Looking for a great way to have fun without traveling too far from home? This fall is the perfect time to take your families to where the wild things – or at least where the bison – are! In honor of National Bison Day, we’re bringing you eye-opening ways to explore these animals right here in DuPage!
Did you know that Brookfield Zoo has its very own bison exhibit? Bison are the largest North American land animal. Male bison can stand as tall as six feet at the shoulder and weigh anywhere between 1,000-2,000 pounds. Many North Americans refer to bison as buffalo – but, few know that they are actually two different animals, even though they come from the same family “Bovidae.” Marvel at these fun facts and learn more about these fascinating creatures at the Brookfield Zoo.
Another location for families and wildlife enthusiast to observe bison is at Fermilab Natural Areas. The first herd of bison was established in 1969 and the current herd of 18 bison have recently been confirmed, through scientific genetic testing, as 100% pure bred bison. Watch these beautiful creatures roam the 1,100 acres of reconstructed tall-grass prairie and experience the history of Midwestern prairie. During your visit you will also learn about Fermi’s ecological efforts by hiking the Interpretive Prairie Trail and visiting the Lederman Science Center.
Now is the perfect time to visit the bison and put in a little outdoor exercise before the weather gets cold. DuPage recently named the state’s healthiest county, offers walking, jogging and biking paths along the Illinois Prairie Path. This 61-mile excursion will expose you to various forest preserves and wetlands – all of which are vital for sustaining Illinois’ well-regarded green environment. Put your endurance to the test with the DuPage County Trail System, which features 450 miles of Insta-worthy nature trails.
You can even treat yourself by leisurely passing through some quaint neighborhoods during your stay. The trail systems are located in close proximity to the Metra lines, so you have direct access to shopping and dining areas in Elmhurst, Glen Ellyn, Lombard, and Villa Park. Check out local nature attractions like the historic Cantigny Park, Lilacia Park, and the Great Western Trail. If you like art, then you should definitely view all of the unique artifacts at the Elmhurst Art Museum, along with the Villa Park and Warrenville Historic Museums.
But don’t tour DuPage on an empty stomach! Balance your exercise with some healthy recipes from Marcel’s Culinary Experience, topped off with a sip of wine from Lynfred Winery, or beer from Two Brothers Taproom. The journey doesn’t stop there – the Metra can take you downtown!
Whatever you choose to do, remember that it’s super easy to book a stay in DuPage. In case you don’t feel like driving, the Chicago Amtrak can get you here from St. Louis or Carbondale in no time. Be like the bison – embrace the wild outdoors and discover another adventure just 20 miles west of Chicago!