Get Outside at Lake Katherine Nature Center & Botanic Gardens

By Cecilia Govrik, Development Coordinator

June is Leave No Child Inside month, and Lake Katherine Nature Center & Botanic Gardens in Palos Heights provides multiple opportunities for exploring and learning outdoors this summer. Tucked away in southwest Chicagoland, the 85-acre public park offers trails through woodlands, prairie and around the lake as well as a Nature Center with educational programs and special events.

Urban Bird Celebration
On Saturday, June 1 from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm, families are invited to celebrate Leave No Child Inside month at the Urban Bird Celebration, a free event to engage kids and adults in a variety of hands on activities such as gardening for birds, using binoculars and spotting scopes, creating a pinecone bird feeder, and dissecting owl pellets ($2 donation). Each station will have a guide to help you gain a deeper insight into the world of birds.

Nature Day Camp
Summer is just around the corner, and kids are already excited about sleeping in late and not having to go to school. However, the summer doesn’t have to be a time for kids to stop learning. Nature day camps at Lake Katherine are the perfect way for kids ages 7 to 15-years-old to combine summer fun with learning.

Lake Katherine’s summer camp program involves much more than just playing outside. Kids develop independence and leadership skills, while also learning about their natural surroundings and connecting with the environment. It’s the experience of being in nature under the guidance of an environmental educator that leads students to think more and make new connections.

Discovery Camp

“I can teach the kids about water over and over again, but it’s not until they are standing in the waterfall with the cool water rushing around their boots that they have a true understanding of the properties of water,” explains Marian Sinkus, the environmental educator at Lake Katherine for over 12 years.

Small class sizes make the camp experience as hands-on as possible. Nature day camps run from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, and week-long sessions cost $95 per student. Sessions for each age group are available in June, July and August.

Catch & Release
There are only a few times a year when Lake Katherine is open for fishing. Grab your pole and join us for Family Fishing Day on Saturday, June 8, 2013 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. This event will offer dry land fly-fishing and casting lessons for beginners, fishing-related activities and food vendors. Prizes and trophies will be awarded. No fishing license is required for participants.

There are multiple timeslots for Family Fishing Day. Tickets are $15 per person for the morning (8 a.m.-11 a.m.) and afternoon (noon – 3 p.m.) timeslots and $25 per person for the all-day session. For details or to purchase tickets, please call 708-361-1873. Space is limited, so call today!

Canoeing on Lake Katherine

Grab a Paddle
One of the best ways to experience the beauty of Lake Katherine is from the water. Canoes and kayaks are available for rent all summer long on Monday through Saturday from noon to 4 p.m. The fee is $8 per person per hour, and all equipment is provided, making it a great opportunity for people to try paddling a canoe or kayak regardless of their experience level.

Wish on a Falling Star
Stargazing nights are free events and among the few times over the summer that Lake Katherine is open to the public after dusk. No pre-registration is required—just meet by the telescope in the Anniversary Garden on Saturday, June 15 at 9:00 p.m., Saturday, July 13 at 8:30 p.m., or Saturday, August 17 at 8:00 p.m.

Whether it’s any of these events or just a casual stroll along our wooded trails, we hope you come out the Lake Katherine this summer and bring the whole family!

Lake Katherine Nature Center & Botanic Gardens is located at 7402 W. Lake Katherine Drive in Palos Heights, Illinois. To learn more about the programs and events at Lake Katherine, please call 708-361-1873, visit, or check out our page on Facebook. Lake Katherine is owned and supported by the City of Palos Heights and managed by Lake Katherine Nature Center and Botanic Gardens, a non-profit, tax-exempt 501(c)(3) charitable organization.

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