museum grand prairie middle fork campground homer lake interpretive lake of the woods golf kickapoo rail trail

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Mission Statement
We conserve, preserve and restore natural areas,
We provide cultural, historical and environmental opportunities,
We provide compatible outdoor recreation experiences.

Phone: (217) 586-3360 | Fax: (217) 586-5724 | Email:


Online Registration and Reservations

We are excited to offer online registration and facilities reservations! Live by your schedule, not ours. Sign up for an activity, and reserve facilities, all from your computer or mobile device at any time of the day or night – whenever it is convenient for you.

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Homeschool Program: Prairie Adventures
Friday, September 16

Museum of the Grand Prairie, Lake of the Woods Forest Preserve, 9:30am–1pm
This multi-disciplinary learning experience incorporates settlers’ harvesting, and prairie animals and plants. Investigate Buffalo Trace Prairie, witness a prairie burn demo, and see and touch harvesting tools and bison bones! This program is a somewhat intense and busy day. Most of it will be outdoors, with significant walking; please dress appropriately. Recommended for children 8 years old and up, with parental accompaniment suggested. No toddlers or strollers please. $3 per child. Registration required: (217) 586-2612 or contact


Reserve a Campsite Now!
The Harry L. Swartz Campground at Middle Fork River Forest Preserve is open for the 2016 season! Campground consists of 65 campsites that can accommodate individuals as well as larger groups. Fifty-three of the sites have electricity. Each campsite is a quiet retreat shaded by large oak, hickory and hackberry trees. Wildflowers grow in abundance. Campsites are available per night on a first-come, first-served basis. Reservations are allowed for stays of at least three consecutive nights.

Make a reservation



Remarkable Rodents
Friday, September 2
Nature Play Pre-K

Natural Playscape, Homer Lake Forest Preserve, 10–11am
Tuesday, September 6

Growing Up Wild

Museum of the Grand Prairie, Lake of the Woods Forest Preserve, 10–11am
This program is for preschoolers ages 2-6 to learn as we play in nature! What is a rodent? Learn the answer to this question as we study the similarities among mice, squirrels, and hamsters. This is a chance for parents/grandparents to actively engage with children as they experience the natural world. Dress for the weather, as we will be outdoors for the entire program. $5 per child. Register by August 30; (217) 896-2455 or

Prairie Stories
Saturday, September 10
Museum of the Grand Prairie,
Lake of the Woods Forest Preserve, 10am-5pm
Go back in time and experience what life was like in 19th century east central Illinois! The day begins with artisan demonstrations (including blacksmithing!) and outdoor cooking. We have hands-on activities beginning at 12pm! We also feature live American folk music and dancing!  Enjoy our popular archaeology area, and discover how people of the past used their gardens for more than just food! FREE! (217) 586-2612 or

Construction Updates
The District is making improvements over the next several months to the boat launch and boardwalk area between Walnut Hill and the Natural Playscape at Homer Lake Forest Preserve. To ensure the safety of visitors the main parking lot will be closed during this time. The overflow parking directly north will be open for visitors.

Questions about this project can be directed to