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Sunday, July 18, 2010

Peck Farm Interpretive Center in Geneva

Place: Peck Farm Interpretive Center
Location: 4038 Kaneville Road. Geneva, IL
Type of Place: Natural "retreat" with natural areas, a hands-on activity room, gardens, and a butterfly house.
Secret: The play room inside Peck House is a relaxing, air-conditioned spot to take a break after a hike or bike ride around the area.
Appropriate ages: everyone
Cost: Free! (They gladly accept donations.)

The kids and I have a "butterfly week" every summer, and no butterfly week is complete without a trip to a butterfly house! A butterfly house, by the way, is different from the butterfly gardens that many nature centers have. A butterfly garden is an outdoor area with types of flowers and plants that attract local butterflies. A butterfly house is an enclosed area where non-native butterflies can be set free, In a butterfly house, you get to see a lot of different butterflies that you would never find at a regular nature center or in your backyard.
I know of three butterfly houses near DuPage. One is at the Brookfield Zoo, one is at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Center in Chicago, and one is at the Peck Farm Interpretive Center in Geneva.
The Brookfield zoo one costs a few dollars in addition to the zoo admission fee. The one at Notebaert is included in the price of general admission. But the one at Peck Farm is the only one that is completely free! (They do ask for, but do not require, donations.) So that is the one that we headed to!

The butterfly house is basically a greenhouse brimming with flowers of every color. There's also a stream and a waterfall. Butterflies flit about freely, and visitors can walk around and observe them. (However, you are not allowed to touch them at all! If they land on you, you should either keep still, or gently brush it away.) We liked walking around and seeing how many different butterflies we could see!

I thought it was awesome, but it didn't hold the kids' attention for too long, unfortunately. The kids were given placemats with pictures of butterflies, and for a while Little Bear enjoyed spotting butterflies in the flowers and using the placemat to identify them. Meanwhile, Rafael just sat on a bench and watched us. (It may have been because it was so hot out, and the kids were dying to go play in the sprinkler they had seen just outside the butterfly house.)
After the butterfly house, we headed for the air conditioned Peck House, where there is a nature-themed playroom.

You can look at animal bones, antlers, and pelts... which is what Little Bear and Rafael were doing, until Rafael apparently felt the need to give Little Bear the Heimlech Manuever!

You can read books about nature...

You can play games... (although the games were all missing pieces)

You can be a scientist...

You can play with the giant magnet board...

Or you can just hang out!

Finally, I let the kids play in the sprinkler in one of the flower gardens for a while, although thats not officially one of the attractions at Peck Farm.

This is a really cool place, but I would recommend going on a day that is not so hot and humid. There is a lot of sun and not a lot of shade, and you may end up with complaining kids on your hands! This would be an especially nice place to visit if you live close enough to walk or ride bikes here as a family, or even if its a short drive away. I, personally, loved the butterfly house and the beautiful gardens, but I'm not sure the kids thought  it was worth the forty-five minute car ride.
By the way, Peck Farm participates in the Passport To Adventure program!


Christine said... [Reply to comment]

Wow, great find! I would really like to take the kids there soon.

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