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Plan your visit



What You Can Do at the WDC
Visitors of all ages enjoy the Wildlife Discovery Center, where conservation and environmental awareness come alive. The WDC also adheres to the Next Generation Science Standards.  In addition to visiting our resident animals, you can enjoy a hike and nature observation on the adjacent Middlefork Trail, or visit the Elawa Farm Park where you and your family can enjoy a picnic in the pavilion, play soccer in the field, or have fun in the huge playground.

 “The WDC has an unbelievable animal collection, including one of the finest venomous reptile exhibits in the region. In my opinion, it’s a first-class facility and a real asset to the community.” 
-Dr. Brady Barr, National Geographic

WDC-Animals_at_the_WDC_flipThe WDC is home to approximately 85 species of animals. During regular visiting hours, you can talk with our animal keepers and meet some of our amazing animals. 

NOTE: We will be adding an Animal Profile page to each animal listed below so you can learn about their natural habitats, diets, behaviors, and other fun facts. Plan to visit this page often as more Animal Profiles are added. When an animal's name is listed in BLUE, it has a profile.

Main Room:
Rhinoceros Iguana, Cyclura cornuta
Cuvier’s Dwarf Caiman, Paleosuchus palpebrosus
Asian Water Monitor, Varanus salvator
Burmese Python, Python bivittatus
Blue-tongued Skink, Tiliqua scincoides intermedia
Leaf-tailed Gecko, Uroplatus henkeli
Black Throated MonitorVaranus albigularis ionidesi
American Toad, Bufo americanus
Gray Tree Frog, Hyla versicolor
Tiger Salamander, Ambystoma tigrinum
Hellbender, Cryptobranchus alleganiensis
Western Fox Snake, Pantherophis vulpinus
Eastern Coachwhip, Masticophis flagellum flagellum
Speckled Kingsnake, Lampropeltis getula holbrooki
BullsnakePituophis catenifer sayi
Green Tree PythonMorelia viridis
Collard Lizards, Crotaphytus collaris
American Alligator, Alligator mississippiensis
Blandings Turtle, Emydoidea blandingii
Virginia Opossum, Didelphis virginiana


North Room:
Timber Rattlesnake, Crotalus horridus
Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake, Crotalus adamanteus
Eastern Massasauga, Sistrurus catenatus
CottonmouthAgkistrodon piscivorus 
Gila Monster, Heloderma suspectum
Komodo Dragon, Varanus komodoensis
Black Throated Monitor, Varanus albigularis ionidesi
Utila Island Iguanas, Ctenosaura bakeri
Philippine SailfinDragon, Hydrosaurus pustulatus
Red Footed Tortoise, Chelonoidis carbonaria
Gopher Tortoise, Gopherus polyphemus
Alligator Snapping Turtle, Macrochelys temminckii
Giant Argentine Tegu, Tupinambis merianae
Ornate Box Turtle, Terrapene ornata ornata
Eastern Box Turtle, Terrapene carolina carolina
Eastern Screech Owl, Megascops asio
Three-banded Armadillo, Tolypeutes tricinctus
Morelet's CrocodileCrocodylus moreletii
Red-tailed Hawk, Buteo jamaicensis
Great Horned Owl, Bubo virginianus
Bald Eagle, Haliaeetus leucocephalus
Bobcat, Lynx rufus
Painted Turtle, Chrysemys picta
Wood Turtle, Glyptemys insculpta
Off Display Education Animals:
Angolan PythonPython anchietae
Eastern Indigo SnakeDrymarchon couperi
Indian PythonPython molurus molurus
Linnaeus’s Two-toed Sloth, Choloepus didactylus
Broad-snouted caiman, Caiman latirostris
Eastern Milksnake, Lampropeltis Triangulum
Indian Python, Python molurus molurus
Saltwater Crocodile, Crocodylus porosus
West African Dwarf Crocodile, Osteolaemus tetraspis
Some of the images used on these animal profiles were supplied by Dr. Steve Barten, Carol Freeman or Darryl Klein. Our thanks to these photographers.



Indoor Exhibits
Tuesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday
10:00 am – 4:00 pm

(Closed on major holidays)

Outdoor Exhibits

Open Daily

9:00 am - 4:00 pm

SPECIAL NOTE: The WDC indoor exhibits may be closed periodically as we accommodate visiting school groups.  Outdoor exhibits will still be open.


Field Trip/Event Closure Updates:

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 our Program Coordinator to set up your program. 

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


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



WDC-Store-Box_Turtle_190wIf you’re looking for a special gift for your “wild one,” check out the fabulous plush animals available for purchase at the WDC, including: alligators, bobcats, crocodiles, iguanas, eagles, owls, armadillos, sloths, snakes and turtles.


Rob Carmichael, Curator


 CLICK to stay Connected to the Wildlife Discovery Center.


220 E. Deerpath, Lake Forest, IL 60045
(847) 234-2600
Non-Emergency Police:  (847) 234-2601

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