th St, Lemont

Join us for a Polynesian take on winter. After skiing the “frozen wave,” relax and enjoy surfing videos and live updates on surf conditions from Oahu’s North Shore. Dress Hawaiian and win a prize. Fee for ski rental.

 

 

OTHER EVENTS

 

Winter Wellness in the Woods (series)

Reap the benefits of exercising outside in nature. Instructor-led workouts will include a variety of winter-related activities. Learn how to dress for exercise in cold conditions. Call 708-771-1010 for details and to reserve a spot.

 

Saturday, December 13 • 9 – 11 am

Busse Woods North, Grove 2

Higgins Rd and Golf Rd (enter off east Higgins Rd), Elk Grove Village

 

Tuesday, January 20 • 5 – 7 pm

Thatcher Woods

8030 W Chicago Ave, River Forest

 

Tuesday, February 17 • 7 – 9 am

Dan Ryan Woods, Grove 5

87th and Western, Chicago

 

 

Winter Exploration Days (series)

Get outside and enjoy winter in your local preserves! This is a great opportunity for the whole family to enjoy snowshoe nature hikes, cross-country skiing and sledding (weather permitting). We’ll also have winter arts and crafts, a camp fire and more. All ages.

 

Saturday, Jan 10 • noon – 4 pm

Thatcher Woods

8030 W Chicago Ave, River Forest

 

Saturday, Feb 14 • noon – 4 pm

Dan Ryan Woods

87th and Western, Chicago

 

 

AFTERSCHOOL OUTDOOR ADVENTURES

Calling outdoor adventurers ages 7 – 12! Meet up for wilderness skill building, hiking, exploring, nature-based art making and more. Space is limited, so call 708-771-1010 to reserve your spot.

 

Winter GPS Hunt

Wednesday, January 28 • 4:30 – 6:30 pm

Caldwell Woods Warming Shelter

6350 W Devon Ave, Chicago

It can be difficult to find your way around a bare winter forest. Learn about the benefits of a field GPS unit and how to use one. Then, test your new skills on a coordinate-based scavenger hunt.

 

Hiking Etiquette

Wednesday, February 25 • 5 – 7 pm

Dan Ryan Pavilion, Grove 5

87th and Western, Chicago

Be a good trail user. Learn how to read a trail map, identify trailheads, then join us as we explore the trails of Dan Ryan Woods on a guided hike. Dress for the weather.

 

 

Photo Meet-Ups (series)

The Forest Preserves of Cook County hosts a series of photo meet-ups for photographers of all skill levels. Each month, one of our naturalists will lead a brief tour of a natural area, highlighting interesting plants, scenic vistas and locations frequented by wildlife. Capture images and share tips with fellow photographers. All cameras are suitable, from SLR to point-and-shoot to smart phone.

 

Saturday, December 27 • 10 am

Sand Ridge Nature Center

15891 Paxton Ave, South Holland

 

Saturday, January 24 • 10 am

Crabtree Nature Center

3 Stover Rd, Barrington Hills

 

Saturday, February 28 • 10 am

Sagawau Environmental Learning Center

12545 W. 111th St, Lemont

RSVP to 630-257-2045

 

 

THIRD THURSDAYS (series)

This monthly series explores nature, art and more. Call 708-771-1373 for details.

 

Solstice Sunrise Celebration

Thursday, Dec 18 • 6 – 8 am

Cummings Square, 536 N Harlem Ave, River Forest

Help us welcome the sunrise with a fire and live music as we approach the shortest day of the year.

 

Building Blocks of Nature

Thursday, Jan 15 • 10 am – noon

Thatcher Woods Pavilion, 8030 W Chicago Ave, River Forest

We’ll bring our nature play indoors with shelter building, storybooks and animal artifacts.

 

DIY Creative Reuse Bird Feeders

Thursday, Feb 19 • 1 – 3 pm

Thatcher Woods Pavilion, 8030 W Chicago Ave, River Forest

Make DIY bird feeders out of recycled materials. We’ll make an assortment of feeders and learn about using different foods to attract a variety of birds.

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