Hidden Oaks Nature Center at 419 Trout Farm Road in Bolingbrook reopened today under new ownership.
“The Forest Preserve District of Will County acquired the nature center and Hidden Lakes in February. The Bolingbrook Park District Preschool was allowed to continue out the school year. They graduated in May, the teachers in the park district moved out in June. So, then the forest preserve has had it and transformed it into more of a nature center,” said Suzy Lyttle, program coordinator at Hidden Oaks Nature Center.
One of the main changes the forest preserve made was in the classrooms.
“We’ve added more hands-on activities, different kinds of furs, a lot of things to touch, crafts, and then all the animals that were upstairs moved downstairs,” said Lyttle. “We have lots of turtles, there’s a corn snake, and even a salamander. So, everything is kind of more accessible and ready to play with.”
The district kicked off the reopening with a limited time exhibit.
“This art exhibit is called Visions of Nature and it’s by the Nature Artists’ Guild, part of the Morton Arboretum. So, they supplied all this wonderful art and it’s really amazing. There’s some watercolor, there’s some painting. There’s some that are just made out of little dots and it’s all things nature,” said Lyttle.
The free exhibit of more than 50 pieces will be on display upstairs at the Hidden Oaks Nature Center until the end of July. In the future, further renovations will take place, with plans for upgrades like a larger exhibit gallery, new reception area, more parking, and an expanded trail system. And more events are on their way.
“We’re going to be introducing more programs here. We just had Legos gone wild. We’re going to have some firefly hikes, and down the road we’ll have even more events. So, keep us in mind, check our website at reconnectwithnature.org for all the new events that will be coming here.”
Naperville News 17’s Anthony Yench reports.
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