Hours & Location
William F. Sherman, Jr.
September 1 - May 31
|Holiday Closings 2017
1/1, 2/20, 4/14-4/16, 5/29, 7/3-7/4, 9/4, 11/23-11/25, 12/24-12/26, 12/31
The Interpretive Center is your starting off point for your exploration of Lyman Woods. Discover native landscaping, a butterfly garden, and rain gardens outside the building. Don't forget to look up and spot native prairie plants growing on the roof! Inside the William F. Sherman, Jr. Interpretive Center you will find changing exhibits and activities, programs, restrooms, drinking fountains, and first aid. Bring a lunch or snack to enjoy at our outdoor picnic area. Feel free to ask questions of our talented naturalist staff about any plants or animals that you see.
The Interpretive Center at Lyman Woods also features an active observation beehive that can be viewed from indoors, along with many interpretive panels explaining the inner workings of a hive. Be sure to stop by the Interpretive Center and watch the bees hard at work!
Lyman Woods does not take in injured wildlife or collect bee swarms. For injured wildlife, please contact Willowbrook Wildlife Center. For bee swarms/removal, please contact the Cook-DuPage Beekeepers Association.
Please note: In accordance with the Illinois Nature Preserve Commission there are no dogs (excluding service dogs), bikes, or cross-country skis allowed in Lyman Woods. Thank you for your cooperation.
Lyman Woods is located east of Highland Avenue between Good Samaritan Hospital on the south and 31st Street on the north. Parking is available at the William F. Sherman, Jr. Interpretive Center at 901 31st Street.
NEW! Add on the optional Friday session to any two-day session to extend the learning fun. No class on school holidays.
Nurture your little sprout! Join Lyman Woods' new discovery-based NaturePlay School! Your child will enjoy lessons in creative arts, math, science and language, while also developing their motor skills, creativity, and naturalist intelligence. Outdoor lessons and exploration promote learning beyond the boundaries of classroom walls!
|1/9-3/22||M & W||9-11 am||$247|
|1/10-3/23||TU & TH||9-11 am||$272|
|1/10-3/23||TU & TH||12:15-2:15 pm||$272|
Check out an Adventure Pack filled with gear to help you explore Lyman Woods! Choose from identification guides, bug boxes, magnifiers, and other tools and activities for your family or group to use free of charge. Check out your pack during Interpretive Center hours with a valid driver's license.
For a list of opportunities CLICK HERE
Become a beekeeper, learn about worm bins or spend a night camping in Lyman Woods!. The park district offers a range of nature themed programs for all ages throughout the year.
Bring your youth group to Lyman Woods for an unforgettable outdoor adventure! Whether your group wants to identify trees, feed the birds, or explore the woods, our knowledgeable instructors will lead the way. Our scout and youth group programs are designed to meet badge requirements - ask us for a badge breakdown for details.
To arrange your next group outing, call us at (630) 963-9388
|Program Length||Fee per participant (min 6)|
Programs for Boys or Girls
|Kindergarten-Grade 3 (1 hour)||Grades 4+ (2 hrs)||All Grades (1.5hrs)|
|Beekeeping I||Beekeeping II
Maps & Compasses
|Nature at Night|
Programs for Boys
|Kindergarten-Grade 1 (1 hr)||Grade 2-3 (1.5 hrs)||3rd Grade (1.5 hrs)
||Grades 4-5 (2 hrs)|
|Nature Discovery Hike||Birds
Native American Life
|Water and Soil Conservation
Sharing Your World with Wildlife
|Kindergarten-Grade 1 (1 hr)||Grade 2-3 (1.5 hrs)||Grades 4-5 (2 hrs)||Grades 6-8 (2 hrs)
|Nature Discovery Hike||Exploring Bugs
Animal Homes & Hideaways
Improve cooperation, develop better communication skills and practice problem-solving and conflict-resolution skills during 2-hour, half-day or full-day team building workshops. Participants will leave with a sense of teamwork and accomplishment and an understanding of how to transfer new found or fine-tuned skills back to their work, school or personal lives. teambuilding workshops are available all year and are conducted outdoors, rain or shine.
Cooperative Games - participants work together to solve fun physical and mental challenges.
