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Picnicking   Picnicking

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Picnic areas are a popular amenity at the forest preserves. Family and group gatherings, including reunions, graduation parties, wedding parties, and office picnics, are made all the more enjoyable when shared in the outdoors, surrounded by a peaceful, natural setting.

Picnic Permitting

Picnic permits are required for groups of 25 people or more. Shelters have capacities of up to 200 people. Shelter amenities vary by shelter, but all include wheelchair accessible picnic tables and grills.

Shelters and groves are available for rental on a first-come, first-served basis. Permits for rentals in a calendar year become available on the first business day of the new year. Rentals reserve the site for the entire day.

Reservations must be made at least two business days in advance of the reservation date. Renters must be 18 years old and bring a valid driver's license or state ID. See permit fees below.

Picnic rentals must be made in person at one of the following Visitor Centers: Sugar Creek Administration Center in Joliet, Isle a la Cache Museum in Romeoville, Monee Reservoir in Monee, or Plum Creek Nature Center in Beecher.

For the Four Rivers Shelter in Channahon, check availability and arrange for rental by calling 815.722.9470.

Certain activities are subject to approval and may require additional fees, including the use of a generator, inflatable, dunk tank, or tents. Call 815.727.8700 for more information or to check shelter availability.

Picnic Locations

View details and photos of all shelters and groves for which the District offers rental permits.

Note: Frederick's Grove Shelter at McKinley Woods - Frederick's Grove in Channahon is unavailable for rental from November 1 through April 15 each year for safety.

Photograph Courtesy of Glenn P. Knoblock

Activity Fees
Picnic Grove Rental
The District offers one picnic grove for rental, Monee Grove at Monee Reservoir.
Resident: $35
Non-Resident: $70
Picnic Shelter Rental (200+ Capacity)
The District offers one picnic shelter with a capacity of 200, Bluegill Hill Shelter at Monee Reservoir.
Resident: $100
Non-Resident: $200
Picnic Shelter Rental (Four Rivers Shelter)
The Four Rivers Shelter at McKinley Woods - Kerry Sheridan Grove in Channahon is a large-capacity shelter with electricity. Call 815.722.9470 to check availability or arrange for rental.
Resident: $350
Non-Resident: $700
Picnic Shelter Rental (Under 200 Capacity)
Resident: $60
Non-Resident: $120
Picnic Shelter Rental (With Electricity)
The District offers three picnic shelters with electricity at McKinley Woods - Kerry Sheridan Grove in Channahon, Riverview Farmstead Preserve in Naperville, and Joliet Iron Works Historic Site in Joliet.
Resident: $70
Non-Resident: $140
View All Activity Fees
You can enjoy this activity at the following locations:

Forked Creek Preserve - Ballou Road Access (Wilmington)
Forked Creek Preserve - Forsythe Woods (Wilmington)
Goodenow Grove Nature Preserve (Beecher)
Hadley Valley - Gougar Road Access (Joliet)
Hammel Woods - Crumby Recreation Area (Shorewood)
Hammel Woods - Route 59 Access (Shorewood)
Hickory Creek Barrens Nature Preserve (New Lenox)
Hickory Creek Preserve - Hickory Creek Junction (Mokena)
Hickory Creek Preserve - LaPorte Road Access (Mokena)
Joliet Iron Works Historic Site (Joliet)
Lambs Woods (Lockport)
Laughton Preserve (Manhattan)
Lower Rock Run Preserve - I&M Canal Access (Joliet)
McKinley Woods - Frederick's Grove (Channahon)
McKinley Woods - Kerry Sheridan Grove (Channahon)
Messenger Marsh (Homer Glen)
Messenger Woods Nature Preserve (Homer Glen)
Monee Reservoir (Monee)
Prairie Bluff Preserve (Lockport)
Riverview Farmstead Preserve (Naperville)
Rock Run Preserve - Black Road Access (Joliet)
Rock Run Rookery Preserve (Joliet)
Runyon Preserve (Lockport)
Theodore Marsh (Crest Hill)
Veterans Woods - Roy F. Hassert Grove (Romeoville)
Veterans Woods - Traders Corner (Romeoville)
Whalon Lake (Naperville)
Visitor Centers
Four Rivers Environmental Education Center (Channahon)
Monee Reservoir Visitor Center (Monee)
Plum Creek Nature Center (Beecher)
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17540 W. Laraway Road, Joliet, IL 60433
815.727.8700 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. Weekdays
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