Outdoor Recreation in the NW Suburbs

The abundance of forest preserves and municipal parklands in Chicago’s northwest suburban region mean that residents in Schaumburg and surrounding communities have a wealth of options for hiking, biking, nature exploration, fishing, boating, and other outdoor pursuits. And the recent spate of unusually warm weather has inspired Teresa Schmedding of the Daily Herald to pen this article listing several likely places to go visit.

Sculpture park, Schaumburg

The Chicago Athenaeum’s International Sculpture Park comprises 20 acres of meadow, forest and natural prairie near Schaumburg village hall at 101 Schaumburg Court. It’s open sunrise to sunset and is free. It’s a great place to grab lunch while gazing at a 6-ton rock shaped like a head or a 7-foot sculpture made of fiberglass and painted polychrome that’s called “Heavy Dog Kiss.”

More info: chi-athenaeum.org/park.htm

Morton Arboretum, Lisle

More than 16 miles of hiking paths wend their way around 1,700 acres at the Morton Arboretum, 4100 Route 53 in Lisle. The arboretum also features 9 miles of biking trails or you can simply chill in numerous garden spots. And, if you get sick of all that nature stuff, they’re holding a clearance sale at the Arboretum Store though Jan. 15. The grounds are typically open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. this month. Admission is $12 for adults; $9 for kids.

More info: mortonarb.org/

Cosley Animal Farm, Wheaton

The animals and staff aren’t hibernating at the Cosley, 1356 N Gary Ave. The farm covers five acres so you can wander at your leisure and check out that three-toed Box Turtle you’ve been dying to see. The farm is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. this month. Admission is free to Wheaton residents and children under 17; $3 for nonresident adults.

More info: cosleyzoo.org/.

WinterFest at Volo Bog

Volo Bog isn’t going to let a lack of snow put a damper on its WinterFest this weekend. The festival features outdoor hikes, music and storytelling at the Bog, 28478 W. Brandenburg Road, Ingleside. There also will be cookies and hot cocoa for sale. Tickets cost $5 for adults and $2 for children. The bog spans 1,453 acres, and winter is a good time to see if you can identify trees and shrubs by their bark.

More info: dnr.state.il.us/lands/landmgt/parks/r2/VOLOBOG.HTM; ; more info on WinterFest: friendsofvolobog.org/

Hike Cuba Marsh, Barrington

Nature lovers can take a one-hour guided hike of Cuba Marsh at 9 a.m. Saturday. Gentle trails cross the 782-acre marsh that are excellent for biking, hiking and (when and if the snow comes) cross-county skiing. It’s at Cuba Road, west of Ela Road and east of Route 59 near Barrington. Cost is $1 for county resident or $2 for nonresidents.

More info: lcfpd.org/preserves/.

Take a hike in Kane County

The Kane County Forest Preserve has a “Take a Hike” program where you can explore different forest preserves each month. Overachievers can get a patch if they complete six of the 12 hikes. This week’s hike is at Burnridge Forest Preserve, 38W235 Big Timber Road in Elgin, which has nearly 9 miles of trails on 590 acres.

More info: http://www.kaneforest.com/recreation/takeahike/default.aspx

Or carve your own path in Kane County

A network of foot trails winds through the fields and forested ravines of the Tekakwitha Woods Forest Preserve, 35W076 Villa Marie Road, St. Charles. The Fox River Trail runs along the eastern boundary of the forest preserve on the Elgin-Aurora trolley line. The preserve is free and open until sunset.

More info: http://www.kaneforest.com/ForestPreserveView.aspx?ID=42.

. . .

Prairie View Nature Center and Silver Creek Conservation area, Crystal Lake

Prairieview Nature Center, 2112 Behan Road, Crystal Lake, has more than seven miles of hiking trails and picnic areas. Stop in at the center’s building to learn more about nature or turn kids lose in interactive room with hands-on activities, games and puzzles. Littering and bicycling is not allowed, but you can bring your dog (on a leash).

More info: mccdistrict.org/web/si-Prairieview.htm

Just pick a park and go play

Grab a soccer ball or football, pile the kids in the car and hit your local park for some playtime — which is also a chance to work off some of those pounds you may have picked up over the holidays.

More info: An alphabetical list of local park districts with links to their websites can be found at users.rcn.com/clonk/parkdistrict.html.

For the many outdoor recreation opportunities in Schaumburg, check out the Village’s Park District website.

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About Suburban Sustainability

Founder and editor of the Schaumburg's Sustainability Future social media project (est. Earth Day, 2011)
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