Wilderness Skills - This workshop begins with fun lessons to learn a new wilderness skill, groups then put their knowledge and teamwork to the test with wilderness skills challenges.
Combination Workshop - Can't decide? Try both. This full day workshop includes cooperative games in the morning and wilderness skills in the afternoon.
Wild Adventure - This six hour workshop begins with wilderness skills lessons to prepare the group to navigate a wilderness skills adventure course. After completing the course participants put their teamwork to the test in a final group challange.
To provide the best experience for all participants group sizes are limited to 15 or fewer depending on the option selected. For more information on team building opportunities at Lyman Woods, please contact the Interpretive Center at 630.963.9388.
Teambuilding Program Fees
|Cooperative Games||Wilderness Skills||Combination Workshop||Wild Adventure|
|2 hours||$150 per group||3 hours||$230 per group||6 hours||$390 per group||6 hours||$430 per group|
|3 hours||$180 per group|
Get ready for an adventurous field trip to Lyman Woods! Hands-on investigations of the woods, wetlands and prairie complement lessons on science and nature concepts. Prepare to be outdoors and get your hands (and feet) dirty! Parents with small children- feel free to visit the interpretive center, check out a TIMBER pack, or spend some nature play time in the Wild Woods with your younger children during the program. Bring lunch to enjoy with your whole family in our picnic area before or after the program! Check our Seasonal program guide for even more homeschool opportunities.
Weather Watch - Learn what causes our daily and seasonal weather changes. Investigate the unique conditions of the day using scientific tools as we hike through the woods.
Classy Critters - Learn the basics of identifying and classifying animals through touchable biofacts and hands-on activities.
Fascinating Forests - Hike through Lyman Woods to explore a forest ecosystem and search for the animals that reside in the woods. Examine trees and find out what we can do to conserve the forest.
Wetland Wonders - Hike to the wetlands in search of turtles, frogs, and muskrats.(Available during spring, summer & fall).
Incredible Insects - Trek through the woods and prairie to capture, observe, and release the buggy creatures we can find. (Available during spring, summer & fall).
Nature at Night (Family Program) - Walk the trails listening for the sounds of the forest at night and learn about the amazing nocturnal animals that live in Lyman Woods!
Sow a Seed - Discover the changes seeds make on their journey to becoming plants like huge oak trees!(Available during spring, summer & fall).
Please call our Naturalist at (630) 963-9388 for more information or to schedule a program.
Program Length: 90 minutes
Fee: $5.50 per child
Minimum Group Size: 7
Minimum Age: 6
Spend your summer outside on an adventure to discover nature! Led by a team of naturalists, instructors and volunteers, campers will spend time outdoors playing, exploring and making new friends in our beautiful forest preserve. Camps include daily snacks and a t-shirt for each session.
School Holiday Camps
Lyman Woods also holds Winter Break Camp and Spring Break Camp, as well as Wild Day Off on school holidays. Check out seasonal guides for more information on these exciting programs!
Host a green event in our eco-friendly multipurpose room at the Interpretive Center. The room is now available for rental on weekdays, evenings and Sunday mornings. Please call the Interpretive Center for more details at 630.963.9388.
Weekday: $30 per hour.
Weekends & Evenings (2 hr min): $40 per hour
Are you a real party animal? Add an exciting twist to the traditional birthday party and celebrate your birthday at Lyman Woods! Your wild party includes outdoor adventures led by a naturalist, as well as time for opening gifts and eating cake in the Interpretive Center or outdoors in the picnic area.
Fee: $115/party (up to 10 children) $5/each additional child
Add on Campfire Fun! Extend your party with a 30-minute campfire program, complete with s'mores (additional fee of $40 applies).
Call the Interpretive Center at (630) 963-9388 to book your wild party!
Parties must be booked at least 2 weeks in advance.
Lyman Woods is home to an educational bee apiary and offers a range of beekeeping courses. Honey from Lyman Woods apiary will be available for sale in the fall on a first come first served basis. As well as an educational resource, honey bees are also an essential part of food production - bees are responsible for pollinating about one-third of our food that sustains us.
Downers Grove Park District thanks Cook-DuPage Beekeepers Association for funding two scholarships for the beekeeping camp at Lyman Woods this summer!
