Thorn Creek Nature Center
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
Nature Center Closed: 9/1, 11/29, 12/1, 12/27, 12/29.
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.
Registration is required for programs. Call or email the nature center two days before the program.
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. through December 18. Free! Ages 13-adult. 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.
SEPTEMBER NIGHT HIKE
Thursday, September 12, 6:30-8:30 p.m. Free. Adults and children over 16 years old. Come join us to explore the autumn woods at night just before the equinox.
FALL WORKDAY AT THORN CREEK WOODS
Sunday, September 15, Noon-3 p.m. Free! All ages; children 15 or younger must be accompanied by an adult. There will be indoor chores plus outdoor trail and prairie work to be done. Groups and community service are welcome.
GARLIC FOR SALE – ONE DAY ONLY
Saturday, September 21, 7 a.m. – Noon. Thorn Creek Nature Center booth at Park Forest Farmers Market, 152 Main Street next to Dollar General. Garlic bulbs of 20 varieties, all grown at Thorn Creek’s Historic Farm, will be sold for $2.50 per bulb, for eating and for planting this fall. We have garlic to buy and planting information will be available.
TREES FOR KIDS
Sunday, September 29, 1-3 p.m. Free! Children 9-12 years. What kinds of trees make up Thorn Creek Woods? Where do different types grow in the woods? How do trees grow? Join us to find out and make a tree banner to take home. This program is sponsored by Thorn Creek Audubon Society.
DRAWING OWLS: ART PROGRAM AT THORN CREEK
Sunday, October 6, 1-2 p.m. All ages. Children younger than age 6 should be accompanied by an adult. $5 per person. 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. All materials will be provided.
AUTUMN NIGHT HIKE
Sunday, October 13, 6-8 p.m. Free. Adults and children over 10 years old. 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.
ANIMALS IN AUTUMN - FOR KIDS
Sunday, October 20, 1-3 p.m. Free. Ages 6-9. Fat and fur and food and flight - come explore how animals prepare for cold weather and darker days. Create a bird feeder, feel how fat insulates animals and look for clues of winter preparation on a hike. Sponsored by Thorn Creek Audubon Society.
FOCUS ON THE FOREST PRESERVE DISTRICT OF WILL COUNTY
Saturday, November 2, 1-3 p.m. Free. Ages 12-adult. Freedom Hall, 410 Lakewood Blvd, Park Forest. Annual gathering of Friends of Thorn Creek Woods with a presentation exploring Forest Preserve District facilities and programs.
KNOW YOUR OAKS HIKE
Sunday, November 3, 1-3 p.m. Free! Ages 10 to adult. 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.
FALL COLORS WALK FOR KIDS
Saturday, November 9, 1-3 p.m. Free. Ages 7-12. Walk the trails of Thorn Creek Woods amidst trees of all species, as they transition from their summer green leaves to shades of red, yellow, orange, gold, russet and even purple – the colors of autumn. This program for children is sponsored by Thorn Creek Audubon Society.
PIE IN THE SKY NIGHT HIKE
Tuesday, November 12, 4:30-6:30 p.m. Free. Adults and children over 10 years old. Join us for a meandering hike through Thorn Creek Woods while we unravel some mysteries of life in the cold. Then we’ll return to the Nature Center for a slice of homemade pie.
Sunday, December 8, 1-3 p.m. Free. Ages 9- adult. Is all soil created equal? Come and see, smell, hear and feel for the parts of soil. On the hike, we will observe and touch real samples of soil. Program sponsored by Thorn Creek Audubon Society.
WILD ANIMAL TRACKS
Saturday, December 14, 1-3 p.m. Free. Ages 4-10. Children younger than age 6 must be accompanied by an adult. 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.