Willowbrook's butterfly garden showcases landscape ideas to attract butterflies and other wildlife species. Interpretive signs introduce necessary elements to provide suitable habitat including food, water and shelter. The area contains tagged plantings that are attractive to butterflies, and a sensory garden that abounds with sights, smells and textures. An educational-display cabin features a butterfly life-cycle puzzle and play area and binoculars for a close-up view of nectaring butterflies and blooming plants.
Willowbrook Wildlife Center presents scheduled educational programs throughout the year to individuals as well as to school, youth, Scout and adult-community groups. Topics include insects, mammal tracking, birds of prey and prehistoric animals. The center also offers programming that meets Illinois' state-curriculum standards to promote wildlife education in the classroom. For more information on programs and associated fees, see Education, or contact Willowbrook at (630) 942-6200.
Willowbrook's nature trail provides an opportunity to learn about wildlife and the prairie, savanna, woodland and wetland habitats of the county. A half-mile outer loop and a shorter inner loop travel through 40 acres of restored habitats complete with interpretive signs and inviting benches.
Wild species native to DuPage County that have permanent disabilities are provided homes along the center's outdoor-exhibit trail. Residents include bald and golden eagles, red-tailed hawks, turkey vultures, owls, red foxes, groundhogs, raccoons and opossums.
Sandhill Crane Exhibit
Willowbrook is home to two state-threatened sandhill cranes. An enclosed wetland bird habitat houses the cranes and serves as a unique educational experience.
The Willowbrook Visitor Center features a close-up view of wild native species. Windows provide a view of the kitchen and nursery where staff and volunteers prepare specialized diets and care for baby animals. A classroom and an indoor discovery area with hands-on, interactive exhibits including games, puzzles and a puppet play station offer exploration for children.
One of Willowbrook's goals is to provide care and treatment to DuPage County's native and migrant wildlife. Every year, qualified and dedicated staff, with the help of trained volunteers, tend to thousands of wild animals brought to the center for care. Only native species are accepted for treatment, but Willowbrook attempts to refer individuals with nonnative animals to appropriate organizations. Once an animal's health is restored, it is released back into its habitat in a DuPage County forest preserve.