Lyman Woods does not collect bee swarms. For bee swarms/removal, please contact the Cook-DuPage Beekeepers Association.
UPDATE: SOLD OUT! The next honey harvest will be in the summer of 2017.
Honey harvested from our apiary is sold at the William F. Sherman, Jr. Interpretive Center at Lyman Woods. Honey can be purchased during regular open hours, on a first come, first served basis.
Lyman Woods offers a range of beekeeping classes, group activities and outreach programs - we'll even bring the bees to you! View our beekeeping brochure to see all of the options available.
Designed by Teng & Associates and constructed in partnership with the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County, the William F. Sherman, Jr. Interpretive Center at Lyman Woods is a 2,500 square foot building modeling green building materials and practices.
The northern third of the Lyman Woods preserve was at one time a wooded subdivision of 38 home sites. The Interpretive Center was strategically placed in the footprint of one of the homes to take advantage of existing utilities and a previously disturbed site, minimizing disturbance of the higher quality areas of the preserve. The low-profile building and prairie-planted green roof helps the building blend in with the natural terrain, and the building was oriented to maximize a southern exposure and solar gain. The parking lot and floor plan of the building were minimized to decrease disturbance and the resources needed to build and maintain the facility.
Materials include recycled exterior wall panels made by James Hardie(C). The building is framed with recycled steel supports and joists, and the floors are made of recycled concrete or low-VOC tiles made with recycled content. All paint in no-VOC paint and furniture used in the building is re-purposed from other offices, or made of recycled or salvaged materials.
Lighting throughout the building is energy efficient, with fluorescent or LED fixtures, and the heating and cooling systems are zoned and programmable so that only occupied spaces are heated or cooled. Each room except the restrooms have operable windows to provide natural light as well as natural ventilation. The toilets and sinks are equipped with motion sensors and water-saving fixtures to conserve water.
Perhaps the most visually striking feature of the Interpretive Center is the rooftop prairie. The green roof provides structural protection from winds, hail and UV radiation, improves insulating value, helps improve air quality, and reduces storm water run-off. Any rain that is not absorbed by the plants on the roof is collected in rain barrels on the front of the building and used for tasks like watering plants.
The four-layer green roof system includes (from the bottom-up): a waterproof roof cap made of recycled tires, a drainage mat that directs all water not absorbed by the soil or plants to the downspouts that lead to the rain barrels, a root reinforcement layer, and a 5-inch layer of lightweight and porous soil. The native plants selected for the green roof are naturally found on hilltop prairies, so they thrive in hot, dry environments and can adapt to grow in a thin layer of soil.
From Serviceberry to Sneezeweed, the native plants used in landscaping around the Interpretive Center provide habitat and food for wildlife and blend with the native plants throughout the preserve. Native plants, once established, require minimal maintenance and watering, and attract native wildlife that depend on the plants for food and shelter. The butterfly garden, certified as a Conservation at Home site by The Conservation Foundation, is planted with nectar producing flowering plants and butterfly host plants, including several species of milkweed. The garden attracts countless butterflies, hummingbirds, bees, moths and other beneficial insects. Demonstration gardens around the center exhibit native plants and shrubs that homeowners can use in their own yards.
Rain gardens, designed to hold water until it percolates into the ground, are planted with water-loving sedges, reeds, buttonbush, gentians and milkweed. Storm water that falls on the parking lot and sidewalks near the Interpretive Center drains to the rain gardens. Rain gardens help filter polluted water, decrease run-off and erosion, and recharge the water table.
A green building is not truly green without a green housekeeping program. A nature center can be a muddy place, so floors and surfaces that can be easily cleaned without harsh chemicals were chosen for the Interpretive Center. Environmentally sensitive cleaners and soaps that are non-toxic, biodegradable and petroleum-free are used in the Interpretive Center. All paper and plastic products purchased for use at the Interpretive Center are made of recycled materials and are reused or recycled. In addition to reusing and recycling, the Interpretive Center has an outdoor compost area for landscaping waste and an indoor vermicomposter for kitchen waste. A green housekeeping program helps ensure the health of our planet as well as the health of our visitors and program participants.