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A place where you can be with nature
eye-to-eye!

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wdclogoGlobal focus. Intimate setting.
The Wildlife Discovery Center (WDC) is a living natural history museum and one of the region’s unique hidden gems. It is a place of learning and wonder, where people of all ages can explore the important concepts of wildlife conservation and environmental stewardship in an intimate setting. The learning journey brings visitors face-to-face with a variety of reptiles, amphibians, birds and mammals. There are also interpretive trails and nature-based programs for all to enjoy.

Mission
To motivate all generations to come to know, respect and protect our challenged and often endangered ecosystems with a focus on their wildlife.

Something for Everyone
We offer programs that spark a lifetime curiosity about nature, including:

  • Adult programs
  • College student internships
  • Graduate level research opportunities
  • Pre-school classes
  • After school programming
  • School field trips
  • Scout and youth group programs
  • Animal keeper talks and feeding demonstrations
  • Library programs
  • Special events
  • Group tours
  • Traveling wildlife exhibits
  • Public outreach programs
  • Summer camps
  • Volunteer opportunities
  • Outdoor interpretive trail
  • Nature-based birthday parties
  • Public viewing of live animal exhibits

Conservation
The WDC is working on a number of conservation and research efforts to save several species. These include:

  • Blandings Turtle, Emydoidea blandingii
  • Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake, Crotalus adamanteus
  • Eastern Garter Snake, Thamnophis sirtalis
  • Eastern Indigo Snake, Drymarchon couperi
  • Ridgenosed Rattlesnake, Crotalus willardi
  • Siamese Crocodile, Crocodylus siamensis
  • Western Fox Snake, Elaphe vulpine

To support these conservation efforts, the WDC is working in partnership with the following organizations:

 



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"Your facility is one of the best I have seen in the world! Looking forward to being back." 

-Dr. Bryan Grieg Fry

One of the world's foremost authorities on venom research, Associate Professor, School of Biological Sciences, University of Queensland, Australia, featured on National Geographic.

VISITOR HOURS

Indoor Exhibits
Tuesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday
10:00 am – 4:00 pm
(Closed on major holidays, and October 11-12)

Outdoor Exhibits
9:00 am - 4:00 pm

Admission to the WDC is FREE. Please NOTE, Free Admission is only for individuals and related families of 8 or less. Larger groups (schools, organizations, Scouts, tours, etc.) must set up a program prior to arrival and pay a fee that will be quoted by the WDC Curator. E-mail Rob Carmichael to set up your program.

SPECIAL NOTE: During spring and fall, the WDC may be closed in the morning as we accommodate visiting school groups.

Visitor donations are encouraged and appreciated, and support the high-quality care we give our animals.


GETTING HERE

The WDC is located at historic Elawa Farm along the 670-acre Middlefork Savanna, a globally threatened ecosystem in Lake Forest, Illinois.

1401 Middlefork Drive
Lake Forest, IL 60045

LINK TO MAPQUEST


STAFF

Rob Carmichael
  Curator
  carmichr@cityoflakeforest.com
Sandra Kooper
  Marketing Coordinator
  
koopers@cityoflakeforest.com
              __________

Ashley Anderson
  Animal Keeper/Facilitator/
  Adventure Camp Director
Steve Ballen
  Volunteer
Zach Bulich
  Animal Keeper
Luke Bowman
  Wildlife Educator/Facilitator/
  Keeper​​
Stephanie Cappiello
  Animal Keeper
Kori Cottileer
  Wildlife Educator/Facilitator/
  Keeper/Wildlife Camp Director
Lindsey Giangorgi
  Summer College Volunteer
Royce Gregory
  Volunteer
Patrick Hanes
 
Animal Keeper
Adeline Robinson
  Wildlife Educator/Facilitator/
  Keeper
Julie Sakici
  Wildlife Educator/Facilitator
Maggie Solum
  
Wildlife Educator/Facilitator/
 
Keeper

ADVISORY COMMITTEE

Steve Ballen
Liza Ballen
Jim Bauer
Robin Colburn
Anneliese Crawford
Maxwell Gregory
Royce Gregory
Barry Hollingsworth
Lisa Nemacheck
Lynn Westley


 CLICK to stay Connected to the Wildlife Discovery Center.

THE CITY OF LAKE FOREST
220 E. Deerpath, Lake Forest, IL 60045
(847) 234-2600

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