5 wonderful nature centers in the south suburbs

School is almost out. You know how I know? First, the stack of papers sent home from school has grown exponentially each day, and I have no intention of going through it. I gave up on checking homework and reading logs weeks ago. We keep snoozing the alarm later and later. And lastly, I have already heard a little person whine the words, “I’m bored.”

I didn’t know it was possible to be bored before summer even got here, but apparently, it is. Honestly, I think the kids are just looking for a change of routine, and it is apparent by my lack of care about school paperwork that I am too.

I think it is time to head outdoors and soak up some rays. Here are five south suburban outdoor places that are quick enough to enjoy on a weekend and will help break up the monotony.

Lake Katherine Nature Center and Botanic Gardens

Located in Palos Heights, this park includes plenty of nature in which to bask. There are walking trails, a lake, woods and plenty to explore with your little one. If your kids enjoy this after-school hike, there are summer programs to enjoy too.

The Old Plank Road Trail

This 22-mile paved trail runs through the far south suburbs. Parts of the trail go through beautiful scenic woods, prairies and even downtown Frankfort, where you can stop for some ice cream.

Pilcher Park and Nature Center

While this location is a bit of a drive west, it’s worth it as it has scenic trails and so many beautiful woods and flowers in bloom this time of year. It’s great to take a visit and stretch your legs.

The Little Red School House

Here’s a perfect place to learn about nature as well as some local history all about Longjohn Slough. Located in Willow Springs, it is beautifully wooded and feels like you are a million miles from home.

Irons Oaks

Located in Olympia Fields, Irons Oaks is another nature center perfect for exploration. With a focus on education and adventure, there is plenty to do, see and experience even on a weekend.

This article has been updated with the most recent information. It was originally published on May 26, 2015. 

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