When it’s my turn to plan a family outing, I usually try to find a family-friendly outdoor place we haven’t been to before. Hidden Oaks Nature Center is such a place. Located in Bolingbrook, Illinois, we’ve been down the hill from here, launching a canoe on the Dupage River near the Trout Ponds and also bike riding on the Dupage River Greenway. This was out first visit to the Nature Center, however.
The lobby of the LEED-certified building as well as a 2nd floor space are dedicated to exhibits about the building itself, the environment surrounding it, and the animals one might come across. It also serves as a handy place to use the restroom and get water for drinking. There is an outdoor deck upstairs that is part of the green roof and looks like a great place to have a picnic.
Outside, trails meander through the conservation area, exploring different habitats, from woods to an oak savanna that is being restored. At different locations throughout, there are informational signs, fun sculptures, and even a natural play area. This is not hardcore nature and is suited more for younger children, but everyone enjoyed spending a few hours here.
To extend your time here, bring a fishing rod and cast for some fish in the Hidden Lakes Trout Farm, or do as we did and launch a canoe on the River. Bring bikes and you’ll have miles of paved Greenway to explore, with a large park at one end.
The Hidden Oaks Nature Center is located at 419 Trout Farm Road in Bolingbrook and is easily accessed from Interstate 355.