By Eva Larson
Park sign just off the sidewalk at North Park Village Nature center in Chicago on Wednesday, Dec 5, 2012.
Albany Park is filled to the brim with all sorts of culture, art, and entertainment that is appreciated by many of its residents. A somewhat forgotten opportunity for unconventional entertainment in our society is the Chicago Park District.
The North Park Village Nature Center is a branch of the Chicago Park District located in Albany Park. They offer several classes that bring people together through the love of nature. These range from exercise to classes about plants and animals. According to their website, the Nature Center is often described as “a hidden gem in the city.” The 46-acre preserve and education facility is nestled right into the hustling and bustling city amongst the sirens and car horns at 5801 N. Pulaski Rd. As you walk in, it feels like you are in another world.
Intentionally set in its location as the first Nature Center in Chicago, they aim to “provide visitors the opportunity to interact and learn about wildlife and natural resources.” They have programs for children of all ages, families as well as adults. They even have a summer day camp called EcoExplorers that focuses on nature-based games.
Throughout the month of December, the park is offering a free class for younger children where they can learn about owls and how they live. Included in this class is an ‘Owl Prowl’. Geared towards adults, this class both teaches adults about owls and takes them on an evening prowl to see how these birds hunt through the winter.
When the park was purchased by the city in 1911, it was converted into a tuberculosis sanitarium. In 1974 the sanitarium was closed and a public park was opened. The park itself is very extensive. It has senior housing, government buildings, a gymnasium, and of course the nature center.
Next Saturday, December 15, there will be a Winter Solstice Festival from 6-9 pm. There will be live music, crafts, walks along luminary-lit trails, and visitors from Big Run Wolf Ranch. You won’t want to miss it!
The North Park Village Nature Center is open 7 days a week from 10 am – 4 pm (except on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years’ holidays).
This article was written by Eva Larson