Fox Valley Park District

Red Oak Nature Center

2343 S. River St., Batavia, Illinois ● 630-897-1808 ● Directions

Updated Hours: Red Oak Nature Center will be closed on Mondays from Labor Day to Memorial Day. Programs and rentals will still be available on Mondays during this time. 

Nestled on the east bank of the Fox River, the Red Oak Nature Center is surrounded by 40 acres of lush forest and wildlife habitat – an ideal setting for visitors to learn about the great outdoors through direct interaction with nature.

Enhance your hiking experience with a nature exploration bag – free! Click for more info.

Admission to Red Oak Nature Center is FREE. Please note, free admission is only for individuals and related families of 5 or less. Donations of $1 per person are appreciated.

All groups (schools, organizations, Scouts, tours, etc.) planning to visit Red Oak or Lippold Park must notify the Environmental Education Coordinator in advance via e-mail at Programs are available if scheduled at least two weeks in advance and may have a fee associated with them.

Please Note: Lippold Park and the Nature Center indoor exhibits may be closed periodically as we accommodate registered groups.  Outdoor trails and cave will still be open.

Some highlights and features you’ll experience at Red Oak Nature Center:

  • Sense the Seasons: Explore the seasons like a true naturalist. This amazing tour of nature opens worlds of discovery, providing an educational panorama of how the natural world cycles from one season to the next. More than just learning about the cold-to-warm transitions of winter, spring, summer and fall, Sense the Seasons takes you on an interactive journey with real-life sights, sounds and smells.
  • Wildlife Room: The wildlife room is home to many animals that live and thrive in the Fox River area. It features a 500 gallon turtle and fish habitat, along with new habitats for frogs, salamanders, snakes and more. *Please Note: Red Oak is not a wildlife rehabilitation center and does not take in injured or orphaned animals. If you’ve rescued an animal, please call our friends at the Fox Valley Wildlife Center at 630-365-3800.
  • Acorn Classroom: Providing a great educational venue, the Acorn Classroom is home to various programs – including Scouting and Red Oak Nature Center’s Nature Preschool.
  • Maple Classroom: Upon entering Red Oak, you’re encouraged to visit the Maple Classroom, where you can relax for a cinema-like experience and view our animated video about all the cool stuff around Red Oak. Narrated by Parker – our fox mascot – you’ll learn about the history of Red Oak and surrounding areas. Parker takes us on a year-round tour and describes many of the fish, birds, wildlife and flora that inhabit the Fox River and forest around Red Oak. A great educational venue, the Maple Classroom is home to various programs – including Scouting, Birthday Parties, School and other group and family programs.
  • The Cave: Follow the Fox River Trail down to The Cave at the river’s edge, where you can explore the only known cave in the Aurora area.
  • Observation Deck: Step out, take a deep breath and enjoy truly spectacular views. Located directly behind the Nature Center, the Observation Deck sits over the Fox River and is an ideal vantage point for viewing river wildlife, migratory birds and the wooded shorelines and islands.
  • Education Pavilion: The spacious picnic shelter features a limestone fireplace and plenty of tables (sorry, not reservable). The Education Pavilion is also an educational venue for various programs, including Scouting, Birthday Parties, School and other group and family programs.
  • Trails: Six wood-chipped hiking trails and the nationally renowned Fox River Trail wind throughout the woods that border the Fox River. Dogs and bikes are allowed on paved trails only.

View map of Red Oak Nature Center

Red Oak Nature Center News and Updates


FREE admission – $1 per person suggested donation for groups of 5 or more. (Groups must e-mail of call 630-897-1808 to register prior to their visit to Red Oak Nature Center)

Open year-round

Tuesday to Friday: 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Closed on Mondays from Labor Day to Memorial Day. Programs and rentals will still be available on Mondays during this time.

Saturday/Sunday: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Trails open until sunset.

Closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day and Easter.

Summer Camps

Summer Camp is happening!

Red Oak Nature Nature offers a number of nature-themed extended day camps, unique one-day programs and more. Our environment lets children thrive on outside adventures and activities such as canoeing, swimming, hiking, team games and much more.

Camp staff are experienced teachers and/or naturalists who are CPR/First Aid certified.

Red Oak Camp Forms:

Parents – Forms are due BEFORE the start of your child’s camp. They can be mailed or dropped off.

Red Oak Emergency Info Card

Red Oak Camp Handbook 2017

INTERNS WANTED: Red Oak Nature Center is actively seeking interns for the 2018 season. Interested? Contact (630) 897-1808 for more information.


Red Oak Nature Center offers programs for all ages. Learn more about nature programs.

Nature Play Preschool

Nature Play Preschool at Red Oak Nature Center provides 2-, 3- and 4-year-olds an experience that nourishes a preschooler’s developmental needs while inspiring a love of nature.

Children enrolled in Nature Play Preschool learn to make connections through discovery and play, and form the foundation of intellectual, social, physical, and emotional skills necessary for success in school and in life. For more information contact Deedee Buscher at

Learn more

School Programs (Field Study)

TEACHERS, PLEASE NOTE: Booking begin for the 2018-19 school year August 31 for in-district schools and after Labor Day for out-of-district schools. Call 630-897-1808 or email to book now. 

Please note that effective January 1, 2019 all in-district schools will be charged a $1.00 fee per student for all Red Oak programming.

Education Opportunities for Groups

Outdoor Education at Red Oak Nature Center and Lippold Park

Naturalists at Red Oak Nature Center offer outdoor school programs for Pre-K to 8th grade classrooms in the fall, winter and spring. Our outdoor programs encourage students to explore and investigate through hands-on experiences to learn about ecology, animals, habitats, biology, orienteering and more. All programs outlined in this booklet align with CORE and Next Generation Science Standards and can be customized to fit specific curriculum needs.

Naturalist in Your Classroom

Schedule a Red Oak Naturalist to visit your classroom from December through mid-February. Programs are $30 per class and $10 each additional class for all schools. See our school brochure below for a complete listing of classes and opportunities! All programs are currently aligned with CORE and Next Generation Science Standards and can be customized to fit specific curriculum needs.

Click here for the School Programs Booklet

Call 630-897-1808 or email to schedule your next field study program.

“Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.” – Albert Einstein

Scout Opportunities

Girl, Cub and Boy Scouts can earn badges throughout the year at Red Oak Nature Center.

Scout Opportunities

Call 630-897-1808 or email to schedule your next scout group outing.


IDNR Trunk and Hike Bags

Provided by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, these bags contain resources about a variety of nature topics – complete with books, photos, samples and more. Bags are rented to groups free of charge. For more information regarding bag topics, call Red Oak or visit the IDNR web page.

Nature Exploration Bags

Nature Exploration Bags can be borrowed during Red Oak Nature Center hours to help explore the woods. Bags are available for the signs of the season, birds, insects and senses. Free of charge, but a refundable deposit is required. Adult supervision is required.

Birthday Parties

Birthday Parties


View more information about Red Oak Nature Center party themes and accommodations.

For more information or to make a reservation, call 630-897-1808 or e-mail

Download printable Red Oak Nature Center party invitations.

Programs At-A-Glance
  • Outdoor Facilities
  • Ages 0-2
  • Ages 3-5
  • Ages 6-8
  • Ages 9-12
  • Teens
  • Adults
  • Active Adults
  • Leagues
For more information