6 fun ways to celebrate a century of the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County

The Chicago area might be one of the nation’s largest metropolitan centers, but that doesn’t mean our kids live in a concrete jungle. Exposing kids to the natural world has been a priority for area parents for a long time, and this summer, the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County is celebrating 100 years of connecting people to nature.

If you want to head out to go fishing, take a hike, learn more about the animals native to our area or just breathe in the fresh air and hear the wind in the trees, check out the events the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County is hosting to mark its centennial. Whether you’re among the more than 900,000 DuPage county residents or not, these events are open to all.

1. Centennial Nature Fest

June 27, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.

St. James Farm Forest Preserve, Warrenville

This hands-on event for kids of all ages to discover all things nature will help your family get to know the county’s native plants and animals. Visit with scientists, and learn what it takes to create the rich habitats that make forest preserves such awesome places to visit. There will also be opportunities to try orienteering, fishing and tracking. Don’t worry about going hungry, as the event also features a food truck rally. The full schedule of events can be found here.

2. Centennial Medallion Search

Now through June 17

If you have a young detective at home, this is for you. Forest Preserve employees have hidden six medallions in DuPage County’s forest preserves. Get clues online, and use the clues and your knowledge of the preserves to find hidden coins and win prizes that include running shoes, biking and fly-fishing packages and even $2,500! There will also be photo clues for five additional prize package medallions on June 8, 10, 12, 14 and 16. Learn more here. We’d love for a reader to be a winner! Good luck and happy hunting!

3. Century Trail Kick Off

July 11, 8 a.m.-noon

Danada Headquarters, Wheaton

A ribbon-cutting ceremony can be fun, and it’s even better when you combine it with a 5-, 10- or 15-mile looped bike ride along this commemorative 100-mile trail. More information will be posted here.

4. Centennial Hiking Challenge

Lace up those shoes, check those stroller tires, and mark 100 years with 100 miles. Hike 100 miles on DuPage forest preserve trails, and earn a commemorative pin when you bring your log to a visitor center. Get details and trail information here, as well as information on upcoming guided hikes available for all ages. Remember that all journeys start with no judgment here!

5. Centennial Golf Challenge

Adults and older kids who love to hit the links will be interested in this offer. If you purchase and play a combined 100 holes at any district course through July 1, you’ll get a certificate for a free 18-hole round. Register at http://dupagegolf.com.

6. Country Fair

Sept. 5-6, 10 a.m.‒4 p.m.

Kline Creek Farm, West Chicago

Turn the clock back to when the Forest Preserve District was first established, and step into 1915 and a special country fair featuring a genuine flea circus, games, horse- drawn hayrides and other period entertainment. Your kids will learn a little history, and maybe gain some appreciation of modern amenities, too.

Hopefully you and your family will make the most of this celebration. Here’s to manymore centuries of kids enjoying the wonders of nature and the great outdoors!

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