Little Red Schoolhouse Nature Center opened in 1955, and has educated and delighted generations of families in Cook County. In 2010 a new visitor center with live animals, exhibits and more joined the old school.
At 15,000 acres, the Palos Preserves in southwest Cook County are the largest concentration of preserved land in the Forest Preserves. Thanks to more than three decades of habitat restoration, they also hold some of the highest-quality natural areas in the county. These trails join many popular sites, such as the Little Red Schoolhouse Nature Center, Pulaski Woods, Saganashkee Slough and Maple Lake which is home to a mountain bike staging area that provides access to almost 40 miles of unpaved trails.
The Palos preserves are home to an extensive mixed-use trail system, including the paved Cal-Sag Trail which cross many of these preserve to the south and the paved Centennial Trail/John Husar I&M Canal Trail system to the north. Parking at the Palos Forest Preserve is easy. Cook County Forest Preserve Hours are from sunrise to sunset.