I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in. ~ John Muir, 1913
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Special arrangements have been made with the creatures of Funks Grove to deliver wishlists to Santa!

Visit the mailbox on Imagination Grove Trail from now until
Christmas Eve

Maple Sirup Programs, 2018 Announced!

Click HERE for more information and to register today!

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Welcome to Sugar Grove Nature Center
in Historic Funks Grove


Sugar Grove Nature Center Mission
The mission of Sugar Grove Nature Center is to provide a place where individuals can experience, study, and enjoy the environment and history of Funks Grove, and as a result be inspired to become responsible stewards of the environment.

Upcoming Maple Sirup Program Options

We are pleased to continue to offer our various Maple Sirup Programs for students, scouts, groups, and the general public. The program provides a special opportunity for students to actively engage in the production of maple sirup as they explore its history from pre-settlement to current day through demonstrations and hands-on activities.  Every student will have the opportunity to tap a sugar maple tree and take home a small bottle of Funks Grove Pure Maple Sirup. For more information on these programs please see below.
For questions, email register@sugargrovenaturecenter.org or phone 309.874.2174

Homeschool Maple Sirup Experience Field Trips
Tuesday, February 20, Wednesday, February 21, and Tuesday, February 27.
Wednesday Class is FULL

Sugar Grove Nature Center is pleased to continue offering the Funks Grove Maple Sirup Experience for homeschooling families and invites you to take part in this unique educational experience. Due to the seasonality of this topic, there are a limited number of days available to offer this program.  The program will begin promptly at 10:00 a.m. and end at 2:00 p.m.  Upon receipt of your registration we will send confirmation and further details.  Participants are expected to participate in the entire program (10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.). If you wish to attend the program on the same day as another family it is your responsibility to coordinate this effort. Refunds will only be given if the program is cancelled due to the weather. It is to your benefit to submit the registration form as soon as possible. If you have questions, do not hesitate to email info@sugargrovenaturecenter.org or call 309.874.2174.

Program fee is $9 per student (ages 3 and up) and $7 per adult.

To register by mail click HERE and mail in your completed form with payment
To register online with credit card click HERE
Registration form and fees must be received by February 10, 2018.

Maple Sirup Experience School Field Trips
Thursday, February 22; Wednesday, February 28; Thursday, March 1; Tuesday, March 6.

Due to the seasonality of this topic, there are a limited number of days available to offer this program.  Please be certain of your decision to participate before submitting the registration form and fees.  Days will be reserved in the order that requests are received. A $100 deposit is required upon registration.  The balance is due the day of your visit.  If you wish, you can pay the entire amount due when you submit your registration form. If you have questions, do not hesitate to email angela@sugargrovenaturecenter.org or call 309.874.2174.  Once your registration is confirmed we will send a packet containing details to assist you in preparing for your visit and confirming your date. 

Maximum number of students per day is 120. $100 deposit required with registration. Each student will receive one sampler bottle of maple sirup. Children other than students (i.e., siblings) are not permitted. The program is four hours in length. Please designate your desired arrival and departure times (totaling 4 hours). Registration is on a first-come, first-served basis. Make check/money order payable to Sugar Grove Nature Center. If you wish to pay by credit card, contact Angela Funk by emailing angela@sugargrovenaturecenter.org. Refunds will only be given if school is cancelled due to the weather. It is to your benefit to return the registration form as soon as possible

Program fee is $9 per student. We require one adult for every 8 students. Teachers and chaperones, totaling up to one per 8 students, are free. Every additional adult is $7.
To register click HERE and mail in your completed form with payment
All forms and fees must be received by February 10, 2018.

Sirup for Scouts and Youth Groups
Saturday, February 24, 2018; 12:30 - 3:30 p.m.
Program is FULL

Attention leaders of scout troops and other youth organizations! Your group is invited to join in on the maple sirup fun at Sugar Grove Nature Center in Funks Grove! Learn how sap becomes sirup and take part in the process from tapping to tasting! 

