Self-Guided Adventures in the Preserves

Winter Activity Guide

The coldest months of the year will be here and it might be tempting to hide away inside to wait for spring but there are loads of things to do outdoors. Download the activity guide or pick one up at one of our facilities to help you explore nature at the preserves or even your own backyard this winter. Grab your winter gear and start exploring! Activities included will be scavenger hunts, animal track id and science experiments.

Winter Activity Guide: print on 8.5”x11”

Winter Activity Guide Large Print: print on 11”x17”

*Please note that these will not be available until January 4th

Guides are also printed and available outside the following buildings until Feb. 26:

Museum of the Grand Prairie, Lake of the Woods Forest Preserve

Homer Lake Interpretive Center, Homer Lake Forest Preserve

Campground Host Cabin, Middle Fork River Forest Preserve

*If you would like copies printed off for your homeschool, 4H, school group, etc. please contact Stacey at sclementz@ccfpd.org.

Geocaching and Letterboxing

Geocaching and Letterboxing are adventurous outdoor activities for all age groups. If you like hunting for treasure, have good orienteering skills, and love the great outdoors, these activities are for you and your family. Best of all, you can play right here in East Central Illinois on Champaign County Forest Preserve District land and elsewhere. 

Geocaching is a high-tech treasure-hunting game played throughout the world by adventure seekers equipped with GPS devices. The basic idea is to locate hidden containers, called geocaches, outdoors and then share your experiences online. Geocaching is enjoyed by people from all age groups. 

Don’t have a handheld GPS unit? Borrow one from the Homer Lake Interpretive Center. Click here for more information. 

Join the world’s largest treasure hunt. Create an account online or download an app on your phone.

Letterboxing is an intriguing pastime combining navigational skills and rubber stamp artistry in a charming "treasure hunt" style outdoor quest. A wide variety of adventures can be found to suit all ages and experience levels.

Atlas Quest is a global Letterboxing community with over 2000 active letterboxes in Illinois alone. Best of all it’s free to register!

Here’s a letterbox at Homer Lake Forest Preserve, Purple Coneflower.

Scavenger Hunts

Vanishing Acts Scavenger Hunt
Use this scavenger hunt to explore “Vanishing Acts: Trees Under Threat” on outdoor exhibit in Mabery Gelvin Botancial Garden at Lake of the Woods Forest Preserve. This interactive exhibit features extinct and endangered tree species and what can be done to lessen the threats against them.

Mabery Gelvin Botanical Garden Scavenger Hunt
Explore Mabery Gelvin Botanical Garden with Garden Program Specialist, Marina Montez-Ellis, and use this printable scavenger hunt to guide you along!

Museum Activities

Votes for Women Board Game
Check out this awesome board game created by our Museum of the Grand Prairie staff! This simple board game was created in relation to our special exhibit for 2020-2021 “How Long Must Women Wait? Woman Suffrage and Women’s Rights in Champaign County” and to help celebrate the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment’s ratification. If players don’t know answers to the game’s trivia questions, simple online searches, reading info on some of the game pieces or viewing our virtual tour of the new exhibit on our YouTube page could help!

Museum Story Time
Cozy up and get ready to listen to some great books! Join Museum Educator, Katie Snyder, for read alouds of popular children’s books on this playlist!

Museum Crossword Puzzle
Put your thinking cap on and try out this Museum of the Grand Prairie Crossword Puzzle! Feel free to search through the museum website (www.museumofthegrandprairie.org), previous museum social media posts, or simple online searches to complete tricky clues!

Virtual Tours
Check out some virtual tours of exhibits at the Museum of the Grand Prairie and beyond on this playlist!

Clio

Check local historic and cultural points of interest near you on the app and website Clio. Explore exhibits at the Museum of the Grand Prairie, a heritage trail of sites at Lake of the Woods Forest Preserve, as well as other sites across the Champaign County Forest Preserve District to be added in the future.