On Saturday I discovered the River Trail Nature Center.Â I needed a nature getaway between errands in various burbs, and this was a mid-way point.Â It was love at first sight.
Upon entering the parking lot, you can see various large cages.
After I parked and went up close, these turned out to have various animals for up-close observation.
Great Horned Owl
Red-tailed Hawk which was napping earlier
Swanson Hawk which decided to sunbathe
Their wing spans are amazing!
There is a nature center explaining the history of this area, and lovely illustrations along the trail to visualize the glacial melt-down.
Chipmunks were everywhere.
Mosquitoes liked my ears a lot, but that didnâ€™t keep me from walking the two looped trails which are easy for young and old to navigate.
There are lots of benches to rest on along the way of the .5 mile loops.
The bridle path can lead all the way up to Wisconsin, or down to Oak Park.
The Green Bay Trail leads to Allison Woods.
That park entranceÂ has a shelter for picnicking and a grassy area for games.
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.
Turtle lovers can have their fill observing these quirky creatures.
I met a Fox Squirrel which had been rescued as a baby.
It is curious aboutÂ people but suffered brain damage so wouldnâ€™t survive in the wild.
When I returned it was taking a nap.
Two Black Rat Snakes were hugging.
I couldnâ€™t get enough of the scales of this reptileÂ (didnâ€™t note the breed).
Trail maps and interpretive publications are available at the front desk, and naturalists will answer questions.
A Tree Guide helps with identifying trees.
A butterfly garden has labeled plants to see what you might want to plant at home.
I spotted a Tiger Swallowtail.
There was also a mourning cloak in the woods but it was camera shy.
Dragonflies didnâ€™t like to be photographed much either, but I prevailed.
Behind the nature center is a lovely line-up of Adirondack chairs.
I meant to journal but just stared out into space and listened to the sounds around me.
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.
The park is closed Thanksgiving, Christmas Day & New Yearâ€™s Day.Â Iâ€™m already plotting my return to this place.