Little Red Schoolhouse Nature Center

Education in Willow Springs

One of six Nature Centers of the Forest Preserve District of Cook County. Little Red Schoolhouse Nature Center opened in 1955, and has educated and delighted generations of families in Cook County.

Connect with the historic past of the Palos Hills at The Little Red Schoolhouse. In 1886 the present building, originally located on the Black Oak Trail at old 99th Street, replaced a log cabin school. Now hikers enjoy country lanes once used by its student. In 1932 the school house was moved to Camp Kiwanis by a local resident, using only one mule and log rollers. Classes continued there until 1948. In 1952 it was moved to its present site, and in 1955 reopened as a unique, new kind of school. In place of the three R’s, fascinating stories are told to children and grown-ups who visit here, stories about forest preserve plants and animals and the earth of which they live.
General Information
Hours of Operation
September, October and November:
Building: 9:00 am – 5:00 pm, closed Fridays
Grounds: 8:00 am – 5:00 pm Daily

NOTE: Building and grounds closed Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day

The Forest Preserve District of Cook County’s six Nature Centers provide a gateway for discovery of the natural diversity of Cook County. As interpretive institutions and wildlife refuges/preserves, there are special rules that apply to the Nature Centers and their surrounding trails.
Please respect these rules while visiting our Nature Centers.

Pets are not permitted on nature center grounds, including the parking lots.
Because we are not a rehabilitation facility, nature center staff cannot accept injured, orphaned or abandoned wildlife.
For your safety and for the protection of natural areas, please stay on marked trails. Trails are for hiking only; no running, jogging, horses or other sporting activities.Bicycles are not allowed beyond the Nature Center parking lots, or provided bike racks.
Cross-country skiing is only permitted at the Sagawau Nature Center.
For the benefit of other visitors and wildlife, please maintain respectful noise levels at all times. Amplified music is not allowed.
Picnicking is not permitted on nature center grounds. An adjacent picnic grove can be opened for pre-registered groups on weekdays. Except for water or sports bottles, food and drink are not permitted on trails. Please dispose of litter in proper receptacles. No food or drink in buildings.
Collecting of any kind is prohibited, as is the use of metal detectors. The fine for picking wildflowers is $500.
For the protection of animals and visitors alike, please do not feed the wildlife.
Be mindful of closing times for trails, nature center building, and parking lot.
Please report safety hazards or suspicious activities to the nature center staff.

The Forest Preserves of Cook County, with nearly 70,000 acres, is the largest urban forest preserve district in the United States. It receives an estimated 40 million visits each year, providing an escape into a world teeming with wildlife and rich with outdoor recreation and environmental education opportunities. Within its boundaries are rare habitats that offer plant and animal diversity on par with the rainforests of the world. This natural heritage offers something for everyone.

This page has been created for the Forest Preserves of Cook County’s Little Red Schoolhouse Nature Center and its patrons to share news, ideas and events. Any comments that include political ranting, off-topic attacks or abusive language will be removed.

Address & Contact Edit

Street: 9800 Willow Springs Rd
Zip: IL 60480

Map & Directions

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