Wildwood Nature Center

Wildwood Nature Center

General Information

Stop in at the Wildwood Nature Center during our open hours to visit with the animals, and learn and play with nature in our Nature Nook.

From dawn to dusk, hike the trails outside at Wildwood to meander down the woodland walk, through the prairie paths, and around the pond. Look for local wildlife, native trees, flowers, and plants, and enjoy the surrounding beauty.

Explore Wildwood's grounds with a self-guided walk through our five-acre natural oasis and enjoy our two ponds, restored native prairie, and woodland walk.

Register for a class or a workshop, or simply enjoy the pond and prairie during each seasonal change. It’s all here for you to enjoy!

Mission Statement

To provide environmental education, outreach programs and natural experiences for people of all ages; strive to increase biodiversity, stewardship and awareness of the natural world; and mentor and lead individuals to respect and appreciate local wildlife and the environment.


531 Forestview Ave.
Park Ridge, Illinois




Tues-Thurs: 10:00am-6:00pm
Sat: 10:00am-4:00pm

Inside Wildwood Nature Center

Animal Room Exhibit

Our animal exhibit room is home to over 35 animals!

Including: Ball Python Snakes, Corn Snake, Rabbit, Guinea Pig, Prairie Dogs, Soft Shelled Turtles, Aquatic Turtles, Box Turtles, Alligator Snapping Turtle, Tiger Salamander, Ferret, Bullfrog, and an American Toad.

Nature Nook

Visit the Nature Nook, a free, interactive, educational area complete with books, puzzles, puppets, games, and activities. Each month explores a different nature topic!

Naturalist Staff

Wildwood's staff offices are inside the Nature Center. Feel free to ask questions of our talented, knowledgeable naturalist staff about any plants or animals that you see.

Outside Wildwood

Wildwood has one and a half acres of restored native prairie. Our tallgrass prairie blooms throughout the summer with a wide variety of native plants.

Since the prairie began in 2001, we have documented 88 different native prairie plants, a flock of migrating Monarch butterflies, Ruby-throated hummingbirds, American Toads, a Meadow Vole, and a decrease in the overpopulated Canadian Goose.

The Wildwood Prairie has received numerous awards and certificates including:

  • 2001 Conservation Program Award from the Illinois Parks and Recreation Association
  • 2006 Conservation and Native Landscape Award from the United States Environmental Protection Agency and Chicago Wilderness
  • 2006 Silver Landscape Award for Ecological Planting from the Illinois Landscape Contractors Association
  • 2009 Certified by the National Wildlife Federation as an official Wildlife Habitat Site
  • 2010 Certified by the Illinois Audubon Society as a Bird and Butterfly Sanctuary

Wildwood Woodland Walk

This quaint woodland walk is home to an impressive variety of native woodland wildflowers and plants. The woodland was enhanced in 2006 with a woodchip path and wooden signs and expanded in 2009. Visit during February through June, and discover Mayapples, Snow Drops, five different species of Trillium, Jack in the Pulpit, Wild Ginger, Bluebells, Solomon Seal, and more.

Walking Paths

Walking paths surround the Wildwood Nature Center, Woodland Walk, Wildwood Prairie, and Maine Park Ponds. The paths also lead to a wooden fishing deck overlooking one of the ponds, two rock landing areas, and the Sam Biardo Prairie Observation Deck.

Other Features In the Park

  • Informational Signage & Interactive Exhibits
  • Picnic Pavilion
  • Fishing Ponds
  • Campfire Circle (paid reservation required; call Wildwood to schedule your campfire event)
  • Restored Native Prairie
  • Rain Garden
  • Labyrinth
  • Human Sundial
  • Sam Biardo Prairie Observation Deck
  • Fishing Deck and Rock Landing Areas

Party Packages

Looking for a ‘wild’ time? You can find it with a party at Wildwood Nature Center! The perfect location for your child's next birthday celebration.

Our fun nature and animal-inspired parties are a unique way to celebrate your next event both indoors and outdoors. Or, choose a party that is not only fun for your guests but also helps to support Wildwood Nature Center.

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Wildwood Nature Center Entrance

Wildwood Nature Center Entrance

Wildwood - View from Forestview Ave.

Wildwood - View from Forestview Ave.

Animal Room Exhibit

Animal Room Exhibit

Animal Room Exhibit

Animal Room Exhibit

Animal Exploration

Animal Exploration

Donate to Wildwood

Sponsor a Wildwood Animal with our P.A.L.S. (Providing Animals with Loving Sponsors) program!

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