The Homer Lake Interpretive Center, located at Homer Lake Forest Preserve, features a variety of interactive exhibits, displays, live animals and a wildlife viewing area. Come see what we have to offer! The Center is a satellite facility of the District’s Museum of the Grand Prairie. For more information, call (217) 896-2455 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Closed on federal holidays
Please note that staff may be out occasionally teaching programs. If you would like to schedule a group visit, please contact us at least two weeks in advance.
The Center is located at 2573 S Homer Lake Road, just inside the entrance to Homer Lake Forest Preserve.
Take exit 197, and turn south toward Ogden. Go straight through the four-way stop sign in Ogden. About 2 miles south of Ogden, turn right (look for a small brown sign that says ‘Homer Lake’). Take the first left. The entrance to Homer Lake Forest Preserve will be on your right about a half-mile down the road. The Interpretive Center is located just inside the entrance.
Go through St Joseph. At the four-way stop in Ogden, turn right. About 2 miles south of Ogden, turn right (look for a small brown sign that says ‘Homer Lake’). Take the first left. The entrance to Homer Lake Forest Preserve will be on your right about a half-mile down the road. The Interpretive Center is located just inside the entrance.
At the four-way stop in Ogden, turn left. About 2 miles south of Ogden, turn right (look for a small brown sign that says ‘Homer Lake’). Take the first left. The entrance to Homer Lake Forest Preserve will be on your right about a half-mile down the road. The Interpretive Center is located just inside the entrance.
Due to limited space at the Center, and to ensure that the Center is open, groups are requested to call the Center at least two weeks in advance of your visit. Non-school groups should contact Chelsey Walsh at email@example.com or call (217) 896-2455 for more information.
Learning experiences at the Center can help you meet your educational goals; we have developed a packet to help you plan a self-guided visit. Contact Stacey Clementz at firstname.lastname@example.org or (217) 896-2455 for more information.
If you are interested in a staff-led program for your students, please see the School Programs page.
Download the self-guided packet.
To learn more about the natural and cultural history of the Grand Prairie region, be sure to visit the Museum of the Grand Prairie, located at Lake of the Woods Forest Preserve in Mahomet.
The Homer Lake Interpretive Center has these materials available for loan to our visitors:
GPS units are available to enhance your hiking experience. Several geocaches and a geocache trail are located on site. Staff is available to provide a simple tutorial that will have you out hiking in no time!
Borrowing a unit is free; a valid credit card or personal check is required, and will be returned to you upon check-in.
Borrow a rod and reel for FREE! Tackle packets are yours to keep. Kids 16 and under are not required to have a fishing license.
Deposit: current driver’s license or state ID. Poles and tackle are provided through the IL DNR Access to Fishing program.
This pack includes many items to assist your young child as they explore nature. Equipment includes dip nets, compasses, field guides, trowels and more! Pack is appropriate for ages 3 and up.
Deposit: $15 refundable deposit required. Field Trip Pack is provided by the IL DNR Division of Education.
These backpacks are available to enhance your hiking experience. Each pack contains activities to complete along the trail as well as educational equipment (binoculars, pond dipping tools, identification books, magnifiers and more!).
These packs require a refundable deposit. For information, call (217) 896-2455.
Do you want to look for insects but don't know how or don't have the tools? Well, come out to a forest preserve and borrow an insect backpack! Each backpack contains a how-to guide, insect nets, bug boxes, insect guides and much more. They are available at several locations throughout the Preserves: the Homer Lake Interpretive Center, Museum of the Grand Prairie (formerly Early American Museum) and the Headquarters office.
This kit is available to teachers and groups interested in learning about water quality in lakes and streams. Each kit contains equipment to test and measure the temperature, pH, dissolved oxygen and nitrogen of the water. Also included: pond dipping nets to investigate the macroinvertebrates of the water, and a binder with indoor and outdoor activities. This loan box is appropriate for 3rd grade to adults.
Fee: $10 and $15 refundable deposit.
The Champaign County Forest Preserve District with assistance from the Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant developed this loan box to assist educators in making classroom study on aquatic invasives more hands-on and interactive. The box contains aquatic invasive specimens, activities, and information on Illinois invasive species.
Fee: requires a refundable deposit.
Birds have different types of beaks, eggs and feet to adapt to their unique lifestyles. Our loan kit can enhance your lessons on bird adaptations. Included are replicas of bird skulls, eggs and tracks, as well as hands-on activities. This kit is appropriate for grades K-12. (Loan box was funded by the Champaign County Audubon Society.)
The Center is home to several animals used for educational purposes. By sponsoring one of our animals you support their care. Click here for more information.
We currently are accepting donations of birdseed (black oil sunflower seed preferred; no seed mixes with cracked corn please). We could also use clean, kid-sized gloves and hats to provide to students who participate in field trips.
No admission fee; donations appreciated.
Free and accessible.
To safeguard you and your belongings, as well as the exhibits at the Center, certain behavior rules apply.
The Center is wheelchair accessible. Signage is accommodated where possible to persons with low vision. Tactile and audio experiences are incorporated into most exhibits. For our visitors’ convenience, an exhibit booklet is available in the office – it incorporates images and text from the exhibits in an easily accessible format. Alternate activities for some exhibits are also available in the office.