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West Ridge Nature Preserve - Opening Day

What to Do with Your

Children in Summer

1. Go for a walk

2. Dig in the soil

3. Look at clouds

4. Sort through rocks

5. Explore their surroundings

6. Initiate their play activities

7. Use all of their senses

8. Become aware of wildlife

9. Watch for changes

10. Ask questions and search for answers

From Illinois Department of Natural Resources Field Trip Tips in their Field Trip Packs

West Ridge Nature Preserve Seasonal Announcements

Drop by the West Ridge Nature Preserve at 10:00 a.m. every last Saturday of the month, March through October, to enjoy Family Nature Days with themed activities. The activities will be ongoing for three hours. Additional special events will occur during these months.

Summer weather is here! Duck and geese babies swim in the pond. New plantings grow tall. Leaves are thick on trees and bushes. And birds, especially migrating ones, seek safe habitat.

We love our comfortable but relatively narrow paths because they preserve fragile wildlife and encourage responsible walking. Discouraged are activities that would disrupt those, young and old, who are enjoying the park alone or as families.  

Please, to protect last year's plantings and encourage migrating birds to return, stay on the paths and leave your dogs at home. The Chicago Park District signs in the preserve clearly state these rules.



Special Theme: Fish, Turtles, Frogs . . .

Experience the fascinating lives of fish, amphibians, and macroinvertibrates through activities that enthrall. You can do this at our Family Nature Day on Saturday, July 30, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

We promise engaging experiences that emphasize how key these creatures are to our ecosystem. A special feature will include fishing demonstrations. Additional activities will be announced soon.

Activities are partially funded through a $500 grant from the Chicago Parks Foundation.

June Family Nature Day Highlights 

More than 100 people braved the heat to make insect-related crafts, watch beekeeping and worm composting demonstrations, explore information, and have their faces and hands painted with butterflies, lady bugs, and spiders. Many congregated in the shady Nature Play Area, not only to climb and swing but also to make finger puppets, use a puppet stage, and listen to live music provided by Elise Dalleska and Sam Bradshaw from Coalesce. Photo highlights follow:

PAC Inaugurates First of Monthly Family Nature Days

On March 26, the first Family Nature Day at West Ridge Nature Preserve provided an ode to spring for an enthusiastic group of participants.

A vision of the Park Advisory Council (PAC), the March Family Nature Day, built on successful activities from the September opening, and paved the way for the rest of the last Saturday of the month series running through October.

Two favorites – StoryWalk and I Spy – returned to continuing accolades. The test run of a nature play area encouraged children’s creativity and physicality. There were branches to build teepees, log disks to walk or jump from one to another and a fallen tree trunk to climb. An old fashioned swing, strung from a tree branch, elicited joy and laughter. Children also enjoyed two springtime crafts – making miniature nature gardens and flower finger puppets.

Huge efforts by some seventeen PAC volunteers made this event possible, logging in an estimated 115 on-site hours.

A special treat, thanks to an anonymous donor, featured spring themed music from two members of the group, Coalesce. Elise Dalleska played the violin and Sam Bradshaw the bass. Parents and children had the opportunity to dance into spring as they listened to the music.

You are invited to the next Family Nature Day on April 30, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The event will feature birds.

West Ridge Nature Preserve Is in the News

Preserve Opening Attracts Crowd

A celebration for the opening of the West Ridge Nature Preserve took place on September 20th, 2015. Some 700 visitors streamed through the Ardmore Avenue gate, reflecting the day’s sunshine and warmth.

The mayor -- along with the 40th ward alderman, Chicago Park District officials, and our PAC president -- welcomed visitors with speeches and a ribbon cutting ceremony.

People of all ages explored the preserve and sampled the activities. Our PAC sponsored a welcome table and offered a number of activities, some continuous and some at specific times during the day.

PAC activities included the following: StoryWalk, I Spy nature hunt, mammal specimen table, guided tour, writing workshop, and Yoga. The Chicago Park District and North Park Nature Center provided fishing demonstrations, crafts, and a butterfly release.

Our PAC welcomes continued use and protection of the preserve by neighbors and nature lovers. Plans for future activities are in the works.

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