Field Trips 

Field Trips are scheduled for Saturday, May 25th and Sunday, May 26, 2019.  
All registration for Field Trips will be done via:  SPNHC 2019 Conference Registration

Horicon Marsh Boat Tour and Trails

Join us for an all day excursion to Horicon Marsh, a silted-up glacial lake that is the largest freshwater cattail marsh in the country. Travel by bus to Horicon, Wisconsin, where we will take a two hour guided pontoon boat ride to see some of the 305 species of birds found in the marsh. Bring your binoculars!  After the boat tour, we’ll have boxed lunches at the Education and Visitor Center at the Horicon Marsh State Wildlife Area and either explore some of the trails through the marsh or visit the Explorium ($2 per person, not included) to learn more about the history of the Marsh through interactive exhibits. On our way back to Chicago, we'll stop at the Mars Cheese Castle for a quick break and chance to buy Wisconsin cheese and other treats.

Date/ Time: Saturday, May 25 2019, 7:00am - 7:00pm

Location: Bus will pick up and drop off at the Chicago Hilton

Cost: $85 per person (fee includes transportation, boat tour feet and box lunch)

Special Trip Notes:  Please dress for the weather and wear comfortable shoes for walking trails.   

Website: Horicon Marsh

Surf and Turf - Mazon Creek and Silurian fossils

Journey through Illinois and its fossil record to see ancient reefs and coal swamps and a modern day tall grass prairie. We will start by visiting Silurian (430 million year) rocks in the Sagawau Forest Preserve of Cook County. Here we will see the only bedrock canyon in Cook County and observe Silurian inter-reef fossils at an old quarry pond including orthoconic nautiloid cephalopods (also keep an eye out for hummingbirds).


For lunch we will visit the Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie  with a chance to observe Ice age geologic features and native prairie plants, butterflies, birds, and (if we are lucky) buffalo.  After lunch we will go to Mazon River to see the Pennsylvanian (307 Million year old) Francis Creek Shale Member of the Carbondale Formation and have chance to collect Mazon Creek nodules on private property. The nodules can be split to reveal fossils including ferns, seed ferns, insects, and soft-bodied invertebrates including the rare and enigmatic Tully Monster - the official state fossil of Illinois. However, your chances are excellent of finding a fossil fern or two.


Date/ Time: Sunday, May 26, 2019, 8:00am - 5:00pm

Location: Bus will pick up and drop off at the Chicago Hilton

Cost: $75 per person (fee includes transportation and lunch)

Special Trip Notes:  Please bring along shoes you do not mind getting wet or muddy; depending on how adventurous you are, the fossils may be found along the river banks and in water that may be ankle deep to waist deep or more.

Website: Sagawau Forest PreserveMidewin National Tallgrass Prairie, Mazon Creek

Milwaukee Public Museum Collections and Museum Tour

Travel by bus to Milwaukee, Wisconsin (only a short trip from Chicago) and tour the Milwaukee Public Museum. View Carl Akeley’s Muskrat Habitat Group diorama created in 1890-- that started a revolution in museum display. Experience both modern and ancient environments as you stroll through MPM’s award-winning exhibits, such as Exploring Life on Earth. Walk in on a life-size Tyrannosaurus rex dining in the Hell Creek Diorama while touring the Third Planet Exhibit; or stand still and let nature find you in the Butterfly Garden. Hear the wildlife in a Costa Rican rainforest, and learn about the connections it has with Wisconsin. Feel the cobblestones under your feet as you wander through turn of the century Streets of Old Milwaukee.   Curators will guide you behind the scenes to view the museum collections that inspire the public displays. Then grab a ride on The Hop, Milwaukee’s new trolley system, for a tour of the lively downtown and lakefront areas. Enjoy a traditional Bavarian lunch in one of Milwaukee’s many German restaurants.

Date/ Time: Sunday, May 26, 2019, 8:00am - 5:00pm

Location: Bus will pick up and drop off at the Chicago Hilton

Cost: $75 per person (fee includes transportation and lunch)

Website: Milwaukee Public Museum

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