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Embrace Winter In The Forest Preserves!

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

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


Family Night Out: Stars, Stories and S'mores
Thursday, December 4, 5 - 8 p.m.
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 a.m. - 3 p.m.
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 p.m.
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 p.m.
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 a.m.
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 a.m. - 2 p.m. from Linne Woods (Dempster St and Ferris Ave) to Willow Road Dam.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service
Monday, January 19, Noon - 3 p.m.
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 a.m. - 3 p.m.
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 a.m. - 3 p.m.
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 a.m. - 3 p.m.
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.


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 a.m.
Busse Woods North, Grove 2
Higgins Rd and Golf Rd (enter off east Higgins Rd), Elk Grove Village

Tuesday, January 20, 5 - 7 p.m.
Thatcher Woods
8030 W. Chicago Ave., River Forest

Tuesday, February 17, 7 - 9 a.m.
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, January 10, Noon - 4 p.m.
Thatcher Woods
8030 W Chicago Ave., River Forest

Saturday, Feb 14, Noon - 4 p.m.
Dan Ryan Woods
87th and Western, Chicago

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 p.m.
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 p.m.
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 a.m.
Sand Ridge Nature Center
15891 Paxton Ave, South Holland

Saturday, January 24, 10 a.m.
Crabtree Nature Center
3 Stover Rd., Barrington Hills

Saturday, February 28, 10 a.m.
Sagawau Environmental Learning Center
12545 W. 111th St., Lemont
RSVP to 630-257-2045

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

Solstice Sunrise Celebration
Thursday, December 18, 6 - 8 a.m.
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, January 15, 10 a.m. - 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, February 19, 1 - 3 p.m.
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.


Comments welcome.


Posted on December 3, 2014

MUSIC - Chief Keef Changed The Industry.
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BOOKS - All About Poop.


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