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.

Check it out here!
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Fall Scavenger Hunt
Saturday, October 1
Museum of the Grand Prairie, Lake of the Woods Forest Preserve, 10–11:30am
Fall into this fun activity! We will be doing a Scavenger Hunt through the Mabery Gelvin Botanical Garden looking for signs of autumn. Participants will also learn about simple and compound leaves, identify various trees and take a guided tour of the area. $3 per child. Registration required; (217) 586-2612 or
Families with PreK – 5th grade kids

Lincoln Lecture Series:
Elizabeth Keckley, Mary Lincoln's Friend

Sunday, October 2
Museum of the Grand Prairie
, Lake of the Woods Forest Preserve, 2pm
Kathryn Harris, retired director of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library will portray “Elizabeth Keckley: Mrs. Lincoln’s African American Dressmaker & Friend” at the Museum of the Grand Prairie to kick off the 9th annual Lincoln Lecture series. Keckley began life as a slave but became skilled in the dressmaking trade, and rose as seamstress to the Washington elite to become Mary Lincoln’s dressmaker. She became Mary’s confidante and companion during President Lincoln’s time in office and wrote a memoir about her experiences. FREE! For more info: or (217) 586-2612.

The Nature of Watercolors:
Watercolor for Beginners

Saturday, October 8

Museum of the Grand Prairie, Lake of the Woods Forest Preserve, 1-3:30pm
Watercolors are a wonderful tool for illustrating the natural world. With a little direction, they can capture the most brilliant fall colors or the most subtle spring hues. This class will offer a basic introduction to watercolor painting and explore its applications for botanical and biological illustration. Register by October 1; $22 per person. Some supplies included with registration! For more info: or (217) 586-2612.
For ages 15 and up.


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

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