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350 Victory Drive
Park Forest, IL 60466
Ph: 708-748-1112
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Thorn Creek Nature Center

Other Link http://tcwoods.org

Features

  1. Trails
Open Friday - Sunday, noon to 4 pm
Call before you plan to visit the nature center.
Trails open daily year-round, dawn to dusk.
Trails are natural surface across uneven terrain.
Registration required for programs.

Nature Center Closed: 
9/2/16, 9/4/16, 11/25/16, 11/27/16 12/23/16, 12/25/16, 12/30/16 and 1/1/17

Thorn Creek Nature Center

Thorn Creek Nature Center is housed in a historic building, originally Immanuel Lutheran Church of Matteson, Illinois built in 1862, and later Village Bible Church of Park Forest. A gothic frame country church, its notable architectural features include curved ceiling, tongue-and-groove paneling and a raised pulpit. Its current attractions are displays of the preserve’s flora and fauna, a bird feeder viewing area, Eugene E. Schwartz reference library and an expanded children’s section.

Thorn Creek Nature Preserve

Thorn Creek Nature Preserve is a 985 acre oak and hickory woodland dotted with vernal ponds and dissected by Thorn Creek and its tributary streams. Over 3.5 miles of trails meander through woodland, floodplain forest, scenic ravines, and pine plantations. The Nature Center Loop Trail travels through young developing forest and shrubby, successional old fields and is a wonderful habitat for bird watching.

Thorn Creek, Woodland Trail & the Hornicek Farm
Crossing Thorn Creek twice, the Woodland Trail loops through floodplain forests, mesic and dry-mesic upland forests and pine plantations. Continue through the tunnel of pines and on to Owl Lake, a marsh that developed on and around a glacial pothole. A short walk on the Wetland Trail leads to an observation platform overlooking a large wetland complex. The preserve also shelters an historic farm, the Hornicek Farm, old field habitat and restored prairie.

Upcoming Programs

Wednesday Walkers spring2014.jpg

WEDNESDAY MORNING WALKERS - WEEKLY PROGRAM
Wednesdays, 9-10:30 a.m. Free! Ages 13-adult. Registration required two days before your first walk.

Exercise and experience nature first-hand on 2 miles of Thorn Creek Woods Nature Preserve’s winding trails.

CHANGING SEASONS          
Sunday, September 11, 1-3 p.m. Free. Ages 9-12 years.  Registration required by Friday, September 9.

Participants will create a bird feeder, conduct an experiment and look for clues of winter preparation on a hike.

PRAIRIE SAMPLER WORK DAYS  
Monday, September 19, 9:30 a.m.-noon. Free! Age 18-adult. Registration required by Saturday, September 17.

Get down and dirty and help care for Thorn Creek’s Prairie Sampler. Dress for the weather and wear sturdy shoes or boots.

FALL WORKDAY AT THORN CREEK WOODS             
Sunday, September 25. Noon-4 p.m. Free!  All ages; children 15 or younger must be accompanied by an adult.

Registration required by Friday, September 23.    
   
There will be indoor and outdoor work to be done.  Groups and community service are welcome.

KNOW YOUR OAKS HIKE
Saturday, October 1, 1-3 p.m. Free!  All ages. Registration required by Thursday, September 29.

Join a naturalist for this hike to discover tips and tricks to help you identify some of the different oak tree species.

THORN CREEK CHAMBER PLAYERS
  
Friday, October 7, 7-9 p.m. Ages 12 and older; $10 per person. Registration required by Wednesday.

Cellist Ingrid Krizan and the Thorn Creek Chamber Players present a concert celebrating autumn.  Join us for a fun-filled evening of music echoing through the woods. Refreshments will be provided. 

AUTUMN NIGHT HIKE
Friday, October 14, 7-9 p.m. Free.  Ages 16-adult. Registration required by Wednesday.
Come join us to share the smells, sounds and sights of Thorn Creek Woods at night. Naturalist will guide us in a "quiet time" on trail to experience the nocturnal activities occurring in the preserve before winter sets in. No flashlights, please. 

MAGICAL MOON NIGHT HIKE           
Sunday, October 16, 6:30-8 p.m. Free. Ages 16 years and younger.  Children under 8 must be accompanied by an adult. Registration required by Friday, October 14.

The music and magic of Harry Potter’s Hogwarts will help you use your senses to unlock the woodland’s magical messagesrustlings, hootings, whispering water, scent of loamy soil, and flittering shadows in the forest. Join us for a spell. 

FACES OF THE MOON
Sunday, October 23. Two sessions: 1-2 p.m. or 2:30-3:30 p.m. All ages. Children under age 6 should be accompanied by an adult. $5 per person per session. Registration required by Friday, October 21.

Under the guidance of local artist Patricia Moore, participants will create masks, suitable for wearing or display. They can  represent any phase of the moon – full, half moon, or crescent – and be decorated with paints, sequins, feathers and sand.

SOILS HIKE
Saturday, October 29, 1-3 p.m. Free. Ages 8-16 years. Registration required by Thursday, October 27.

Learn how soil supports every form of life in the woods. On the hike we will observe and touch real samples of Thorn  Creek Woods soil.

EARTH UNDERFOOT: AN AFTERNOON WITH FRIENDS OF THORN CREEK WOODS
Sunday, November 6, 1-4 p.m. Free. Ages 12-adult. Registration required by Friday, November 4.                                                 

After a short Friends meeting, Olivier Caron, of the Illinois State Geological Survey, will tell us about the Survey’s mapping project in Will County, and then lead a hike. Bring a pot luck dish to share.

WILD ANIMAL TRACKS
Sunday, December 4, 1-3 p.m. Free. Ages 4-10 years. Children under age 6 should be accompanied by an adult.   Registration required by Friday, December 2.

We’ll walk the trails searching for signs of animals preparing for winter.  Bring home your own track replica.

WOODLAND CAROLS: ANNUAL FOOD DRIVE 
Saturday, December 10, noon-2 p.m. $10 per person or 1 bag of groceries per person. Ages 12 and older. Registration required by Thursday, December 8.

Savor homemade soup while listening to holiday tunes. Bring a bag of groceries and program fee will be waived!   All items and proceeds will be donated to the Rich Township Food Pantry.