Sign up here to photograph the high-quality prairie, woodland, and Ferson Creek in the Forest Preserves of LeRoy Oakes. In addition, contained within the preserves is a true prairie relic (the Murray prairie), various restorations (including the Bob Horlock area), flood plain forests, seeps, oak woodlands, grassy fields and Ferson Creek which meanders through the preserve. The only native colony of Speckled Alder is growing here. Seeds of prairie plants have been sown across acres of fields, both north and south of Dean Street. The site itself is varied and beautiful, with over 130 feet of elevation difference from the crest in the center of the property to Ferson Creek. Spend some time exploring the almost 9 miles of trails here, including the starting point for the Great Western Trail.
Please enter the main north parking lot on Dean St. just west of Randall Rd. There is plenty of parking on the lot next to the nature center which adjoins a 1930’s estate. Feel free to walk north in back of the home to the beautiful Ferson Creek highlighted by majestic oaks alongside its banks. Then make your way to the big red barn, the Durant House Museum and the Pioneer Sholes School.
LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve also serves as home to a number of popular attractions including Creek Bend Nature Center — the hub of the Forest Preserve District’s Environmental Education program. Permanent, interactive exhibits include a woodland exhibit featuring Illinois’ State Tree, the White Oak; a wetland exhibit that provides an underwater look at the Fox River; and a prairie biodiversity exhibit with bison dating back to the late 1800s. Open from noon to 4 pm on weekends. Free.
Historic gems such as the Durant House Museum and Pioneer Sholes School are also located at LeRoy Oakes. The Durant House Museum was built in 1843. The home serves as a living history museum, operated by Preservation Partners of the Fox Valley. The Pioneer Sholes School is an authentically restored and furnished one-room country school that was relocated from its original site in Burlington Township. The school dates back to at least 1872, though it may be older. The building is used today as a living museum for students and their teachers. The building is operated by the Pioneer Sholes School Society. Both the Durant House Museum, as well as the Pioneer Sholes School, are listed on State and National Registers and are available for tours by reservation. They will not be open on Saturday.
LeRoy Oakes is located at 37W370 Dean St. in St Charles.
Creek Bend Nature Center: http://www.kaneforest.com/natureCenter.aspx
After the outing, meet up for brunch at Colonial Cafe on Randall Road across from the Kane County Fairgrounds – and share a turtle sundae for dessert.
552 Randall Road St. Charles, IL 60174 | (630) 443-8338
Please sign up for this outing below: