September 21st, 2017 by

In the northwest corner of Chicago, Schaumburg’s locals are near a surprising amount of wild parks, trails, lakes, and other outdoor attractions. Take advantage of the fall weather by exploring these five awesome places.

Set on the grounds of the Schaumburg Municipal Complex, this garden of impressive sculptures combines pleasant park nature with abstract and industrial artistic motifs. From Stonehenge-like column arrangements to colorful, dynamic shapes and a giant woman’s face and arm poking up from the ground, there are photo-worthy landmarks all around the park. It’s also full of nice views, with lush grass and flowers around the carved streams and brick-lined pond.

Everyone, from birdwatchers to botanists and hikers, visits this huge, protected forest. Consisting mostly of rolling forests, the land is divided by ravines that drain into the wetlands, which are crucial to the local wildlife. There’s also the more open preserve for higher and faster traffic, Deer Grove East, which is perfect for running, jogging, cycling, and in the winter, cross-country skiing. There are four paved trails and ten unpaved trails, most of which loop on each other.

If you’re all about open water, the 953-acre Mallard Lake Preserve is the best place to explore. Quiet and clean, the lake accepts all non-gasoline powered watercraft, from paddle boats to canoes and kayaks. The lake itself is 85 acres, and there’s also the DuPage River and the 9-acre Cloverdale Pond if you’d like to cast from land. Expect to reel in flathead and channel catfish, northern pike, bluegill, muskie, and crappie. For a big group, consider renting out the 50-person picnic shelter and having a party. Mallard Lake allows dogs, but only on leashes 10 feet or shorter.

Set just south of Park St. Clare, this 135-acre refuge is filled with streams, fields, forests, handicapped-accessible trails, and a fully operational, authentic farm from the 1880s. Spring Valley has a lot of history mixed in with its beauty, and is a source of inspiration for many local artists. Families should visit Bison’s Bluff, a creative children’s playground that uses unique equipment and markings to encourage a more natural kind of play, similar to how children would have played in the forest before the days of plastic and metal.

This sporty, 72-acre park has fields for softball and soccer, plus two basketball courts lit up for night play. Eight of the soccer fields are durable, synthetic turf while two are natural grass. Skaters will get a kick out of the 13,000-square-foot concrete park with staircases, grinding walls, benches, and a large bowl. Take note, however, that the skate park is unsupervised and not lit for nighttime use.

We hope you find one or more of these outdoor attractions perfect for your days out with family, friends, dates, and more. Each one has something different that’s worth checking out, and they often host special Schaumburg events, workshops, and camps. Thanks to these and other places, there’s always a new reason to go outside.

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