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Fall in Love With Autumn During a Seasonal Outing

Photo for: Fall in Love With Autumn During a Seasonal Outing

Photo by Glenn P. Knoblock

Autumn is a spectacular time to observe the transitioning landscape, and there are plenty of programs coming up that will push you out the door to explore. 

Take a hike, enjoy a campfire or search for treats this autumn before Mother Nature sends in the snow. 

Here are some of the programs that take advantage of cooler temperatures and all that fall has to offer. (Program registration is available via the Event Calendar.)

Trick-or-Treat in the Woods: 7-8 p.m. and 8:30-9:30 p.m. Friday, October 11, and Saturday, October 12, at Plum Creek Nature Center. Come dressed in costume and hike along a glowing trail while looking for treats. Listen to a spooky story under the stars, enjoy a crackling fire while roasting hot dogs and s’mores. All ages; $3 per person. Children must be accompanied by a registered adult. Register by Wednesday, October 9. 

Why Are the Trees Painted?: 1-2:30 p.m. Saturday, October 12, McKinley Woods – Kerry Sheridan Grove. Learn why leaves change color and what colors their leaves will turn in the fall through hands-on activities and discussions. Meet at Four Rivers Shelter. Free; ages 18 or older. Register by Thursday, October 10. 

Autumn Night Hike: 6-8 p.m. Sunday, October 13, Thorn Creek Nature Center. Share the smells, sounds and sights of Thorn Creek Woods at night. A naturalist will guide you in a “quiet time” on the trail to experience nocturnal activities. No flashlights please. Be prepared to walk 2.5 miles. Free; ages 10 or older. Register by Friday, October 11.

Hikin’ With Your Hound: 10:30-11:30 a.m. Saturday, October 19, Hammel Woods Preserve – Route 59 Access. Enjoy an autumn walk with an interpretive naturalist and your pup. Meet new dog owners while exploring the changing colors landscape. Hikes are 1-2 miles long. Free; all ages. Register by Thursday, October 17.


Animals in Autumn for Kids: 1-3 p.m. Sunday, October 20, Thorn Creek Nature Center. Explore how animals prepare for the cold weather and darker days on this hike. Participants will create a bird feeder and look for clues of winter preparation. The hike will be more than 1 mile. The program is sponsored by the Thorn Creek Audubon Society.  Free; ages 6-9. Register by Friday, October 18. 

Fall Family Campfire: 6:30-8 p.m. Thursday, October 24, Four Rivers Environmental Education Center. Hear tall tales and sing songs by the firelight while savoring the last moments of fall. Brave souls will be guided through the darkness while listening to the mysterious nocturnal sounds. Free; all ages. Register by Tuesday, October 22. 

Fall Nature Photography Hike: 4-6 p.m. Saturday, October 26, Plum Creek Nature Center. Meet inside the nature center, and then enjoy a 1-mile hike with a naturalist and take photos along the way. This program is recommended for any camera – smartphones through digital SLRs – and will focus on technique and composition, not on camera operation. Free; ages 16 or older. Register by Thursday, October 24. 

Pumpkin Smash: noon-3 p.m. Saturday, November 2, Plum Creek Nature Center. Smash and bash your pumpkin so it can be composted instead of ending up in a landfill. Afterward, enjoy roasting marshmallows and cracklin hot dogs over a campfire. (Note: Remove candles and decorations from pumpkins before dropping them off.) Free; all ages. 

Fall Colors Walk for Kids: 1-3 p.m. Saturday, November 9, Thorn Creek Nature Center. Discover why leaves change in the fall and why trees turn different colors during a 2-mile hike. Free; ages 7-12. Register by Thursday, November 7. This program is sponsored by the Thorn Creek Audubon Society.

Family Fall Hike: 1-2:30 p.m. Saturday, November 23, Rock Run Preserve – Black Road Access. Take your family on a 1-2 mile naturalist-led hike and pause at various stopping points for different activities. Meet at the Black Road Access Shelter. Free; all ages. Register by Thursday, November 21. 


Stay up-to-date on the happenings in Will County's forest preserves by subscribing to The Citizen, our weekly digital newsletter that provides subscribers with updates on Forest Preserve news, upcoming events, and other fun and useful information for the whole family. If you're only interested in programs, subscribe to The Weekly Five, which outlines the five must-do programs each week. Signing up for either newsletter is easy and free of charge.


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