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posted: 5/23/2014 11:58 AM

Summer in the Cook County forest preserves

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Submitted by Forest Preserves of Cook County

Forest Preserves of Cook County has announced longer summer hours at five of six nature centers, including Crabtree Nature Center, 3 Stover Road in Barrington Hills.

Nature center buildings will be open Tuesdays through Sundays, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (closed Mondays). Nature center grounds will be open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Special Thursday evening hours have been added, with buildings and grounds open until 8 p.m.

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"We've never provided so many diverse activities to draw visitors to the preserves and inspire them to experience nature," said Forest Preserves of Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle. "Whether you're looking for fun family activities or peace and quiet, the forest preserves have something for everyone this summer."

For a complete listing of summer events, many of them free, visit www.fpdcc.com/events.

Among events are there:

• Explore the Forest, noon to 4 p.m. Sunday, June 8, Crabtree Nature Center, 3 Stover Road, Barrington Hills. Climb a tree. Touch a fish. Check out restoration equipment. Pitch a tent. Try archery.

• Dog Fun and Doggy Paddle: 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, June 5, Beck Lake Off-Leash Dog Area, 1000 N. East River Road, Des Plaines. Spend some time with your pup and learn about our new Off-Leash Dog Area volunteer opportunities. Then head over to the Beck Lake Boat Launch for a special paddle. Your dog is invited. Canoe instruction provided. Ages 12 and up. Call (708) 771-1010 for more information.

• Beginners Evening Paddle, 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, July 10, Big Bend Lake, 9301 Golf Rd, Des Plaines.

Beginner canoeists, this paddle is for you. Learn from Forest Preserve instructors about parts of the canoe and basic paddle strokes. Pack a snack and some water and we'll relax under the evening sky. Call (708) 771-1010 to reserve your spot.

• Full Moon Celebration Paddle, 6 to 9:30 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 12, Skokie Lagoons, Tower Road Boat Launch, Winnetka. Join us for a unique paddle dedicated to celebrating the appearance of a full moon. This canoe trip is more than just a paddle -- it's an experience full of surprises you won't soon forget. Space is limited; call (708) 771-1010 to reserve your spot.

• Films in the forest, 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 28, Deer Grove East, Grove 1, Pepper Tree Drive and Dundee Road, Palatine. "Jens Jensen The Living Green" Not rated. One of a series of feature films with a nature connection that will be presented along with family-friendly activities based on the film. Pack a picnic dinner or grab a bite from food trucks and enjoy an evening of fun at scenic preserve venues. Pre-movie activities start at 6:30 p.m. Movie begins at dusk.

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