Discovering River Trail Nature Center

On Saturday I discovered the River Trail Nature Center. I needed a nature getaway between errands in various burbs, and this was a mid-way point. It was love at first sight.

GreenTrees

Upon entering the parking lot, you can see various large cages.

RiverTrailNatureCtr

After I parked and went up close, these turned out to have various animals for up-close observation.

Barred Owl

Great Horned Owl

Coyote

Coyote

redtailedhawk

Red-tailed Hawk which was napping earlier

BaldEagle

Bald Eagle

SwansonHawk

Swanson Hawk which decided to sunbathe

Their wing spans are amazing!

wingspan

There is a nature center explaining the history of this area, and lovely illustrations along the trail to visualize the glacial melt-down.

glaciers

Chipmunks were everywhere.

chipmunk

Mosquitoes liked my ears a lot, but that didn’t keep me from walking the two looped trails which are easy for young and old to navigate.

Trails

There are lots of benches to rest on along the way of the .5 mile loops.

benchesgalore

The bridle path can lead all the way up to Wisconsin, or down to Oak Park.

bridlepath

The Green Bay Trail leads to Allison Woods.

clearlymakred

That park entrance has a shelter for picnicking and a grassy area for games.

AllisonWoods

The education center has a nature discovery area, where kids can climb in an eagle nest, crawl in a fox den, create their own puppet shows, and more.

playgroundloggs

Turtle lovers can have their fill observing these quirky creatures.

Turtles

I met a Fox Squirrel which had been rescued as a baby.

FoxSquirrel2

It is curious about people but suffered brain damage so wouldn’t survive in the wild.

FoxSquirrel1

When I returned it was taking a nap.

sleepingFoxSquirrel

Two Black Rat Snakes were hugging.

huggingratsnakes

I couldn’t get enough of the scales of this reptile (didn’t note the breed).

skaleysnake

Trail maps and interpretive publications are available at the front desk, and naturalists will answer questions.

vignettes

A Tree Guide helps with identifying trees.

treeguide

The River Trail Nature Center is at 3120 Milwaukee Avenue in Northbrook, IL 60062.

StuffedFowl

A butterfly garden has labeled plants to see what you might want to plant at home.

butterflygarden

I spotted a Tiger Swallowtail.

Swallowtail

There was also a mourning cloak in the woods but it was camera shy.

mushroomart

Dragonflies didn’t like to be photographed much either, but I prevailed.

dragonfly

Behind the nature center is a lovely line-up of Adirondack chairs.

adirondack cheirs

I meant to journal but just stared out into space and listened to the sounds around me.

staringintospace

Hours from March to October are 9 am to 5 pm, closed Fridays for the building, and 8 am to 5 pm all week for the grounds.

Beehives

In November through February the building is open 9 am to 4 pm, closed Fridays, and the grounds are open from 8 am to 4 pm all week.

LovelyBones

The park is closed Thanksgiving, Christmas Day & New Year’s Day. I’m already plotting my return to this place.

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