Official Opening of the Tallgrass Prairie Adventure Exhibit
Official Opening of the Tallgrass Prairie Adventure Exhibit

Forest Preserve District Holds Celebration for the Tallgrass Prairie Exhibit at Creek Bend Nature Center

Kane County Connects Staff/Media Release Forest Preserve District of Kane County 11/17/2022 12:00PM

The Forest Preserve District of Kane County held a ribbon-cutting event to celebrate the official opening of the latest addition to Creek Bend Nature Center — the Tallgrass Prairie Adventure exhibit.

Visitors to the exhibit will learn about animals that live in tallgrass prairies, restoration efforts and more.

The Forest Preserve District of Kane County applied for an Illinois Public Museum capital grant for the project in May 2020. The grant program is managed by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR). The District received an initial notification in November 2020 that it would be awarded $200,000 for the project. Official IDNR approval to move forward was then granted in April 2021. After soliciting proposals, in June 2021, the Forest Preserve Commission approved a contract with the Chase Studio Exhibit Division of the Ozark Museum of Natural History, for the design, fabrication and installation of the exhibit.

The exhibit was constructed off-site in Cedarcreek, Missouri, and then transported to St. Charles for installation. The installation of the exhibit began Oct. 10, 2022.

“We’re really excited to show-off our long-awaited ‘Tallgrass Prairie Adventure’ exhibit,” said Environmental Education Manager Barb McKittrick. “This will be entertaining and educational for visitors of all ages. The exhibit depicts a tallgrass prairie both above and below ground, and we can’t wait for people to see it.” she said.

Above ground, the exhibit includes a colorful representation of typical grasses, common prairie forbs, taxidermy specimens, and models of wildlife that live on the prairie. Below ground is a representation of a fox den, which visitors can crawl through. You’ll also find a glassed in, life-sized representation of the underground prairie — everything but the soil. This underground encounter will depict animals in their burrows. There is an interactive station where you can “discover” various insects, worms and other invertebrates. The nature center’s Wentzscope was relocated here, and can be used to view various biologic specimens.

The prairie interactive section includes touchable models of an American toad, Eastern garter snake and Tiger salamander. Interpretive sign panels provide information on ways you can help prairies and the various restoration techniques used in the Kane County forest preserves.

Creek Bend Nature Center is located within LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve at 37W700 Dean St., St. Charles. Creek Bend Nature Center is open to the public Mondays through Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 4 p.m. Admission is free. 

For more information, call 630-444-3190 or email Find the Forest Preserve District of Kane County on social media @forestpreserve.

Tags: Around Town Animals Community Education Environment Families Featured Kane County Forest Preserve District