Sand Ridge Nature Center’s 235 acres offer trails for easy hiking. From ¼-mile to 2 miles long, each trail passes through a number of habitats, including prairies, oak savannas and woodlands on ancient beaches and sand dunes, marshes and ponds. Come in April and May for a wonderful spring woodland wildflower display, in summer for colorful prairie wildflowers, and return in autumn for colorful leaves. Spring and fall bring numerousbirds that stop to rest and feed in the different habitats. Fans of dragonflies and butterflies are treated to their aerial displays on warm days. Winter finds snow highlighting the graceful shapes of trees and shrubs, the cheery calls and colors of our resident winter birds, and the tracks of more secretive animals.
Sand Ridge Nature Center features exhibits on the natural and cultural history of the Calumet region. You’ll find native wildlife including birds of prey, snakes, turtles, and fish, and a Kid’s Corner with hands-on activities. You can watch bird feeders from the classroom, and outside stroll through a colorful butterfly garden, and enjoy a number of interpretive gardens. Reproduction log cabins depict the lifestyles of early 19th Century Illinois.
Sand Ridge Nature Center offers a number of special events, including an Earth Day Celebration, where we are all reminded in a fun way to treat our planet with care. Illinois Archaeology Day, in mid-September, highlights Native American culture. Settlers’ Day, on the Sunday before Thanksgiving, features costumed re-enactors from French fur trading days through the American Revolution, pioneers, and the Civil War. Join a Wagon Train trip from Ohio to Illinois in 1821, or participate in a guided history hike to learn about the founding and early development of our Country. Visiting with our many re-enactors or local Archaeologists, touring a Native American wigwam, or making a period craft to take home are just a few of the many additional things to do and enjoy.