• Hours & Location


    William F. Sherman, Jr.
    Interpretive Center
    Lyman Woods
    901 31st Street
    Downers Grove, IL 60515
    (630) 963-9388



    Check Lyman Woods on Yelp

    Center Hours
    June 1 - August 31
    Monday - Saturday 9:00 am - 4:00 pm
    Sunday 1:00 - 4:00 pm

    September 1 - May 31
    Monday Closed
    Tuesday - Thursday 9:00 am - 4:00 pm
    Friday 9:00 am - 12:00 pm
    Saturday 9:00 am - 4:00 pm
    Sunday 1:00 - 4:00 pm

    Holiday Closings
    1/1, 3/25-3/27, 5/30, 7/3-7/4, 9/5, 11/24-11/26, 12/24-12/25

    Visiting the Nature center

    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.


    How to Find Us

    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.

    NaturePlay School

    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!

    Ages: 4-6yrs

    Date Day Time Fee
    9/7-12/14 M & W 9-11 am $330
    9/6-12/15 TU & TH 9-11 am $330
    9/6-12/15 TU & TH 12:15-2:15 pm $330
    9/9-12/16 F 9-11 am $159
    Register Online

    Build Your Own Adventure Pack

    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.

    Volunteer Opportunities

    Interpretive Center Volunteers: Friendly folks who are enthusiastic about nature are needed to assist in staffing our Interpretive Center. These volunteers greet visitors, answer questions about Lyman Woods, and assist with clerical tasks.

    Hiking Patrol: Love to hike? Want to spend more time outdoors? Hiking Patrol volunteers help maintain our beautiful natural areas by hiking the trails at Lyman Woods and the Belmont Prairie. Volunteers inspect trails, report trail conditions and answer frequently asked questions from fellow hikers.

    Restoration and Gardening Volunteers: Nature enthusiasts are needed to assist in restoration efforts and tend to our vegetable and/or butterfly gardens.

    REAP: (Restore, Educate and Preserve) is a volunteer group dedicated to restoring and protecting the Downers Grove Park District's natural areas. Land management workdays are held on selected Saturdays (see events calendar) from 8:00 - 10:30 am. Volunteers must register at least one week in advance of the scheduled workday. Volunteer workdays can be arranged for organized groups upon request.

    Click HerE for volunteer opportunities, information, or to sign up!

  • seasonal Nature Programs

    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.

    View seasonal nature programs

    Youth Group Programs

    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)
    1 hour $4
    1.5 hours $5.50
    2 hours $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
    Programs for Girls
    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
    Exploration Hike

    Wildflower Adventure
    Animal Homes & Hideaways
    Amazing Trees
    Merit Badges - Our instructors are trained merit badge counselors. Badges we offer include: Forestry, Indian Lore, Geology, Geocaching, Bird Study, Weather, Wilderness Survival, Soil & Water Conservation, Environmental Science, Insect Study, and Astronomy. For more information, pricing, or availability, call us at (630) 963-9388.

    Teambuilding Workshops

    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.

    Homeschool Programs

    Daytime Astronomy - Look to the sky using a telescope, search for the sun and even a daytime moon! Learn about Earth's place in the solar system through fun activities and games.

    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


    Make a nature movie, discover the wildlife that lives in Lyman Woods or help harvest some honey. The park district offers a range of nature themed summer camps for all ages. Full details of 2016 camps are available in the Spring/Summer 2016 Activity guide.

    Wild Child NaturePlay Camp (1-4 years with adult)
    Bring out your child's wild side and meet new friends during our new nature play camp! Our Naturalist will lead you as you explore nature with your children through outdoor activity stations, nature play in the Wild Woods, and nature art projects.

    Nature Adventure Camp (Ages 4-12): Discover all of the fun and adventure of Lyman Woods! Younger campers are introduced to nature discovery and play, while older campers are challenged with conducting experiments, solving mysteries, and overcoming challenges through teamwork. Each day of camp includes the always favorite Wild Woods- a place where campers can build forts, catch bugs and toads, and let their imaginations run wild!

    Trailblazers (Ages 10 - 14): This camp is for kids who are ready for the next level of outdoor adventure! Meet new friends while you learn outdoor and survival skills, test your personal limits and encourage each other during teambuilding challenges.

    Camp Volunteers

    Are you a student looking for volunteer experience? Want to spend your summer break outside? Lyman Woods Camp Volunteers help the camp counselor and campers with games, crafts, hikes and outdoor activities. Volunteers must be at least 14 years old. Contact Anna at afontanetta@dgparks.org for more information.

    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!

    Useful Forms


    2016 Illness and Accident FORM

    2016 Medication Form


    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.

    Rental Fees
    Weekday: $30 per hour.
    Weekends & Evenings (2 hr min): $40 per hour

    Nature Birthday Parties

    nature center birthday partyAre 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.

    Ages 9+

    • Beekeeping (Apr-Sept): Discover what it takes to be a beekeeper! Suit up and learn all about the fascinating honeybee. Take a trip to the bee yard, and observe live honeybees at work.
    • Archery (Apr-Oct): Aim for fun! Learn archery basics and shooting safety, then hit the range for target practice using compound bows.

    Ages 7+

    • Wilderness Skills: Discover what it takes to survive in the wilderness! Explore the wild woods while you challenge your wilderness skills.
    • Orienteering: Put your map skills to the test as you find your way through the forest navigating an orienteering course!
    • Predator & Prey: Examine skulls and pelts as you explore the adaptations that help predators hunt and help prey from becoming dinner!.
    • Gross Out Nature: Explore the not-so-pretty side of nature! We'll explore all that is slimy, stinky and just plain gross.
    • Nature at Night: Check out Lyman Woods after dark! Explore sounds in the night, stars in the sky, and search for signs of nocturnal animals.

    Ages 4+

    • Bug Bonanza (May-Sept): Use butterfly nets, bug jars and magnifiers to go on a bug hunt for the tiniest animals at Lyman Woods.
    • Wildlife Detectives: Grab a magnifier and search the trails for signs of wildlife! Check out biofacts, and identify tracks, scat and animal homes.
    • Bird Brains: Search the tree tops with binoculars to find our feathered friends, and inspect feathers and other bird biofacts.
    • Wild Wetlands (Apr-Sept): Dip into the pond at Lyman Woods to find pond critters! Search for turtles and frogs, and dip for tadpoles, aquatic insects and more!
    • Snowy Tracks (Dec-Mar): Take a wild walk through the woods on snowshoes for winter wonders. If poor trail conditions exist, winter wildlife tracking will be substituted for snowshoeing.

    Ages 3+

    • Nature Play: Hands-on nature play! Investigate and explore outdoor activity stations with guidance from our naturalists. An adult is expected to accompany their child(ren).

    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 Apiary

    nature center - bee keeperLyman 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.

    Honey Sales

    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.

    Become a Beekeeper

    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.

    Beekeeping Brochure

  • An Eco-friendly Building

    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.

    Site Selection

    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.

    Building Materials

    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.

    Energy Saving

    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.

    Green Roof

    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.

    Butterfly Garden

    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 Garden

    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.

    Green Housekeeping

    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.

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