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 carmichr@cityoflakeforest.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.

Learn More


  • 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)