Warmer, sun-shining days are right around the corner for Illinois residents. You may already be planning your first Spring outing to a park or a conservatory. If you live near Oak Park, you’re in for a treat! Managed by the Park District of Oak Park, Mills Park is the perfect destination for anyone to spend some relaxing time outdoors reconnecting with nature. Read on, and you may just find yourself there very soon!

Monarch Waystation

During the season when monarch butterflies are migrating through North America, Mills Park is an excellent location to spot the beautiful insect. To help these creatures migrate, Mills Park has established a Monarch Waystation in conjunction with Monarchwatch.org. The sign at the Waystation says it

“provides mildweeds, nectar sources, and shelter needed to sustain monarch butterflies as they migrate through North America.”

Without the necessary nutrients, monarch butterflies would not be able to successfully breed to create life for future generations. By heading over to the monarch waystation, you might just be lucky enough to see the butterflies as they make their way across the continent.

Mills Park Trees

With more than 21,000 trees throughout the Village and Park District of Oak Park, it’s no surprise that Mills Park would harbor a wide collection of trees. In fact, Oak Park has earned recognition as Illinois’ first (and the nation’s fourth) municipal arboretum. While walking around Mills Park, you may notice signs that encourage people to learn more about the trees. If you have a smartphone and a QR code scanner while onsite, you’ll be able to visit a website with an overhead map of the park. The map displays all the trees around the park with the option to click on a location point and read more about the species of tree. This activity is perfect for families, nature lovers, kids doing school projects, or anyone who is interested in learning more about the trees of Mills Park.

Pleasant Home Foundation

Pleasant Home is a living museum open to the public. According to Trip Advisor and the Pleasant Home website, it is considered one of the most distinguished examples in the nation of  the Prairie School architectural style. The Home offers many educational programs, community events, and festivals and cultural performances all year round. Not only is it a gorgeous, grand mansion, but you’re sure to learn something about Oak Park history. If you’re interested in learning more about architecture and the history of the building, guided tours start at $10 for adults and $7 for children. Self-guided tours are $5 per person regardless of age. There is also an option to enjoy a guided tour followed by private tea with snacks in a grand setting. This fun tour is only available Thursdays to Sundays and is $30 per person. The Home is also available to rent.

These are just a few reasons to visit Mills Park, Oak Park this spring. Those interested in nature and caring for our environment will find much more to discover at Mills Park and the other parks in Oak Park, IL. Oak Park also has a program to bring artwork to the Park District. Chicago suburbanites in all directions should not miss this gem!

Photo by David Wilson under the CC BY 2.0 license