The windswept prairies that once covered Illinois gave the state its nickname and identity as “the prairie state,” a place bright with wildflowers and tallgrass. Now, though, less than one-tenth of one percent of original prairie remains in the state.
Dixon Prairie brings to life a mosaic of prairie plant communities that visitors can experience in a single stroll, offering a chance to experience these now-endangered prairie ecosystems in a way few can. Our 15-acre prairie re-creation, opened in 1982, is home to six prairie communities: mesic and wet prairies, gravel hill and sand prairies, a prairie fen, and bur oak savanna. These communities now showcase many of the plant, almost 300 species, and wildlife species found in remnant prairies around the region, and winding paved paths and a boardwalk provide excellent access to experience them.
Located on the southwest side of the Garden, the prairie is about a 15-minute walk from the Visitor Center and also a stop on the Grand Tram route.
The prairie is beautiful and ever-changing year-round, in late spring and throughout the summer, a rich display of wildflowers intermingle with prairie grasses.
Many Garden programs use Dixon Prairie as an outdoor classroom, including school field trips, our Nature Preschool and Camp CBG program, as well as nature walk and photography classes through our adult education program.