Recreation opportunities abound in our region! Here are a few of the best our area has to offer.
Wine Walk and Nature-Themed Game Night
Feb. 17, 7 p.m. Discover the tastes of wines and cheeses, and enjoy a nature game in each room. Lost Valley Visitor Center, Ill. Rt. 31 & Harts Road, Ringwood, (815) 678-4532, mccdistrict.org.
The Gross, the Bad and the Yucky
Feb. 19, 10-11 a.m. Sometimes, the yuckiest things in nature are the coolest. Some spiders make milkshakes from the guts of their prey and other critters walk on their snot. This event includes a short hike outdoors. Dress for the weather. The Barbara Belding Lodge, Brewster Creek Forest Preserve, 6N921 Ill. Rt. 25, St. Charles, (630) 444-3190, kaneforest.com.
Feb. 19, 1 p.m. Get out of the winter blues and come to the Durant House Museum for old-fashioned fun and games. Tours will also be available. Durant House Museum, 37W700 Dean St., St. Charles, (630) 377-6424, ppfv.org.
Sunday Stroll: Hastings Lake
Feb. 19, 5 p.m. Enjoy a winter stroll with a naturalist on one of the plowed paths and experience the preserve after sunset. Dress for the weather and an outdoor hike. Hastings Lake, 21155 W. Gelden Road, Lake Villa, (847) 367-6640, lcfpd.org.
Frog Monitoring Workshop
Feb. 21, 7 p.m. Join Lake County Forest Preserve biologist Gary Glowacki for a workshop dedicated to identifying and monitoring frog species in the county. Edward L. Ryerson Welcome Center, 21950 N. Riverwoods Road, Riverwoods, (847) 968-3320, lcfpd.org.
In Good Taste Restaurant Week Kick-Off
Feb. 23, 5-8 p.m. Guests are treated to a night of wining and dining from the best restaurants in downtown Wheaton. Live entertainment and a cash bar. 303 E. Front St., Wheaton, (630) 682-0633, downtownwheaton.com.
Winter Woods Walk
Feb. 25, 2:30 p.m. A walk in the cool, crisp air to watch for winter wonders. Dress for the weather and for walking through snow. Pleasant Valley Conservation Area, 13315 Pleasant Valley Road, Woodstock, (815) 338-6223, mccdistrict.org.
Tracks and Trails
Feb. 25, 10-11 a.m. Many animals are active in winter, and they leave tell-tale signs. Visitors participate in a guided hike and look for animal signs. Dress for the weather. Creek Bend Nature Center, LeRoy Oaks Forest Preserve, 37W700 Dean St., St. Charles, (630) 444-3190, kaneforest.com.
Natural Area Management Seminar
Feb. 25, 8:30 a.m. Learn how to restore and manage prairie, woodlands and wetlands. Reservations req. Garfield Farm Museum, 3N016 Garfield Road, LaFox, (630) 584-8485, garfieldfarm.org.
Animal Encounters: Coyote
Feb. 26, 1 p.m. Learn more about the animals that live at Red Oak Nature Center, specifically the coyote. Red Oak Nature Center, 2343 S. River St., Batavia, (630) 897-1808, foxvalleyparkdistrict.org.
Coral Woods by CandlelightPo
March 3, 7 p.m. Enjoy a candlelight hike through Coral Woods, share some fireside stories and listen for nocturnal wildlife. Coral Woods Conservation Area, 7400 Somerset, Marengo, (815) 338-6223, mccdistrict.org.
Festival of the Sugar Maples
March 4-5 & 11-12, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Discover how maple trees produce sap each spring and learn how sap is collected from trees. Coral Woods Conservation Area, Marengo, (815) 338-6223, mccdistrict.org.
March 4 & 11, 6:30 p.m. Spend a memorable evening with dad. Enjoy a night filled with entertainment, dancing, refreshments and fun. Pottawatomie Community Center, 8 North Ave., St. Charles, (630) 513-6200, st-charlesparks.org.
