Pilcher Park Nature Center and Bird Haven Greenhouse

Last week, Weston and I took a day trip down to Joliet to check out Pilcher Park.  He kept asking to go to the Nature Center and I wanted to go on a hike, so this was the perfect place! 

Pilcher Park Nature Center

We headed down in the morning and it took us a little longer than it should have.  Google Maps did NOT have the right directions and it kept sending me around in circles through a neighborhood!  The easiest way to get there is to take Gougar Road to the Highland Park Road entrance. Trust me on this one.

Anyway- we started out at the Nature Center.  This center is a lot smaller than the ones we're used too, but it was fun none-the-less. They also have a turtle and tortoise area as well as snakes, fish, a hawk, a guinea pig, a ferret and even a parakeet!

PilcherParkanimals

They have a lot of amphibians which were cool, including these huge bullfrogs!

After were done inside, we headed outside where we saw a little 'adventure' park. Unfortunately, the park is only for youngsters taking classes at the Nature Center, so we couldn't go in :(

PilcherParkNatureCenter

After we were done at the Nature Center we decided to take a hike. So I checked out the map and decided to take the Hickory Creek Trail down to Hickory Creek.

pilcherparkhickorycreek

After Weston saw the park he reeaaaalllly wanted to go play so instead of looping back around to the Nature Center, we headed back the way we came and ended up hiking along Highland Park Road so we could check out the park at the corner of Gougar and Highland Park Drive.

Then we headed over to the Bird Haven Greenhouse, not too far from the park.  We got on the Hummingbird Lane Trail and headed over.  The Hummingbird Lane Trail is a really nice rustic trail!  We saw so many birds and wildflowers and it was nice and peaceful.

pilcherparkhummingbirdlanetral
pilcherparkhummingbirdlanetrail

The trail ends at the Bird Haven Greenhouse so we checked out the greenhouse for a bit.

birdhavengreenhouse
birdhavengreenhouse
birdhavengreenhouse
birdhavengreenhousewaterfall

And then we headed back!  Weston walked part of the way and enjoyed looking for bugs and climbing over all the fallen trees.  When he started getting tired, I put him back in my carrier and carried him the rest of the way.  He totally fell asleep on the last half of the hike and his head was leaning on my head while hiking- which was not very comfortable, but super cute. 

There are a lot of great trails here that I can't wait to come back and hike. I love the rustic unpaved trails because it makes me feel like we're deep in the forest even though a main highway is usually less than a few miles away. I'm sure we'll be back a few more times this summer!


 

Bird Haven Greenhouse

225 N. Gougar Road

Joliet, Illinois

815-741-7278

Hours:

8 am-4:30 pm daily

Closed on Holidays


 

 

Pilcher Park Nature Center

2501 Highland Park Drive

Joliet, Illinois

815-741-7277

Hours:

June-August 9 am-4:30 pm daily

September-May 9 am-3 pm daily

 

 

 

ActIVITIES

HIKING     BIKING     WILDLIFE VIEWING     CROSS-COUNTRY SKIING    SNOWSHOEING     PLAYGROUNDS     PICNIC GROUNDS    


OTHER

RUSTIC TRAILS - BRING CARRIER    

PILCHER INTERPRETIVE TRAIL IS SOMEHWHAT STROLLER-FRIENDLY

DOGS NOT ALLOWED IN BUILDINGS EXCEPT FOR SERVICE ANIMALS