PEORIA HEIGHTS, Ill. (WMBD) — Forest Park Nature Center sits in the foliage of Peoria Heights.

“Forest Park Nature Center is a 540-acre nature preserve and it’s right here in Peoria Heights. We have seven miles of hiking trails that range in gentle level trails to very steep, more backwoods single track type trails,” said Mike Miller, Supervisor of Environmental Services with the Peoria Park District.

The nature preserve is a destination for walkers, hikers, and explorers of all ages.

“It’s become part of people’s kind of outdoor ritual, you know. A place to get out, you can hike the trails here, even if the parking lot is full, as soon as you get on the trails, it’s seems like you have the park to yourself,” said Miller.

For many, it’s an escape and a way to enjoy the outdoors.

“There’s always something in bloom out in the woods, there’s always a new species of birds to identify,” said Miller.

Miller says Forest Park Nature Center is ideal for those looking to connect with nature.

“It’s a good place to come and kind of explore that you don’t have to feel intimidated by,” said Miller.

Forest Park Nature Center is open daily from dawn to dusk and pets are not allowed. The center is free and donations are welcome.

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