Thorn Creek Nature Center
THORN CREEK NATURE CENTER
247 Monee Road, Park Forest, IL 60466
Visit our website: tcwoods.org
Nature Center building can be rented for gatherings. Programs for schools, youth groups, scouts, seniors, homeschoolers, and other groups are offered both at the preserve and off-site. Call for information.
Open Friday and Sunday, noon to 4 p.m. Call before you plan to visit the nature center. Trails open daily year-round, dawn to dusk. Trails are natural surface across uneven terrain.
Forty years ago, June 1978, Thorn Creek Woods Nature Preserve was dedicated as an Illinois Nature Preserve. It is one of the largest forested areas in northeastern Illinois...the fifth largest in the Illinois Nature Preserves system. This large dry mesic oak hickory forest is dominated by 150-year old white and red oak trees with a rich understory of native shrubs, rare plants and spring wildflowers. A walk through the Woods is a 3.5-mile nature adventure. The preserve also features Thorn Creek Nature Center in an 1861 white steepled building, and the historic Hornicek Farm.
FRIENDS OF THORN CREEK WOODS
Join Friends of Thorn Creek Woods and support the 985 acre Thorn Creek Nature Preserve and its Nature Center. Formed in 1969, Friends efforts ensured permanent protection for this unique open space enhancing Park Forest and the region. Friends volunteers build and repair trails, create exhibits, monitor species, staff the nature center, lead programs, and raise funds for programs and improvements. Members enjoy a quarterly newsletter and sponsor Earth Day, plus Spring and Fall meetings. Annual family membership is $20 or $50 for an organization; life membership is $200. For more information: 708-747-6320; email@example.com; tcwoods.org; P.O. Box 32, Richton Park, IL 60471.
Registration Required for All Programs. Please call Thorn Creek Nature Center at 708-747-6320 to register.
WEDNESDAY MORNING WALKERS - WEEKLY PROGRAM
Wednesdays, 9-10:30 a.m. Free! Ages 13-adult. Registration required two days before your first walk.
Follow the forest’s seasonal changes, enjoy light exercise and experience nature first-hand on 2 miles of Thorn Creek Woods Nature Preserve’s winding trails.
FALL WORKDAY AT THORN CREEK WOODS
Sunday, September 16, Noon-3 p.m. Free! All ages; children 15 or younger must be accompanied by an adult. Registration required by Friday, September 14.
There will be indoor chores plus outdoor trail and prairie work to be done. Groups and community service are welcome.
SEPTEMBER NIGHT HIKE
Tuesday, September 25, 6:30-8:30 p.m. Free. Adults and children over 16 years old, Registration required by Sunday, September 23.
Come join us to explore the autumn woods at night just after the equinox.
KNOW YOUR OAKS HIKE
Sunday, October 7, 1-3 p.m. Free! All ages. Registration required by Friday, October 5.
Oak trees are common in Thorn Creek Woods, but are they all the same? Join a naturalist on a hike to discover tips and tricks to help you identify some of the local oak tree species.
DRAWING OWLS: ART PROGRAM AT THORN CREEK
Sunday, October 14, 1-2 p.m. All ages. Children younger than age 6 should be accompanied by an adult. $5 per person. Registration required by Friday, October 12.
Artist Pat Moore will help young artists draft from nature, studying real owl taxidermy specimens, to explore the basics of realistic drawing, shading and texture while learning about America’s rich tradition of artist/naturalists like John James Audubon. All materials will be provided.
AUTUMN NIGHT HIKE
Wednesday, October 24, 6:30-8:30 p.m. Free. Adults and children over 16 years old, Registration required by Monday, October 22.
Come join us to share the smells, sounds and sights of Thorn Creek Woods at night. Naturalist will guide us in a "quiet time" experience to take in the nocturnal activities occurring in the woods before winter sets in.
STORIES FROM THE OLD SAUK TRAIL: AN AFTERNOON WITH FRIENDS OF THORN CREEK WOODS
Saturday, October 27, 1-3 p.m. Free. Ages 12-adult. Registration required by Thursday, October 25. Program is held at Freedom Hall, 410 Lakewood Blvd, Park Forest.
This Native American trail evolved into a major wagon and stage coach road and the route for countless fugitive slaves seeking their freedom in Canada. Local historian Larry McClellan has stories to tell about this now-busy thoroughfare on the northern edge of our Thorn Creek Woods. At our annual gathering of nature lovers, which is open to the public, there will be a short Friends meeting, the presentation and refreshments.
ANIMALS IN AUTUMN - FOR KIDS
Sunday, November 11, 1-3 p.m. Free. Ages 9-12. Registration required by Friday, November 9.
Explore how plants and animals prepare for the cold weather and darker days. Create a bird feeder, conduct an experiment and look for clues on a hike in the preserve. Sponsored by Thorn Creek Audubon Society.
STORY OF THE LANDSCAPE HIKE
Sunday, December 2, 1-3 p.m. Free. All ages. Registration required by Friday, November 30.
Join our fall hike to “read” the landscape of Thorn Creek Woods. Find out what the soils, slopes, depressions, stream channels, and tree communities in the woods can tell us.
WILD ANIMAL TRACKS
Saturday, December 8, 1-3 p.m. Free. Ages 4-10. Children younger than age 6 must be accompanied by an adult. Registration required by Thursday, December 6.
We will walk the trails searching for signs of animals preparing for winter. Bring home your own track replica. Sponsored by Thorn Creek Audubon Society.