I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in. ~ John Muir, 1913


Featured Events


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Upcoming Programs for All Ages

Your interest may be the deciding factor to run a program!  Most programs require advanced registration.   Please try to register at least 7 days in advance.  Waiting until the last minute may result in a program being canceled due to low enrollment or missing out because it is full. Unless specified otherwise, please register for classes by calling 309.874.2174 or emailing register@sugargrovenaturecenter.org.

Family Nature Exploration Day
Saturdays, April 4, May 2 & June 6; 10:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.
Free; no registration required.

Bring the family out at any time throughout the day to enjoy the fresh air and natural surroundings.   Create a fun make-and-take craft, take a guided hike at 11:00 a.m. and don’t miss the feeding of the turtles, snakes, and other critters at 1:00 p.m.!  Bring a picnic lunch and make a day of it!

Blacksmith Demonstrations
Saturdays, April 18, May 16, & June 20; 10:00 a.m.-noon
Free; no registration required.

The public is invited to observe members of the Illinois Valley Blacksmith’s Association as they work at the forge across the parking lot from the Nature Center.

Acoustic Irish Music Jam Session
Saturdays, April 18, May 16, & June 20; 10:00 a.m.-noon
Free; no registration required.
Acoustic musicians of all levels are invited to join an Irish-music jam session at the Nature Center. Bring your instrument to play along or stop out to just enjoy the music!  For more details, contact Martha Tyner at mtyner@iwu.edu.

Twin City Amateur Astronomers Public Viewing Session
Saturday, April 18; NASA Mission Updates; 8:15-10:15 p.m.
Saturday, May 16; A Clearing in the Woods; 8:45-10:45 p.m.
Saturday, June 20; From Satellites to Drones - Evaluating Earth’s Biomass; 9:00-11:00 p.m.
Free; no registration required.

A 20-30 minute presentation on the featured topic will be followed by a sky tour using a laser pointer and telescope observing. Programs will be held even in the event of an overcast sky. The presentation will be given and tours of the Sugar Grove Observatories will be available.  Active rain, however, will cause a cancellation of the event. When uncertain if a session has been cancelled, call Tom at (309) 830-0167 or Lee at (309) 824-2804 after 6:00 p.m. For additional information, visit www.tcaa.us.

Campfire Programs
Friday, April 24; Calling All Frogs & Toads; 6:30-8:00 p.m.
Friday, May 22; Love Those Leaves; 7:00-8:30 p.m.
Wednesday, June 24; Fabulous Fireflies; 7:00-8:30 p.m.

Fee: Free/members, $5/person non-members. Registration required.
Bring the family out for a relaxing evening at the Nature Center.  After the program, we’ll create a fun craft, then enjoy s’mores and beverages around the campfire.

Birdhouse Buidling Workshop
Saturday, April 25; 11:00 a.m.-Noon or 12:30-1:30 p.m.
Fee: $8/per birdhouse kit/members; $10/per birdhouse kit/non-members.  Limit of 2 kits per family.  Children must be accompanied by an adult.  Registration and prepayment required.  Online and mail-in registration details can be found at www.sugargrovenaturecenter.org/register.html.

House wrens return to the area in early May, so plan ahead and join us to build a birdhouse.  The house will attract house wrens as well as chickadees and nuthatches while the entry hole is small enough to exclude house sparrows.  All materials are hand cut and pre-drilled by Nature Center volunteers who will also be on-hand to provide assembly instruction and assistance.

Imagination Grove Fun Day
Thursday, June 4; 10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.
Free, although a donation such as birdseed, sugar (for hummingbirds), or toilet paper would be appreciated. See our website for complete wish list.  No registration required.
While Imagination Grove, our nature play area, is open daily, we have designated this special day for you to meet other like-minded families that enjoy and appreciate nature-based play. Bring a nature item from home to trade at the Nature Trading Post: shells, nuts, rocks, or anything else you would like to trade. We will supply lemonade and snacks, you bring energy and imagination!

National Trails Day Celebration
Presented by the Illinois Grand Prairie Master Naturalists
Saturday, June 6; 10:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.
Free; no registration required.

Lace up your hiking boots and explore over 7 miles of trails!  Take part in guided hikes led by Illinois Grand Prairie Master Naturalists or explore on your own.  Learn about hiking gear, geocaching, nature photography, first aid and trail safety, nature journaling and so much more!  Check-in at NTD Celebration Headquarters to pick up your hiking passport and begin your journey.  This event will feature activities and hikes for adults, families with children, and even leashed four-legged friends.  Special opportunities for Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts are planned, too!  We encourage you to pack a picnic lunch and plan to stay all day!

Inside Out Arts Fair
Saturday, June 20; 10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.
Free; no registration required.

Inside Out: Accessible Art Cooperative and Sugar Grove Nature Center in Funks Grove are planning an amazing art-centered collaborative outdoor experience for all ages! Joining us for the art show and sale will be approximately 25 artist members of Inside Out: Accessible Art Cooperative and the artists of Main Gallery 404. Artists will donate a percentage of their sales to benefit Sugar Grove Nature Center.

Art demonstrations, talks, and hands on activities for kids of all ages will be scheduled throughout the day. Interested area artists are welcome to bring their supplies and join in an open plein air painting event to take place throughout the day.

Performing artists and other local organizations will also be included. Currently scheduled are the Irish Music Jam Session, the Society for Creative Anachronism, and the Illinois Valley Blacksmith Association with more to be announced! Food will be available for purchase or bringing you own picnic is a welcome option. More activities are being added as the planning continues. 
Sugar Grove Nature Center staff and Inside Out: Accessible Art Cooperative members are planning this event to further their shared missions of education and service to our local communities. We hope you will watch our websites and social media pages and share the invitation to this event with friends and family!

Great American Backyard Campout
A partnership of Children’s Discovery Museum and Sugar Grove Nature Center
Saturday, June 27, 3:00 p.m. - Sunday, June 28, 10:00 a.m.
Fee: $8/person members of Sugar Grove Nature Center or the Children’s Discovery Museum,

$10/non-members.  Children under the age of 3 are free.  Children under 18 must be accompanied by an adult.  Registration required by calling the Children’s Discovery Museum at 309.433.3444.
Grab your sleeping bag and tent and join us as we celebrate the great outdoors!  Bring your family and enjoy nature-related science and art activities, listen to the sounds of the woods as you take a night hike, view the stars with the Twin City Amateur Astronomers, explore Imagination Grove, or just relax by the campfire.  A campfire dinner and light breakfast are included.