Hawthorne Hill Programs

Hawthorne Hill Nature Center Logo.jpg

Hawthorne Hill Nature Center is the perfect place to enjoy and learn about the natural landscapes that surround our region. The nature center provides year round opportunities for experiencing nature. Explore the trails to witness the rich fall colors, snow-frosted trees, spring wildflowers, summer amphibians, and an ever changing host of birds. Hawthorne Hill is an excellent place to relax, recreate and explore the natural world providing two ponds, acres of woodland, a mile of looped trails, and an interactive nature center. The 67 acre natural area that flanks both sides of Brookside Drive has a wheelchair accessible trail that leads to the pond and sedge meadow, as well as wide, 2-miles of wood-chipped trails to access other areas.

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Nature Center Open Hours Friday and Saturday; 10am-3pm

The Nature Center is open for all ages. Open Hours for the Nature Center is for visitors to enjoy the hands-on learning centers, displays and meeting room.

Volunteer Opportunities 

We welcome both individuals and groups. Come out and volunteer at Hawthorne Hill Nature Center! Tools are provided. Wear long pants and closed toe shoes.

Saturday, March 11th, 9am - noon

Saturday, April 8th, 9am - noon

All volunteers must register one week in advance.

All volunteers will be required to sign a waiver to participate.

For more information call 847-531-7055.

Outreach Resources for Teachers, Scouts, and Homeschool Groups

Teachers, Troop Leaders, and Homeschool Parents you can schedule a field trip or rent the nature center as a teaching space for your group. We have the option for group led field trips, and nature staff led field trips. We have resource materials upon request including IDNR Resource Trunks, field guides, magnifiers, a microscope, preserved specimens, posters, and books. For more information please visit www.cityofelgin.org/hawthorne or contact Corey Zak at zak_c@cityofelgin.org.

Rentals Information at Hawthorne Hill Nature Center

The Center is available for rentals for gatherings, scout meetings or birthday parties. It has a large meeting room with a kitchenette that includes tables and chairs. For more information visit online at www.cityofelgin.org/1804/Rentals or email Jan Monell at Monell_j@cityofelgin.org.                                       Rental Rates: Non-Profit: $65/hr. Res.: $70/hr. NR: $80/hr.

Please check the Elgin Parks and Recreation Brochure for current program offerings.

Nature Programs

Monthly Thursday Drop-Ins

Visit us each month for a themed nature discovery day. A naturalist guided sensory walk outdoor followed by hands-on activities for children to play with in the center’s Discovery room.

A parent or guardian must accompany their child for both the walk and Discovery room. 

Fee: Free      Age: 3-8 with adult guardian        

Dates: Dec. 15     Time: 10:00am-1:00pm

Build a Snowflake Contest

Pick-up a snowflake to decorate and enter into a contest to win four daily pool admissions.  The Snowflakes will be hung along our trails for visitors to vote on the best decorated one. The snowflake to receive the most votes receives four daily pool admissions to Adventure Island. 

Pick-up Snowflake: Nov. 28 - Dec. 2 between 10:00am-2:00pm

Return Decorated Snowflake: Dec. 12

Fee: Free

Nature Craft Day

Register, stop in and make a nature craft. Each month will have a different theme. Nature craft day meets at Hawthorne Hill Nature Center.

Fee: $5 Res, $8 Non-Res     Age: 4-8 years     Time: 11:00am-2:00pm

January 5, 2023Bird Feeder
February 2, 2023Snowflake
March 2, 2023Owl
April 6, 2023Earth Day

Winter Storybook Craft and Hike

We will be having a storybook, hike and craft about the book “The Mitten” by Jan Brett. Hike the trails, listen to the book and then enjoy a light snack and a craft. Please dress for the weather.

Fee: $5 Res, $8 Non-Res      Age: 4-8 with adult        

Dates: Feb. 20, 2023    Time: 11:00am-1:00pm

Movie Night at the Nature Center

Kids join us for a movie night at the Nature Center. We will have a pizza dinner, watch the movie “A Bugs Life” and make a craft. Weather permitting we will take a hike outdoors. Dress to be comfortable indoors and outdoors. This is a class without parents.

Fee: $18 Res, $20 Non-Res      Age: 6-12 years       

Dates: Mar. 31, 2023    Time: 6:00pm-9:00pm