Hours of Operation:
The Hickory Knolls Discovery Center building is open Tuesday to Saturday from 10am to 4pm and Sunday from 12pm to 4pm. New through October 26, the building is open until 8pm on Thursday evenings. Thursday evening hours will resume in January with even more special programs.
During building hours, you can explore our indoor turtle pond and wetland exhibits, say “hello” to our wildlife residents, check out our floor-to-ceiling mural, learn about Ice Age land forms and explore our natural play areas.
The Hickory Knolls Natural Area is open daily from dawn to dusk.
Visitors are encouraged to get outside and enjoy the 130+ acre property and 3+ miles of trails. Explore scenic woodland, wetland, and prairie habitats, discover unique flora and fauna, and tend your community garden plots!
Not sure what we mean by dawn to dusk? You can safely assume that if the sun is down, the Hickory Knolls Natural Area is closed and if it’s up, we’re open! Below are some approximate times for your reference:
January 1 – 7:20am to 4:30pm
April 1 – 6:35am to 7:20pm
July 1 – 5:20am to 8:30pm
October 1 – 6:50am to 6:30pm
On the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year, the natural area is only open for a little over 9 hours from 7:15am to 4:30pm. On the summer solstice, the longest day of the year, you can enjoy the natural area for the over 15 hours from 5:20am to 8:30pm.
Hickory Knolls Discovery Center is a FREE site operated by the St. Charles Park District. There is no admission fee to visit the natural area or the building.
We do encourage you to extend and enhance your visit with one of our unique fee-based programs. These special classes and events provide one-of-a-kind opportunities to learn more about the Fox Valley’s Natural Treasures. For more information on offerings, availability and pricing, click here.
Please note, because Hickory Knolls is a St. Charles Park District facility, many programs and events will have Resident and Non-Resident pricing. A resident (RES) is defined as anyone living within the geographical boundaries of the St. Charles Park District who pays property taxes contributing to the District. The District reserves the right to request proof of residency. A non-resident (NR) is someone who lives outside the geographical boundaries and does not pay property taxes contributing to the District. For specific details, click here.
Not sure if you live within the boundaries? The Park District’s boundaries are similar to those of St. Charles Township. The only area in the Township’s boundaries, not in the Park District’s boundaries, is the Sugar Ridge subdivision in South Elgin. The following areas are located outside of the St. Charles Township, but are included within the Park District’s boundaries:
Far East Side — Pheasant Run Resort & Convention Center, Pheasant Run Trails, and Pheasant Run Court.
Far Northwest Side — The northern portion of Thornwood Subdivision in South Elgin which includes the following streets: Courtland Drive, Oakview Court, West Ellington Court, and East Ellington Court.