Sunday, July 29, 2018

Wandering Through Nature at Lake Katherine Nature Center and Botanic Gardens

Wandering Through Nature at Lake Katherine Nature Center and Botanic Gardens

Lake Katherine Nature Center and Botanic Gardens in Palos Heights, Illinois provided us with a lovely nature escape last week. The landscape at Lake Katherine offers several different nature experiences to the delight of visitors. The setting with a lake, waterfalls and variety of brilliant blooms creates a lovely spot for a variety of functions and some visitors were in fact scoping it out while we were there.


Waterfall cascading at Lake Katherine in Palos Heights, IL
Waterfall magic
Before embarking on a hike around the lake, we visited the learning garden which had plenty to look at with gardening season in full swing.

Learning garden at Lake Katherine
The learning garden is full of growing produce at various stages this time of year.
The learning garden is adjacent to the prairie which was abuzz with butterflies!

Monarch butterfly resting in the prairie at Lake Katherine.
Monarch resting in the prairie.

Next, we headed towards the waterfall where I discovered this alcove.

Lovely little hidden alcove with plenty of greenery and a floor carpeted with leaves at Lake Katherine in Palos Heights, IL
Peaceful!
Who doesn't love a waterfall?

There were more trails in this area that we would like to explore. After pondering in the peaceful alcove, we climbed down closer to the waterfall. The waterfall is man-made but stunning nonetheless.

A man made waterfall at Lake Katherine provides a scenic backdrop

We took a peek at the lake and spotted ducks taking a nap. Other families were scoping out the area, I think looking for spots for a function.

Napping ducks at the lake front at Lake Katherine.
Napping ducks at the lake front.

There is a butterfly garden as well. The funny thing -- we saw quite a few butterflies throughout the preserve but not one at the garden!

Butterfly garden at Lake Katherine

Next, we walked in a more forested area which had views of the lake as well as the Calumet Sag Channel. There are some paths that will take you closer than the main path.

Butterfly garden at Lake Katherine
Lily pads spreading across Lake Katherine
The school house arch at the Children's Forest is the salvaged remains of Palos School which was constructed in 1941 and demolished in 1989. Cool piece!

School House Arch at Lake Katherine in Palos Heights, IL
School House Arch

As we rounded about the lake, we discovered an egret!

An egret in the cattails and reeds at Lake Katherine

Lake Katherine Nature Center and Botanic Gardens is a natural treasure with a variety of nature experiences. The preserve is a wonderful place to enjoy an afternoon of wandering through nature and escaping everyday life for just a little bit.


To Know:

  • Lake Katherine is on the Cal-Sag Trail which will eventually be a 26-mile bike trail connecting the Chicago Southland from Indiana to Lemont. Sections of the trail are already open with some under construction.
  • The Nature Center is closed on Sundays but there is still a lot to do.
  • Admission is free.
  • Dogs are permitted.
  • There was a story walk designed for younger children during our visit.
  • Kayaking is available during certain times; see schedule.
Lake Katherine Nature Center and Botanic Gardens Palos Heights, IL




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