Annual Autumn on the Prairie

The Nature Conservancy’s Nachusa Grasslands Annual Autumn on the Prairie.

This event is open to the public. $5 per vehicle parking. Activities include 25 guided tours, wagon rides looking for bison, kettle corn, live birds of prey, local artist at work, children’s tent, a food vendor, and more!

Riding Prairie Tours — Look for Bison
10 am to 3 pm
Free tickets will be available only at the Autumn on the Prairie site.
Each person takes a number at the Bison Tours Tent.
The Bison Tours ticket supply may be limited, based on festival attendance and the location of the herd.
You can join a tour anytime your number is less than the one written on the white board.
When you are ready, walk to the path entrance, where your tickets will be collected.
Then walk west to the tent by the fence gate and get in line.
First come, first served for all numbers less than the one posted.
You will ride on a trailer through the preserve.
Visitors with low mobility must be able to walk to the path entrance, ride a UTV to the fence gate, and then climb a ramp or stairs into a trailer.
Finding the bison is not guaranteed, as they cannot always be seen from the lanes.
Usually, the herd is more visible earlier in the day.
The last tour will leave at 3 pm, so please get in line before 2:45 pm.

Guided Hiking Tours
10:15 am to 3 pm
Meet at the Hiking Tours Tent.
Experienced guides will lead walking tours of Nachusa’s prairies, woodlands, and wetlands.
Details on the times, destinations, length, and difficulty of the hikes will also be available at the event.
This information will also be posted by the Hiking Tours Tent.
Several tour groups will walk a loop departing from and returning to the AOTP site.
Shuttled tours will drop you off and pick you up at a place on the preserve and then return you to the AOTP site.
Meet at the Hiking Tours Tent at least 5 minutes before the scheduled departure.
Tours inside the Bison Unit will be limited to 12-15 people and will be cancelled or relocated if the herd is in the vicinity.
The number of participants for other shuttled tours may be limited, based on available transportation.
All tour length times are approximate.
Sturdy shoes and long pants are recommended for the hiking tours, as most are off trail with hills.

Activities at the AOTP Site
10 am to 4 pm
Visitor Center Welcome Area and T-Shirt Sales (New Design and Prices!)
Catering by Oliver’s Market (11:30 am to 3 pm)
Northern Illinois Raptor Rehab & Education Live Birds of Prey Program at 12:30 pm and Displays (all day).
Self-Guided Plant ID Walking Path
Books on First Sales
Discovery Tent Activities
Conservation Organization Displays

  • Interactive Experiences with Brian “Fox” Ellis at 11:15 and 1:45 pm
  • Live Music by Sláinte and Friends
  • Prairie Art and Photography
  • Native American Skills Demonstrations
  • Local Produce and Kettlecorn Sales
  • Franklin Creek Conservation Association Grist Mill Display
  • Shuttle Service by Gene and Diane Rod