Hours & Admission
After 25 Years, the Sun Sets on The Wildlife Discovery Center: Thank You, Rob Carmichael!
The outdoor exhibits and trails are now closed to visitors since the USDA permit for those exhibits has expired. While visitors can no longer see the outdoor exhibit animals in-person, we are planning to share some videos of the animals on social media so you have a chance to see them before they head to their new homes. Less activity on the trail is in the animal's best interest as they transition to their new homes.
If you'd like to plan a visit to the Wildlife Discovery Center, we encourage you to come before March 1. While the indoor exhibits will remain open through March 24, many of the exhibits and animals are already being relocated to various conservation and rehabilitation facilities around the country. In the coming days, Wildlife Discovery Center staff is focusing on transitioning the animals to their new homes.
As a reminder, we're collecting stories to celebrate the legacy of Curator Rob Carmichael and the Wildlife Discovery Center. You can share stories or pictures with us by tagging @wildlifediscoverycenter or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also mail letters, cards, drawings, or photos to The Wildlife Discovery Center, 1401 Middlefork Dr., Lake Forest, IL 60045.
The Wildlife Discovery Center will be closing on March 24, 2023.
While we are no longer offering programs and internships, please visit those pages (on the left side bar) to learn how you can share memories, send thank you notes, etc. to Rob and the WDC staff, interns, and volunteers!
Please click the link below for a special message about the WDC, a heartfelt video from Rob, and FAQs:
Hours through March 24, 2023:
- Regular hours are Tuesday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 10-4.
- Closed Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday.
- Admission is free.
- The outdoor exhibits and trails are now closed to visitors since the USDA permit for those exhibits has expired.
- As always, staff, volunteers, and college interns will ensure a safe and positive experience.
- No pets allowed.
about the WDC
The Wildlife Discovery Center is a living museum and biological station at historic Elawa Farm, situated alongside the Middlefork Savanna, a 670-acre wildlife habitat in Lake Forest. You will be captivated as you experience a close-up encounter with our crocodilians and other reptiles. Visit our raptors in their outdoor enclosures or in a flight session or watch our bobcat, Boris, as he explores his "natural" eco-habitat. The WDC is home to approximately 85 species of animals. During regular visiting hours, you can talk with our animal keepers and meet some of our amazing animals.
In addition to visiting our resident animals, you can enjoy a hike and nature observation on the adjacent Middlefork Trail, or visit the Elawa Farm Park where you and your family can enjoy a picnic in the pavilion, play soccer in the field, or have fun in the huge playground. Our exhibits and programs provide an experience that will kindle a lifetime bond with nature.
Please note: The Wildlife Discovery Center will remain open until March 24, although some exhibits will begin to close when animals are moved to new locations. The WDC will officially close on March 24, 2023.
- There is no charge for individuals or groups of eight or fewer.
- We rely on the help of our visitors and supporters to maintain the high quality care we provide for our animals.
- We are currently not allowing groups of 8 or more to enter our indoor exhibits without making a reservation. Please contact Rob Carmichael, Curator, at email@example.com for availability and costs.
Help us save our owls by avoiding the use of dangerous rodenticides. The WDC can recommend safe alternative solutions for preventing and treating rodent infestations.
- Rob Carmichael, Curator/Director
- Alexann Daddano, Animal Keeper
- Katie Donnellan, Animal Keeper
- Nick Gomulka, Animal Keeper
- Matt Reid, Animal Keeper
- Steve Ballen
- Maggie Fahner
- Joey Fornaro
- Tracey Kihnke
- Kristen Rozalewicz
- Kelly Schaaf
- Laura Torelli
- Liz Zellner
- Theresa Greinig (Contractual Staff)