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Forest Park Nature Center

Phone: 309.686.3360

5809 North Forest Park Drive
Peoria Heights, IL

Do you enjoy bird watching or hiking?  Forest Park Nature Center is for you!  Forest Park Nature Center offers seven miles of trails for hiking and nature enjoyment and is home to a gift shop that carries bird feeding and hiking necessities.  Interested in learning more about nature and all that it entails?  Forest Park Nature Center has classes for adults and children alike, covering topics from bats to bugs and everything in between.  Guided hiking tours are also available.

Get to Forest Park Nature Center by bus using CityLink. Check out bus routes HERE.

Pet Policy

As a dedicated Illinois Nature Preserve, dogs and other pets are not allowed at this facility or on the trails! With that designation from the Illinois Nature Preserve Commission, comes stricter rules about what can happen at these sites due to their rare and unique ecological value.

Amenities

  • Rentals
  • Classes
  • Field Trips
  • Trails / Hiking
  • Birthday Parties
  • Shelters
  • Public Restrooms
  • Picnic Tables
  • Special Events

Forest Park Nature Center (FPNC) Members receive discounts on programs at FPNC and other Peoria Park District environmental facilities. Members receive a 10% discount of merchandise in the Trailhead Nature Store, the quarterly publication of Footprints and higher levels receive discounts on birthday parties and facility rentals. All levels allow reciprocal benefits to other environmental centers across the country through the ANCA which is the Association of Nature Center Administrators. This list can be found at natctr.org and can change as nature centers evolve.

Membership directly impacts environmental education programs at the Peoria Park District for hundreds of people. It helps with the management and care for land that Peoria Park District preserves and protects. Becoming a member helps to support recreational opportunities like hiking, trail walking and running, including the ability to “just be” in nature! We encourage you to become a steward of Forest Park Nature Center and become a member by clicking the button below!

The Nature Center: Open year-round. Trails: Open year-round; daily dawn to dusk

Building hours differ depending on season:

  • April – October: Monday-Saturday, 9:00 am – 5:00 pm, Sunday 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm
  • November-March: Monday-Saturday, 9:00 am – 5:00 pm, CLOSED Sunday

Pets are prohibited!

Some wheelchair accessible trails

Visit us today and see all the unique products that we offer! Become a FPNC member and save 10%. Click the button below to learn more!

Many of our classes, programs and events require advanced online registration. When noted, please use the links below to register. Some require phone or e-mail reservations/inquiries.

*All classes and programs for Luthy Botanical Garden that require online registration, can be found here.

The Nature Center is proud to be a site along the Illinois River Road.  Nestled in the beautiful forested bluffs of the Illinois River, visitors to this unique 540-acre Nature Center and Preserve will experience the natural realm of Illinois, where they will find:

  • Seven miles of hiking trails through both forested woodlands and prairie openings
  • Over 500 acres of dedicated Illinois State Nature Preserve

Will your next hike at Forest Park Nature Center count towards a special incentive gift? Join our Hundred Mile Hiker Club and after completing 100 miles receive a special T-shirt, then register to receive an exclusive, fully embroidered Hundred Mile Hiker Patch at 250 miles. After completing 250 miles, you are eligible to register for 500 miles to receive a lapel pin. Registration fees are $15 and are payable at the Trailhead Nature Store.

From time to time, you’ll find that this location undergoes a Prescribed Burn. Our PPD team has determined the following parks would benefit from controlled burns as means of preserving rare and endangered habitats:

  • Camp Wokanda
  • Detweiller Park
  • Donovan Park
  • Forest Park
  • Grand View Drive Park
  • Robinson Park
  • Singing Woods Nature Preserve
  • Springdale Savanna
  • Sommer Farm

The controlled application of fire, under specific weather conditions, to restore a natural process, ensure ecosystem health and resiliency, and reduce wildfire risk. The Burn Crew are trained fire experts, aware of fire behavior and control techniques, that follow nationally set standards to ensure the safety of the crew, nearby residents and private property. Learn more about the importance of this by clicking the button below.

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