Shiver Run 5K
March 4, 9:30 a.m. Proceeds from this 2nd annual run support the Alexander Leigh Center for Autism. Route starts at the Broken Oar Marina Bar & Grill and continues through Port Barrington. Broken Oar, 614 Rawson Bridge Road, Port Barrington, (847) 639-9468, brokenoar.com.
Kane County Flea Market
March 4-5, April 1-2, Sat. noon-5 p.m., Sun. 7 a.m.-4 p.m. “The Best in the Midwest or Anywhere.” Up to 1,000 dealers display, sell antiques, collectibles, Fancy Junque. A country breakfast is served on Sundays. Kane County Fairgrounds, 525 S. Randall Road, St. Charles. Info: (630) 377.2252, kanecountyfleamarket.com.
Antique Apple Tree Grafting Seminar
March 5, 1:30 p.m. Dan Bussey, a Seed Savers Exchange orchardist helps you make three grafts of heritage variety apple trees to take home. Reservations req. Garfield Farm Museum, LaFox, (630) 584-8485, garfieldfarm.org.
Outdoor Skills: Tracking and Observation
March 5, 1:30 p.m. Learn how to identify tracks, scat and other clues left by Lake County animals, then try your new skills outdoors. Reservations req. Independence Grove Visitors Center, 16400 W. Buckley Road, Libertyville, (847) 968-3499, lcfpd.org.
March 11, 8:30 a.m. Start at the visitor center and go for two to three hours, depending on the weather. In 2016, 39 species were spotted. Cantigny, 1S151 Winfield Road, Wheaton, (630) 688-5161, Cantigny.org.
Family Night: Nature Night Sounds
March 14, 7 p.m. Bring the whole family to the Lost Valley Visitor Center for an evening of games, activities and a hike all inspired by the sounds of critters at night. Dress for the weather an a hike. Lost Valley Visitor Center, Ringwood, (815) 678-4532, mccdistrict.org.
Tea with Mamie Eisenhower
March 18, 1:30 p.m. Visit with Mamie, portrayed by actor Ellie Carlson, as she discusses life as Dwight D. Eisenhower’s wife. Mamie was also an Army wife, mother and grandmother, and she tells stories about her role as all four. Arlington Heights Historical Museum’s Banta House, 110 W. Fremont St., Arlington Heights, (847) 255-1225, ahmuseum.org.
March 18, 9 a.m. Learn about delicious maple syrup through tree-tapping demonstrations. Maple snacks and hot beverages available for purchase. Red Oak Nature Center, Batavia, (630) 897-1808, foxvalleyparkdistrict.org.
Deer Park St. Paddy’s 5K/10K
March 18, 8:20 kids dash, 8:30 a.m. 10K/5K start. This race features live Irish music. At the finish, enjoy green soda, chocolate gold coins and more Irish-inspired treats. The 10K route follows two loops on the 5K course. Deer Park Town Center, 20530 N. Deer Park Blvd., Deer Park, (224) 757-5425, allcommunityevents.com/st_paddys_5k/st_paddys_info.
Midwest Fruit Explorers Grafting Session for Beginners
March 19, 1 p.m. Informative lecture and a hands-on workshop about grafting fruit trees. Cantigny, Wheaton, (630) 688-5161, cantigny.org.
Backyard Chickens Workshop
March 19, 1 p.m. Join staff member Dave Bauer and volunteer Samira Bamberger for an introduction to raising chickens in an urban environment, from incubation to egg collection. Reservations req. Garfield Farm Museum, LaFox, (630) 584-8485, garfieldfarm.org.
Native and Natural Landscaping
March 22, 7 p.m. Learn how using native plants around your home is better for the environment and provides benefits for people as well. Prairieview Education Center, Crystal Lake, (815) 479-5779, mccdistrict.org.
March 25, 12:30 p.m. Elgin History Museum partners with the Barrington chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution as they help you explore and search your family history. Bring your tablet computer or laptop and a basic knowledge of the first three generations of your family. Elgin Area Historical Museum, 360 Park St., Elgin, (847) 742-4248, elginhistory.org.
Springtime on the Farm
April 1, noon. Help the Primrose Farmers get ready for warmer weather. Shell corn, make butter, prepare the garden for planting and assist with household chores around this heritage farm. Primrose Farm, 5N726 Crane Road, St. Charles, (630) 513-6200, st-charlesparks.org.
