Homer Lake Interpretive Center

We are Open!

We are excited to see you! For the safety of all, our policies follow public health department guidelines.  Before coming out to visit us, please remember the following:

·   Check with your group to see if anyone has symptoms; if anyone is showing signs of sickness or had contact with anyone confirmed to have covid, stay home

·   Masks are required at all times inside the Homer Lake Interpretive Center

·   No more than 10 visitors are allowed inside the Center at any one time

·   Visitors must sanitize their hands when they enter the building; hand sanitizer is provided

Current Hours: Tues-Fri, 1-5pm
(until further notice; dates/times subject to change)

Experiences and Programs
We remain committed to creating experiences of engagement and exploration. Contact us to explore options for virtual experiences for your group or classroom. Check our Facebook page and the CCFPD event webpage for announcements of things to do throughout the Preserves, as well as virtual experiences we are offering to the general public. Also check out our YouTube channel.
 

Covid Guidelines for In-person Programs
We are excited to offer limited in-person outdoor programs! The health and safety of our staff and participants are our first priorities.

Our staff takes everyone's safety seriously and we have planned activities and procedures that follow current safety recommendations from the CDC and IDPH.

By signing up for in-person programs, guardians/participants are expected to follow the guidelines developed by CCFPD. More details are provided in the Covid Guidelines and Waiver for In-person Programs document. 

We appreciate your help in keeping everyone safe by following these guidelines.

Your Forest Preserves are Open!
As always, 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 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.