LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve is located at 37W700 Dean Street in St. Charles, Illinois. The park serves as a regular destination for recreation, both active and passive. There are various built amenities on the site, although 98% of the park has natural features, like prairie, woodlands, and Ferson Creek, which meanders through the preserve. In addition, contained within the preserve is the Murray Prairie, various restorations – like the Bob Horlock area, floodplain forests, grassy fields, seeps and oak woodlands. Speckled Alder is a native colony that only exists here. For this reason, LeRoy Oakes has become one of the St. Charles Park District’s most popular preserves.
North and south of Dean Street are fields of prairie plants dispersed across multiple acres of fields. There are 9 miles of trails here, including the starting point of the Great Western Trail. Spend some time exploring the 135 feet elevation difference from the crest in the center of the park to Ferson Creek.
Creek Bend Nature Center at LeRoy Oakes
The Creek Bend Nature Center is the center of the Forest Preserve District’s Environmental Education program. LeRoy Oakes is the home to this popular attraction, as well as many other attractions. The White Oak is Illinois’ State Tree and is displayed and taught about in the permanent, interactive exhibit. There is also a wetland exhibit that gives onlookers an underwater sight of the Fox River.
There’s a lot of things to see and do, or you can simply relax in the parks, pavilions and among the trees. There’s a biodiversity exhibit with bison dating back to the late 1800s too. Ask about their upcoming nature programs, learn about ecology in Kane County, go on a self-guided hike or simply relax and grill in the pavilions. Admission is always free at Creek Bend Nature Center and the 1930s estate on the premises is available for private rental for special events such as weddings. Let Creek Bend Nature Center and the surrounding landscaped grounds serve as the base of your party.
Cultural Attractions at the LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
The Durant House Museum and the Pioneer Sholes School are historic gems located at LeRoy Oakes. The Durant House Museum showcases what life was like in the 1800s. The Pioneer Sholes School is a restored and furnished one-room country schoolhouse that represents the authentic schools of the 1800s. The school may be older but the earliest known date goes back to 1872. Anyone visiting the forest preserve is welcome to visit the two history museums, including students and their teachers. Both museums are listed on State and National Historic Registers and both are managed by Preservation Partners of the Fox Valley.
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