Fall has officially begun and with many children back in school it can be difficult to enjoy the perfect crisp cool weather in Chicago. Have no fear, to be in tune with nature and explore nature’s art visit the Heller Nature Center. The center features 97 acres of natural green and wildlife such as oak hickory forests, tall grass prairie, oak savanna wetlands, and plenty of animals. There is a 3 mile trail to enjoy for a nice stroll or in the winter cross country skiing.
The center also has many indoor venues that house different eco exhibits to experience nature. One of these is the Goodman log cabin which was constructed in 1926 to replicate days of old. Directly across from this log cabin is the beehive collection. Watch as bees visit flowers to pollinate and during the harvest time of the year the beekeepers collect honey to be purchased on site. Continue onto the interpretive center which houses wildlife such as a bird watching station which showcases birds from across the area as well as 450 gallon aquarium which houses many different fish and plants.
The nature center showcases great autumn events to enjoy with your whole family. On September 10 the center is showcasing autumn astronomy which allows children and parents view the moon and constellations through a provided telescope from 7:30-8:30 pm all for free. Then on September 20, from 4-7 pm visit the center for Autumn fest with a live bird show, pony rides, reptile viewing, and pumpkin hunt for $3 per person. Don’t miss this great fall event fun for the entire family!
The center is open monday thru Friday from 8:30 am-5:00 pm and Saturday 9am- 3pm. This calming center and it’s special events will allow you and your family to enjoy the natural beauty of the seasons and start a discussion on change.
The objective of this lesson is to explore the natural surroundings and how the change of seasons can inspire us to change for the better. Children are to pick their favorite season and share activities and emotions.
Materials: White drawing paper
1. Lay out the white drawing paper, oil pastels, and glitter glue in the center of the table.
2. Start the discussion on the change of seasons such as what occurs during fall to leaves on trees, temperature, and animals preparing for winter. Ask the child what their favorite activity to do is during fall and how it makes them feel.
3. Ask the child to draw a picture of their preferred fall event and use the oil pastels to portray this message and glitter glue to enhance their picture.