Despite the rain last Friday we headed out to the Hawthorne Hill Nature Center in Elgin. We've been meaning to check this place out for a while. The grounds are open daily but the indoor Nature Center part is only open on Fridays and Saturdays so it's been a little tricky to schedule. We almost didn't go because I didn't want to get caught in the rain in the middle of the woods, but I am soooo glad we did!
Hawthorne Hill is tucked away between Route 20 and Randall Rd. Keep an eye out for the small brown directional signs pointing you to the center.
We decided to do a little hike first. I grabbed a trail map from the office and headed out the back. The trail begins at a catch-and-release pond behind the center.
We looped around the lake and crossed the street and continued on the trail. The trail is mostly wood chipped with many parts overgrown, but sometimes that adds to the fun!
We saw tons of toads (very difficult to capture on film!), wildflowers, wild strawberry flowers, and evidence of spittlebugs!
This is a good time to point out that it is tick season. Ugh, gross. I know. Check out my tips for protecting yourself, your little ones, and dogs from ticks here. We didn't get any here but we've had some encounters around town.
It started to drizzle so we headed inside. The kids activity area is located in the back of the building. When we first walked in, it seemed a little old school, but don't let that deter you. The activities here were nothing less than fantastic!
We spent almost two hours inside exploring the inside or a fallen tree,
Making spider webs,
Learning about trees,
Weston played this fishing game for so long. I have to find some time to make one for the house. It's just pictures of fish that have been laminated with a paperclip on one side. The pole is just a reed with a string attached to a magnet.
I had a nice little chat with the Naturalist there who was as really passionate about engaging children in nature. She recommended a few books to me as well, which I immediately ordered from Amazon! Both are by Richard Louv. Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature Deficit Disorder and Vitamin N: 1000 Ways to Enrich the Health and Happiness of Your Family and Community.
We had such a great trip here and I'm hoping our schedule permits us to go back soon!
Have any of you been here? What's your favorite part? Next time you go be sure to download a scavenger hunt to make your trip even more fun!
Hawthorne Hill Nature Center
28 Brookside Drive
Elgin, Il 60123
Phone (when building is open): 847-531-7055
Phone (other times): 847-931-6123
Friday - 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Saturday - 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
HIKING FISHING WILDLIFE VIEWING NATURE CENTER
RUSTIC TRAILS- BRING CARRIER
VERY, VERY SHORT ASPHALT TRAIL (APPROX 0.10-MILE
NATURE CENTER IS ONLY OPEN FRIDAY AND SATURDAY