Surround yourself in nature this winter season at Primrose Farm and Hickory Knolls Discovery Center through a variety of programs for the whole family. From hiking to painting, you’ll experience the farm and natural area in new and inspiring ways.
Experience a traditional German Kohlfahrt in your own community this January. From 2-4:30 p.m. Jan. 18, Primrose Farm will recreate a Kohlfahrt or “cabbage walk”, an eating and drinking tour practiced in northwest Germany.
This new event will start with a hike around the farm, with stops along the way to engage in friendly games, as well as beer, wine and snacks.
Once the hike is complete and you’ve worked up an appetite, warm up and fill up with a German meal including bratwurst, chicken schnitzel, sauerkraut, German potato salad and more at Riverlands Brewing Company, 1860 Dean Street in St. Charles.
The night will end with the crowning of the Kohlkoenig and Kohlkoenigin, or the Cabbage King and Queen.
“This event is for anyone who would like to experience Primrose in a new and fun way, while meeting new people and enjoying the winter season outdoors,” said Alison Jones, Manager of Farm Programs and Interpretive Services.
Organized hikes, minus the German traditions, are also available at Hickory Knolls.
Start the New Year on the right foot, with two hikes to choose from Jan. 1 led by Hickory Knolls staff.
From 9:30-10:30 a.m. bring along your little ones for a causal walk on the trail during the Family Fun Hike. Ages 2 and older are welcome to explore the trails and look for signs of critters. Then, enjoy breakfast treats inside. This hike is not stroller friendly.
Or sign-up for the Fresh Start Hike from 9-10 a.m. Alone or with a buddy, you’ll enjoy a one-mile loop through the natural area. This hike is for ages 12 and older.
Let the outdoors in with some paint and imagination by creating a forest keepsake during the Bob Ross-themed Happy Trees Family Painting Class from 6:30-7:30 p.m. Feb. 7. Ages 2 and older will explore different ways to create “happy little trees,” whether it’s using fingers, a hand or a paintbrush.
Another painting class, for children ages 6-12, is scheduled from 1-2 p.m. Jan. 6, on a “no school” day for St. Charles public schools. Using the discovery center’s resident turtles as inspiration, they will create a take-home canvas painting.
If you’d like to make a difference in the lives of wildlife in the area, there are birding opportunities as well as a frog monitoring program to join this winter.
Birds on a Winter Morning, for ages 16 and older, will meet at Mt. St. Mary Park from 8-10 a.m. Jan. 23, to witness various species such as bald eagles, ducks and migratory birds along the river.
The Winter Bird Count for Kids, for ages 8-12, will meet from 9:30-11:30 a.m. Jan. 25, at Hickory Knolls. Through interactive activities, children will learn basic bird watching identification skills. Then, they’ll apply what they’ve learned to count and record the birds they see. Parents are not required to stay during this event.
But all ages are welcome to participate in the Great Backyard Bird Count held Feb. 16. Stop by Hickory Knolls between 1-4 p.m. to record birds visiting the feeders by the windows or in the natural area.
If frogs pique your interest, attend the program to become a frog monitor, held from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Feb. 15 at Hickory Knolls. Through a slide show, recordings and interactive activities, you’ll learn to identify 13 different frog species and their mating calls, equipping you with the knowledge to accurately record your findings during frog mating season from late February to early July.
To register, visit www.stcparks.org. For more information, call Alison Jones at Primrose Farm at 630-513-4374 or Laura McCoy at Hickory Knolls at 630-513-4393.