One of six educational centers in the Forest Preserve District of Cook County, Illinois. Nature centers are the gateway to understanding and appreciating the diverse landscape of ecosystems, animals, and plant life in Cook County.
Protecting over 68,000 acres of the forests, prairies, and wetlands remaining in northeastern Illinois, the Forest Preserves of Cook County provides an escape into a world teeming with wildlife and rich with outdoor recreation and environmental education opportunities.
River Trail Nature Center is one of six educational facilities in the Forest Preserves that provide a gateway for discovery of the natural diversity of Cook County. The naturalist staff and visitor center offer educational programs and interpretive displays about the plants, animals, and natural communities of the region.
Visitors can experience nature through the 1.5 miles of walking trails that wind their way through the ecosystems created by the Des Plaines River and surrounding preserves. Floodplain forest, backwater wetlands, oak-hickory woodland , and an ancient remnant of sugar maple-basswood forest make River Trail a mix of habitats for an amazing variety of birds, insects, plants, and wildlife.
The Forest Preserves of Cook County, with nearly 70,000 acres, is the largest urban forest preserve district in the United States. It receives an estimated 40 million visits each year, providing an escape into a world teeming with wildlife and rich with outdoor recreation and environmental education opportunities. Within its boundaries are rare habitats that offer plant and animal diversity on par with the rainforests of the world. This natural heritage offers something for everyone.
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