6 Lake County nature centers to see real bunnies

The big rabbit may be hopping it’s way through the neighborhood this weekend but there are plenty of places in and around Lake County where you can see, and sometimes touch, real live bunnies (and more!). Just hop on over to one of these great nature centers and remind your children before heading out that you take only memories and leave only footprints!

If you are looking for rabbits then head to Lambs Farm! The small animal area opens today and features up close and personal encounters with rabbits and chicks. If the center you visit doesn’t have a resident rabbit, take a quick hike on the trails and you may find a furry friend.

Fun Fact: I used to be a director of a nature camp so many of these picks are my personal favorites and I have taken both large groups and my own children to visit them.

River Trail Nature Center

3120 Milwaukee Ave, Northbrook


My grandpa used to take my sisters and I to River Trail (we always called it trails) growing up. At River Trail you can hike through sugar maple woods along the river on self-guiding trails or visit the exhibit building and meet a few of our native animals. Young children will enjoy visiting the nature discovery area, where kids can climb in an eagle nest, crawl in a fox den, create their own puppet shows and more. The center is open 9 a.m.- 4 p.m. every day but Friday.

The Grove

1421 Milwaukee Ave., Glenview


This is one of my favorite nature centers in all of Illinois. We love it so much we had our wedding picture taken here. It’s that great! There are short and easy trails that will not only show children wetlands and forest but also a look back at how pioneers and indians lived in the area. The Nature Center has multiple rooms including a carnivorous plant greenhouse and a snapping turtle that is over 100 years old. The Grove is open Monday – Friday 8 a.m.- 4:30 p.m. and 9 a.m.- 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

Heller Nature Center

2821 Ridge Rd., Highland Park


Nestled in the oak-hickory forests of the North Shore, there is plenty to do from trails to exhibits and a natural play area. We love the Stories in the Woods program that they run. It’s a perfect way to explore the trails with toddlers. We plan on hitting up Wander Woods, their nature play space, over our spring break next week. Heller Nature Center is open Monday-Friday 8:30 a.m.- 5 p.m. and Saturdays 9 a.m- 3 p.m. They are closed on Sunday.

Crabtree Nature Center

3 Stover Rd., Barrington Hills


This is a great nature center for older kids. The facility features longer and more strenuous trails that your aspiring naturalist will love. The building is open daily 9 a.m.- 4 p.m., closed on Fridays.

Prairie Grass Nature Museum

860 Hart Round, Round Lake


Locate inside the Round Lake Park District Aquatic Center building, this small and unassuming nature center is the perfect spot for a quick morning playdate. There are habitats, live animals and exhibits that are perfect for toddlers and preschoolers to get an up close look at natural wildlife. The center is open Tuesdays and Thursdays 10 a.m.- 4 p.m. and Saturdays 9:30 a.m.- 12:30 p.m.

Wildlife Discovery Center

1401 Middlefork Drive, Lake Forest


Located on Elawa Farm, there are no fuzzy creatures here except for the bobcat outside. Don’t let that keep you away from this gem. This free center offers a large collection of native reptiles and amphibians, as well as interpretive trails. Just on the other side of the parking lot is an awesome playground, making this a perfect location for a picnic playdate! The center is open Tuesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m.- 4 p.m.

So head out and explore this weekend and maybe you will find some real bunnies, or at least a naturally good time!

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