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It used to be that when towns and villages built up, nature was shoved into the background, peripheral as an afterthought. Nowadays, however, growing awareness of our environment’s fragility has sparked more concern for saving and encouraging the natural world. In Itasca, this idea has gone to the next level, incorporating the natural world as a major element in the Village’s plan for the future. Evidence of this can be seen along the new Riverwalk that runs from downtown Itasca through the Spring Brook Nature Center to the new Village administrative buildings. Along this attractive walkway, visitors can enjoy a variety of educational and entertaining sights largely due to the presence of the Nature Center and Health World, organizations that have combined to make the Itasca Riverwalk welcoming in any season.

The Nature Center

Offering a rural setting in the heart of suburban Chicago, the Nature Center is an impressive force for area nature and conservation. Located south of the municipal complex, library and water park, the Nature Center boasts two miles of trails that run through indigenous prairie, sun- speckled woodlands and a magnificent cattail marsh. Itasca Village Trustee Jeff Aiani encourages year-round visitation, saying, “The view changes with the seasons and is always interesting.” Spring through winter, the trails provide outdoor opportunities for hiking, bird watching, and even snowshoeing. (Snowshoe rentals are available at the Visitor Center.)

The Visitor Center also offers educational information and activities for adults and children alike, including imaginative displays of native flora and fauna, a children’s Discovery Room, and a huge indoor aquarium. Outdoors, there are beautiful gardens designed to attract butterflies and hummingbirds.

But the Nature Center is more than just a good place for an occasional walk; it is dedicated to preserving the natural environment with which Illinois is blessed. To that end, the Center has joined Chicago Wilderness, a consortium of more than 200 public and private organizations dedicated to conserving the area’s natural beauty. This consortium also belongs to the Leave No Child Inside initiative, a program dedicated to getting children outside and active, participating in and learning about the natural world.

Another program at the Nature Center is the “Passport to Nature Discovery,” which offers an innovative way for nature explorers to make year-round discoveries. Visitors can purchase an inexpensive booklet of activities to complete on the trail, and borrow a backpack of exploration tools to help complete the activities. Activities may be enjoyed alone or in a group, and participants earn a special nature patch for each season.

The Center maintains a pleasant partnership with the Itasca schools, offering year-round programs for kindergarten through eighth grade. It further promotes nature study as a host to the Junior Naturalists, a 4-H group with a focus on nature. In addition, Itasca’s Nature Center offers many opportunities for adults and students alike to volunteer and give something back to the community.

With programs, displays and outdoor activities, Itasca’s Nature Center is more than just a walking trail. It’s a way to explore the rich natural heritage of Illinois, without leaving the Village.

Itasca Country Club

Itasca Country Club boasts a rich history, dating back to its organization in 1925 by B.B. Clover. Soon after, in 1928, the club was purchased by William Lyons who remained an integral part of the club until his retirement in 1985. In 1999, Itasca Country Club became a private equity club with purchase from the Lyons family. The club’s founding members included Jack Sharkey; Joseph Romanelli; Jeffery Holmes; Dennis Wojcicki; Michael Scheck; William Fates; Roy Picciuca; John Keller; Geoffrey Story; and William Biehl, Sr.

In the summer of 1987, Itasca Country Club earned designation as a historical landmark by the Village’s Historical Preservation Committee. The club garnered further appreciation in February 2001 when it was named the 310th golf course to achieve designation as a “Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary” by the National Audubon Society.

This strong heritage only adds to the excitement of playing at Itasca Country Club. In addition to the fantastic experience of golfing Itasca Country Club’s course are opportunities for various events. Wedding receptions and banquets of all kinds are available in a variety of settings to make that special day a memorable one. Golf outing packages are also an option for large groups looking to enjoy a day on the greens and a delicious, elegant meal.

Itasca Country Club
400 E. Orchard Street • Itasca, IL 60143
630-773-1800 •

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