Itasca's Springbrook Nature Center offers chance to quietly reconnect with nature
It's not exactly Atlantic City, but Itasca's Springbrook Nature Center features plenty of boardwalks and other paths that wind their way through marshes, prairies and woodlands.
Nestled in a residential area near downtown at 130 Forest Ave., the center was established in 1980 by the village in cooperation with the Itasca park and school districts. It features three hiking trails that combine to cover roughly two miles, along with opportunities for bird-watching and, during the winter, snowshoeing.
There's a picnic shelter and exhibits inside the big red barn that bring you face to face with some of the creatures in the nearby marsh and prairie.
The center is open this fall from 4 to 7 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays and from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.
It offers numerous programs for schools, Scouts and families that focus on topics ranging from native plants and animals to environmental restoration.
You also can check out several birds of prey -- including owls, red-tailed hawks and a turkey vulture -- displayed on the grounds by Wings & Talons, a group founded in 2016 by folks who are passionate about educating the public about our feathered friends.
Springbrook doesn't offer a lot of flash, but it does offer some quiet and solitude on its trails and the chance to reconnect with nature -- and to check out all those boardwalks.
For details about the center, call (630) 773-5572 or visit www.itasca.com/sbnc.