Registration is on a first come, first served basis and will be complete only when both the form and payment have been received. You may register your entire group on one form or group members may register separately. Groups registering individually run the risk of having some make it in while others do not. If registering as a group, a confirmation will be sent only to the name on this form. It will be the leader’s responsibility to convey the information to the other participants. Please remember to dress for the weather, as a major portion of the program will be outdoors. If you have questions, call 309.874.2174 or email register@sugargrovenaturecenter.org. Fees are non-refundable unless the program is cancelled.

Maple Sirup Public Experience Tours

Saturday, March 3rd, 2018;
Tour Times: 9:30 a.m. 12:00 p.m. and 2:30 p.m.


It’s the time of year when buckets decorate the sugar maples throughout Funks Grove. Have you ever tasted ‘sweet water’ dripping from a spile? Here’s your chance! Join us for the Funks Grove Maple Sirup Experience at Sugar Grove Nature Center on Saturday, March 3rd, 2018.

Gather around the fire at the sirup camp to learn how the Native Americans and early settlers collected and prepared sap. Visit the sugar shack where the smell of maple sirup hangs in the air. Journey into the sugarbush to tap a tree. Stop inside the Nature Center to sample a variety of sweet treats made with maple sirup including candy, cookies, veggies, fudge, and more!Tours last approximately 2½ hours and begin promptly at 9:30 a.m., Noon, and 2:30 p.m. Tour size is limited and advanced registration is required. Dress for the weather, as you will be outside for a major portion of the program. 
This program is suitable for adults, children, and other interested groups.

Fee: Members: $7/adult, $3/child; Non-Members: $9/adult, $5/child.

Fees are non-refundable unless the program is cancelled.


Little Tappers Programs (ages 3 - 5)
Wednesday, February 14th; 10:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.
FULL Saturday, February 24, 2018; 10:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.

This program is designed especially for children 3-5 years with an adult chaperone. You can choose between three different program times. We will sing songs and make a craft while learning how to make maple sirup and listen to a fabulous sirup story. Then, each child will get a turn at tree tapping and to taste the real thing! While the majority of the program will be held indoors, we will be outside for tree tapping, so please dress for the weather.
Fee: $8/child members; $10/child non-members
To register online with credit card click HERE
Advanced registration required.


Admission to the Nature Center
Free! Donations greatly appreciated!

Your tax-deductible contribution will help us do what we do best - provide quality, engaging programs, a warm friendly facility, and beautiful grounds to explore! Sugar Grove Foundation is a non-profit organization that recieves no tax support. Donations, memberships, program fees and private gifts are the lifeblood of our organization.

To make a donation online click the "Donate" button below


If your prefer to make a donation by check please make check payable to Sugar Grove Foundation
and mail it to:
Sugar Grove Nature Center
4532 N 725 East Road
McLean, IL 61754

Sugar Grove Nature Center is owned and maintained by the Sugar Grove Foundation.  The Foundation is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization solely for the benefit of charitable, educational, and scientific purposes. (Sugar Grove Foundation Federal Tax ID# 37-1338932).  Therefore, your contribution is deductible to the extent allowed by law.

Group Policy

ALL GROUPS of 10 or more people will be charged $1.50 per person and MUST schedule their visit prior to arrival.

Who Are You?
Sugar Grove Nature Center is located in Funks Grove among over 1,000 acres of high quality natural area, most of which are protected as registered Illinois Land & Water Reserves or dedicated Illinois Nature Preserves. Funks Grove is the largest remaining intact prairie grove in the state of Illinois and portions have been designated a National Natural Landmark by the U.S. Department of Interior. Over seven miles of trails take visitors through prairie and woodland habitats. A trail from the Nature Center leads to the Funks Grove Church, Cemetery, and Chapel of the Templed Trees. Pets are welcome on most trails, but must be leashed and remain on the trail at all times.

Other Site Features
A picnic shelter, astronomy observatory, working blacksmith forge, variety of gardens, and many other features help to make Sugar Grove Nature Center a beautiful and unique place. 

Please visit us soon!