Lake Katherine Nature Center and Botanic Gardens

Lake Katherine Nature Center and Botanic Gardens

Hello there, everyone!  Is anyone else just head-over-heels with the weather we've been having?!  These are those "OOOHHH!  That's why I liver here!" days that Chicagoans dream about all winter.  And this week has been perfect days for getting outside and exploring what Chicagoland has to offer.

On Monday we took a break from the choo-choo park (the park by the train by our house) and headed over to Lake Katherine Nature Center and Botanic Garden in Palos Heights.  I must admit, I was a little skeptical while driving out there.... it was urban sprawl from the 294 all the way to the entrance...but once we got here, I couldn't believe how beautiful it was! 

Lake Katherine Palos Heights

We stopped at the Nature Center to go potty and get a map.

Side note:The hand dryers in the bathrooms here are REALLY LOUD!  So loud, they might scare your small child. You've been warned.

The trail here is only a mile and it loops around the lake- so we started near the Nature Center and worked our way around. 

Weston immediately wanted to get out of the stroller and start exploring.  He's getting so big and talking in complete and coherent sentences that just blow me away.  Like most children, he is so curious about everything!  Here he started counting the plants. "One, two, three, seven, ten, four!"

The trail is all woodchips so I would suggest bringing a S.U.S. (Sports Utility Stroller) like the B.O.B or similar or just bring your carrier.  I saw some Mom's trying to manage umbrella strollers and they just weren't cutting it. Other Mom's were just carrying their kids and letting them down when they wanted to explore. We brought the stroller but if we go back again, I'm just going to put him on my shoulders for the walk. 

Lake Katherine Palos Heights

At the other end of the lake, there is a Children's Forrest.  There are some fun things to climb and play around on, including a make-shift shelter, ropes, and rocks. This area has many memorial trees dedicated to children who have passed on so be prepared for some tears. We had to deal with some scary stuff when Weston was born so this kind of stuff makes me extra sentimental. What a beautiful way for your child's memory to live on.

Lake Katherine Children's Forrest
Lake Katherine Palos Heights
Lake Katherine Palos Heights
Lake Katherine Children's Forrest
Lake Katherine Children's Forrest

We stopped to send a pic to Daddy!  Does anyone else think the selfie filter on the Samsung Galaxy phones is super weird?  I feel like it looks like that episode of SNL when they put the fuzzy filter over Rachel Drath as Barabara Walters.

Lake Katherine Children's Forrest

We continued on down the trail to Turtle Bay and saw some turtles!

Lake Katherine Turtle Bay

Then headed back towards the Waterfall and Conifer Garden to have lunch.

Lake Katherine Waterfall
Lake Katherine Waterfall Garden
Lake Katherine Waterfall Garden

We found a great little spot near the waterfall to have lunch. I didn't really realize it was on part of the trail, but nobody seemed to mind.

Lake Katherine Waterfall Garden

Then we headed inside to explore the Nature Center a little.  There were some games, dioramas, and some fish and snakes down in the basement.  They have a lot of nature programs here for school age kids where the kids can actually use things like dipping nets to catch frogs and things like that. 

Lake Katherine Nature Center

Weston started to get tired so we headed home and of course, when we got home, he woke  up and immediately wanted to go to the 'choo-choo park.'  So we did.

Lake Katherine Nature Center and Botanic Gardens

7402 Lake Katherine Drive

Palos Heights, IL 60463

Grounds Open:  Dawn until Dusk Daily

Nature Center:  Mon thru Fri: 9am to 5pm :: Sat: 10-4 :: Closed Sundays

 

 


Activities

HIKING     EXPLORING     NATURE CENTER     WILDLIFE VIEWING


OTHER

WOODCHIP TRAIL -  BRING CARRIER

DOGS ALLOWED