St. Charles Park District celebrates Earth with Nature Play on Earth Day event

St. Charles Park District will host Nature Play on Earth Day in celebration of the planet from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, April 20, at Hickory Knolls Discovery Center.

What better way to celebrate the planet and its many wonders than with the Nature Play on Earth Day event taking place Saturday, April 20, at Hickory Knolls Discovery Center?

Those interested in this free all-ages offering can stop by from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. to take part in several activities that draw attention to the importance of Earth and our collective role in protecting and preserving its beauty and resources.

Among the activities will be hands-on projects such as crafts made from recycled materials as well as opportunities to meet the center’s ambassador animals. These include snakes, turtles and a resident rabbit. The center’s exhibits are also home to creatures like the red-kneed tarantula.

Families can also get outside and explore the center’s grounds, which include several natural habitats. More than three miles of trails take trekkers through a number of diverse areas, including savannas, wetlands, open woodlands and prairies.

Along the way, visitors can enjoy a story walk, which starts on the trail located across the road and west of the garden plots. The tale, as told by Harley the Hawk and Greta the Grasshopper, follows the history of Hickory Knolls. Geared to children, the story takes place over a journey less than a mile in length. Participants will learn how glaciers formed the landscapes that remain today and discover more about the various wildlife that thrives in the space.

Adventurers of all ages can also spend their time at the center playing in the Hickory Hideout nature play area.

Designed to initiate fun and unstructured experiences, the Hickory Hideout allows kids to search for critters, dig to discover buried treasure and engage in all sorts of imaginative play. Self-guided nature play has been shown to positively impact the mental and physical health of children.

“For the Earth Day event, we will have extra activities in our play area to help facilitate hands-on play,” said Emily Shanahan, nature programs supervisor for the St. Charles Park District.

To learn more about Hickory Knolls Discovery Center, visit