Oak-hickory forests, tall grass prairie, oak savanna and natural wetlands are an oasis for native plants and animals at this 97-acre preserve of the Park District of Highland Park. Heller has been under public stewardship since 1977 where careful resource management, including restoration and controlled burns, provides a taste of an authentic native landscape. Visitors can enjoy a picnic in our woodlands, visit our nature exhibit, participate in a program, or rent cross-country skis and explore our three miles of trails. At Heller, every season is suitable to enjoy the outdoors.
Three miles of marked trails (view our trail map) offer close contact with nature and a little bit of solitude amidst the hustle and bustle of Chicago’s northern suburbs.
Be sure to stop by the Interpretive Center during business hours to check out the Nature Exhibit! Through interactive displays, you'll learn about the three main biological communities found at Heller Nature Center (Oak-Hickory Woodlands, Northern Flatwoods and Prairie). Featured in the exhibit is a bird watching station where visitors are able to observe, identify and even draw the birds they see, and a 450-gallon aquarium that showcases native fish and aquatic plants.