Thorn Creek Nature Center
Open Friday and 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
Nature Center Closed:
Sunday, April 21 – Easter
Friday, May 24 and Sunday, May 26 – Memorial Day
Registration is required for programs. Call or email the nature center two days before the program.
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.
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.
EARTH DAY AT THORN CREEK: WOODLAND WILDFLOWERS
Saturday, April 20. 1-4 p.m. Free. All ages.
A family program to celebrate the wildflowers that grow and bloom each spring before the tree leaves unfurl in Thorn Creek Woods. Join a guided hike to view the flowers that may be blooming at that time. Activities include a slideshow, wildflower bingo, coloring and milkweed planting plus refreshments and our Spring Raffle. Sponsored by Friends of Thorn Creek Woods.
SPRING HIGHT HIKE
Sunday, April 28. 7-9 p.m. All ages. Free
Join us for a meandering night hike unraveling some woodland mysteries and listening for the first sounds of spring.
TREES FOR KIDS
Saturday, May 11. 1-3 p.m. Free! Children 5-12 years. Children younger than 6 years must be accompanied by an adult.
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. Sponsored by Thorn Creek Audubon Society.
FLOWER MOON HIKE
Tuesday, May 14. 7:30-9:30 p.m. Free! Ages 10 years or older.
The abundant blooms of spring flowers and trees in May helped the Potawatomi keep track of the seasons. Join us around the night of the Flower Full Moon. On our hike we’ll listen for nocturnal animals and explore the idea that darkness helps predators.
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.
PRAIRIE SAMPLER WORKDAYS AT THORN CREEK WOODS
Saturdays, June 1 and June 29, 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Free! Ages 18-adult. Get down and dirty and help care for Thorn Creek’s Prairie Sampler. Located in front of the Nature Center, the small prairie that was nurtured by the late Jim Marzuki needs your help with weeding, pulling tall goldenrod, and trimming out woody plants. Bring your own gloves, hand clippers, and kneelers if you like. Dress for the weather and wear sturdy shoes or boots. Refreshments will be provided. Outdoor work is on natural surface across uneven terrain.
HISTORIC FARM WALK
Saturday, June 8, 1-3 p.m. Free! All ages. Enjoy a summer day on the historic Hornicek Farm nestled in Thorn Creek Woods. Tour the farm buildings, organic gardens, the old-fashioned flower beds and meet brown-egg laying hens. Sip lemonade and listen to music. Meet at the Nature Center, and carpool to the farm.
HIDDEN PONDS HIKE
Saturday, June 15, 1-4 p.m. Free! Ages 10 years or older. Join us for a guided tour of the wet areas of Thorn Creek Woods. Discover vernal ponds, listen for the return of amphibian choruses and explore the marshes of Owl Lake and beyond.
Friday, June 21, 7:30-9:30 p.m. Free. All Ages. Celebrate the beauty of the summer woods with a woodland hike on the longest day of the year. Discover the naturalist in you as you explore the woods, observing birds and insects, identifying trees and flowers, following tracks and much more.
WOMEN OF THE WOODS: A NATURE RETREAT
Saturday, June 22, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Adult women; $5 per person. Join retreat facilitator Lynda Randa, biologist, educator and nature enthusiast to discover the naturalist in you as you explore the woods, observing birds and insects, identifying trees and flowers, following tracks and much more.
INSECTS ABOUND FOR KIDS
Sunday June 30, 1-3 p.m. Free. Ages 6-12. Join us to observe the wide variety of these fascinating creatures. Discover what makes an insect unique. Explore the differences between insects, spiders, and other kinds of arthropods. On a hike we’ll search for insect habitats and gently capture a few arthropods to study and then release. Sponsored by Thorn Creek Audubon Society.
SOUNDS OF INSECTS NIGHT HIKE
Sunday, July 14, 7:30-9:30 p.m. All ages. Free! Join us as we venture out on the trail at dusk listening for musical and mechanical insect sounds. Many insects become more active as the sun goes down.
NATURE CAMP FOR SENIORS: BEES
Tuesday, July 16, 9 a.m.–1 p.m. Ages 50 or older; $5 per person. Calling all kids ages 50 years and older to explore bees with Linda Anderson, local beekeeper from Will County Bee Keeping Association. Linda will demonstrate beekeeping with samples of honey, wax and a live bee observation window. Come and learn about the world of honey bees and pollination and maybe win the locally raised honey door prize. Lunch will be provided.
FIREFLIES NIGHT HIKE
Sunday, July 28, 7:30-9:30 p.m. Free! All ages. Fireflies or lightning bugs, no matter what you call them, their flashing light seen throughout the night heralds the official arrival of summer. Let the magic of “lightning bugs” entrance you on this summer night adventure.
CREEK WALK FOR KIDS
Saturday, August 3, 1-3 p.m. Free! Ages 6-12. Children younger than 6 years must be accompanied by an adult. Explore Thorn Creek by taking measurements and doing experiments to learn some of the properties of water. Then we'll walk the waters of the creek and observe what lives there. Wear old clothes and boots. This program for children is sponsored by Thorn Creek Audubon Society.