At Hickory Knolls Discovery Center, we want to be your bridge into the natural world. Leave the stress of city and suburb life behind and opt outdoors. Our LEED-certified building is the gateway to over 130+ acres of woodlands, wetlands and prairies. Escape into the natural world with us!
The Hickory Knolls Natural Area is open daily at dawn so you can unwind with a sunrise walk on our 3+ miles of trails. Hike over hills created in the wake of retreating glaciers. Stroll past pothole wetlands, formed when chunks of glacial ice melted and made ponds. Walk our woodlands and prairies, where native plants like those the pioneers saw grow tall and strong. Don’t forget to keep your eyes peeled for resident wildlife. Deer, fox, coyote, rabbits, opossum, raccoons, voles, mice, snakes, red-tailed hawks, great horned owls, chorus frogs, honey bees and hundreds of other insects, birds and critters call our natural area home. Come out and see if you can find tracks in the snow or mud, scat left behind, or other evidence of our wildlife friends.
By mid-morning Hickory Knolls Discovery Center will be open. Venture indoors and continue discovering nature and exploring natural history. The exhibits at Hickory Knolls emphasize science and the environment, while highlighting the geologic and cultural history of the Fox River Valley. Check out our brand new Musk Ox display and learn about the impact of the Ice Age on local land formations. Examine Native American artifacts and discover hands-on history in our wigwam and dugout canoe. Say “hello” to the animals that live throughout the Discovery Center – everyone from Peter Rabbit our Ambassador bunny to Kevin the Cornsnake to our endangered Blanding’s Turtles. You can also wonder at our interactive floor-to-ceiling mural, investigate pollinators in our new honey bee exhibit, and observe the birds at our feeders. The opportunities to learn and play are endless!
When your afternoon is nearly spent and your energy is waning, escape back into the natural. Visit the native plant gardens, stroll the trails, and watch the sunset over the wetlands. Taking everything you’ve learned inside the Discovery Center with you, we hope you’ll have a new appreciation for the little things. You’ll see the geologic formations that surround you, you’ll appreciate the wildlife walking by, and you’ll understand your place in the natural world that sustains us all.
Whether you have a full day or less than an hour, come out to Hickory Knolls Discovery Center – a destination unlike any other!