“Hands On” Dulcimer Workshop
April 2, 1 p.m. & 3 p.m. Musician Dona Benkert gives an introductory instruction on these stringed instruments, which are part of the zither family. The 1 p.m. session covers mountain dulcimers and the 3 p.m. session covers hammered dulcimers. Reservations req. Garfield Farm Museum, LaFox, (630) 584-8485, garfieldfarm.org.
Paddling the Nippersink 101
April 6, 7 p.m. Have you ever wanted to canoe or kayak Nippersink Creek but you aren’t sure how to plan your trip? Learn how to dress, how to plan your shuttle, where to get equipment and much more. Lost Valley Visitor Center, Ringwood, (815) 678-4532, mccdistrict.org.
Watch Out for Waterfowl
April 8, 8 a.m. New and experienced birders can enjoy a spring walk with volunteer bird enthusiast Dave Miller. Glacial Park, 6316 Harts Road, Ringwood, (815) 678-4532, mccdistrict.org.
Artist’s Trunk Show: Art by Rozanne
April 8, 11 a.m. Shop for greeting cards, canvases, matted prints and more with designs by Rozanne Priebe of Elmhurst. Morton Arboretum, The Arboretum Store, Lisle, (630) 968-0074, mortonarb.org.
Archaeology Spanning Four Decades: An Overview of Accomplishments
April 8, 2 p.m. Archaeologist Jim Yingst reviews the important role that 14 years of archaeological investigations have played in the interpretation of the Culbertson and Garfield families’ occupation of the farm. Garfield Farm Museum, LaFox, (630) 584-8485, garfieldfarm.org.
The Amazing Race: St. Charles
April 9, noon. Inspired by the reality TV show, this event encourages teams to compete using clues as they race around St. Charles performing tasks that require brainstorming, communication, strategy and teamwork. Starts at Baker Community Center, 101 S. 2nd St., St. Charles, (630) 584-1055, st-charlesparks.org.
175th Birthday of the 1842 Barn
April 13, 6:30 p.m. Celebrate the oldest building at Garfield Farm as it turns 175 years old. Garfield Farm Museum, LaFox, (630) 584-8485, garfieldfarm.org.
April 19, 6 p.m. Volunteer bird enthusiast Dave Miller leads this evening 2-mile hike through the woods. Catch a glimpse of the birds that are passing through on their migration and search for those that stay through summer or the whole year. Glacial Park, Ringwood, (815) 678-4532, mccdistrict.org.
Craft Brew Crawl
April 22, 6:30 p.m. Take a beer-tasting hike through Glacial Park. There will be several stops along the way to taste drinks made by local breweries. Glacial Park, Ringwood, (815) 678-4532, mccdistrict.org.
April 22, 10 a.m. Place trees and shrubs in pre-dug holes, tamp down dirt, add water and mulch. Plant one tree or shrub, or stay and plant throughout the entire event. Kenyon Farm Forest Preserve, 8N700 Barry Road, South Elgin, (630) 208-8662, kaneforest.com.
The Champion of Trees 10K Run
April 23, 8 a.m. start time. This challenging course follows the Arboretum’s east-side main route through rolling terrain. This USATF-certified race is bib timed. Morton Arboretum, 4100 Ill. Rt. 53, Lisle, (630) 968-0074, mortonarb.org.
Elgin History Fair
April 23, noon. Explore history in a hands-on and interactive way that will get you thinking about Elgin in a whole new way. Elgin Area Historical Museum, Elgin, (847) 742-4248, elginhistory.org.
April 29, 1:30 p.m. Search for insects and other critters under leaf litter, logs and dirt. Wear old clothes and sturdy shoes, and be prepared to get dirty. Rush Creek Conservation Area, 20501 McGuire Road, Harvard, (815) 338-6223, mccdistrict.org.
Woodland Wild Flower Walk
April 29, 9 a.m. Guided tour of the museum’s Harley Pond and Woods. Reservations req. Garfield Farm Museum, LaFox, (630) 584-8485, garfieldfarm.org.