Homer Lake Interpretive Center

Our Center is closing, but the experiences continue!

The Homer Lake Interpretive Center will re-close to the public beginning Friday, Nov. 20 in continued commitment to safety and health, due to COVID-19 mitigation efforts. 

Despite closing, we remain committed to creating experiences of engagement and exploration. Check our Facebook page and the CCFPD event webpage for announcements of things to do throughout the Preserves, as well as virtual experiences. Also check our our YouTube channel.

Even after our doors are closed, you can continue to experience the outdoors - your Forest Preserve lands are still open! All Homer Lake vault toilets, playgrounds, and the Natural Playscape are open. *Note that the Walnut Hill shelter restrooms and the Natural Playscape stream are turned off for the winter season. Please be sure to follow public health guidelines when visiting the Preserves.

The Champaign County Forest Preserve District remains committed to supporting the health of those we serve and staff. Unfortunately, COVID-19 has cause many changes in the way we offer our programming, loan kits, and other services. Please note the COVID-19 information provided throughout our webpages about our hours, programming, loanable items, etc.

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. 

After visiting the Center, be sure to stop by the Natural Playscape.

Come see what we have to offer! For more information, call 217-896-2455 or email hlcenter@ccfpd.org.

Regular Hours

Our regular hours are reduced due to COVID-19. Please note statement above regarding the Interpretive Center's current hours.

Weekday Hours
September to May
Tues - Fri 1 - 5 PM
June to August
Mon - Fri 10 AM - 5 PM
Weekend Hours
April to October
Saturday 10 AM - 4 PM

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.

Location

The Center is located at 2573 S Homer Lake Road, just inside the entrance to Homer Lake Forest Preserve.

Directions

From I-74

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.

East on SR 150 from Urbana

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.

West on SR 150 from Danville

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.

Online Experiences

Check out all the awesome new nature videos we've produced this year! CCFPD YouTube Channel

For even more, follow us on Facebook!

Group Visits

Due to limited space at the Center, we request that groups contact us at least two weeks in advance of your visit.

  • Non-school groups please contact Jennifer Wick at jwick@ccfpd.org or call (217) 896-2455.
  • Teachers and school groups please contact Stacey Clementz at sclementz@ccfpd.org or call (217) 896-2455.

What Else Can I Do?

There’s a lot to do at Homer Lake Forest Preserve!

After your day at Homer Lake, be sure to visit our partner facility, the Museum of the Grand Prairie, located at Lake of the Woods Forest Preserve in Mahomet.

Resources for Loan

The Homer Lake Interpretive Center’s loan kits contain hands-on items to get you out hiking and exploring!

  • Aquatic Invasive Species Loan Kit
  • Bird Adaptation Loan Kit
  • Discovery Backpacks
  • Field Trip Pack
  • Fishing Poles
  • GPS units
  • Illinois Amphibians and Reptiles Field Pack
  • Insect Backpack
  • Water Quality Kit

For descriptions of each kit and more information, see our Educator Resources page. Instructions are included in each kit. Some kits require a refundable deposit.

Animal Advocates

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.

Donations Needed!

We currently are accepting donations of birdseed (black oil sunflower seed preferred; no seed mixes with cracked corn please). 

Volunteering and Employment

Volunteers: Visit the Education Volunteer page.

Each year, our seasonal naturalists and day camp educators help visitors connect to the amazing natural heritage of this region. For more information, see the District’s employment page, or contact Pam Leiter or call (217) 896-2455.

Admission

Cost

Admission is free; donations appreciated.

Parking

Free and accessible.

General Information

Exhibits

Click here to see our upcoming exhibits.

Behavior

To safeguard you and your belongings, as well as the exhibits at the Center, certain behavior rules apply.

Accessibility

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.