Hickory Knolls Discovery Center


Return back to nature in the 130 acres of wetlands, prairies and woodlands at Hickory Knolls Discovery Center. Hike over hills and around the pothole wetlands created in the wake of retreating glaciers. Century old oaks along the 4-mile trail system creates the perfect opportunity to leave your everyday world behind.

Many different types of wildlife can be spotted here. Everything from rabbits to deer, foxes and coyotes, possums, raccoons, moles, snakes, mice, red-tailed hawks, great horned owls, chorus frogs, honey bees and hundreds upon hundreds of insects, birds and critters all call this natural area home. Find evidence of the varying wildlife by searching for scat left behind, tracks in the snow or mud, or come and spot the animals and critters themselves!

The Hickory Knolls Discovery Center opens by mid-morning. Explore natural history by venturing indoors to continue learning and discovering nature. Inside you will learn about the cultural history of the Fox River Valley, while learning about science and the environment, as well as the geologic history of the area. 

You can learn about the impact of the Ice Age and what effects it had on local land formations, as well as read and view the brand new Musk Ox display. Here you can find and examine Native American artifacts and undergo some hands-on learning in the wigwam and dugout canoe. 

Children can come and visit some friendly animals that live throughout the Discovery Center, from Peter Rabbit the Ambassador Bunny to Kevin Cornsnake to the endangered Blanding’s Turtles. Gaze at the interactive floor-to-ceiling mural, view the feeders to observe the birds, and even investigate bees at the new honey bee exhibit, and more! Learning and playing here is limitless! 

Escape back outside into the natural environment when your afternoon is spent. Stroll the trails, visit the plant gardens, or watch the sunset over the wetlands – the possibilities are endless. The aim is that you’ll have a new appreciation for the little things after you take everything you’ve learned at the Discovery Center home with you. You’ll start to notice the geologic formations that surround you in your day-to-day life, you’ll better understand your place in the natural world that houses us all, and you’ll appreciate the wildlife flying or walking by. 

Learn more about the Discovery Center here, view where the center’s location is here, discover more about the natural areas, or learn about the hours and fees.

Whether you are in a time-crunch or if you have a full day, this is a destination unlike any other, so go and visit the Hickory Knolls Discovery Center today!

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