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Fermilab PrairieBatavia, Illinois

Fermilab Prairie

Batavia, Illinois

  • Author: Mike MacDonald
  • Date Posted: Jun 1, 2016
  • Category:

Get Directions to Fermilab Prairie


All visitors 18 and older, including those on foot or on bicycle, as well as all adult passengers in vehicles, will be asked to show a REAL-ID-compliant ID (REAL ID driver’s license or passport) to access the site. Learn more about site access here:

Wide-open space where you can lose yourself in the towering grasses of the summer prairie and in the enchanting flowers of the vernal woodland. Watch coyotes, scare up deer, and marvel in the wonder.

The sun sets over Fermilab Prairie brimming with wild bergamot, cordgrass, and big bluestem.

The sun sets over Fermilab Prairie brimming with wild bergamot, cordgrass, and big bluestem.


  • Large prairie that was reconstructed from scratch
  • Beautiful woodland
  • Wide grassy hiking trails in the prairie


  • Mid-April – first half of May: Spring ephemerals in the woodlands
  • June: Spiderwort and foxglove beardtongue
  • August: Towering compass plants

Best Times to Visit:

  • April through September for the wildflowers

Mike’s Thoughts: By the time Fermilab acquired the land during the 1960s, not an inch of original prairie remained. Most people would envision a long-lost landscape and feel regret. But Dr. Robert Betz was different. He saw possibility and a chance to heal. In 1971, Betz embarked upon a bold experiment to reconstruct the prairie from. nothing, employing the same agricultural practices that caused its demise.

Notes: Fermilab Prairie is located on government property with a guard station at every entrance. Don’t be intimidated by the security. You’ll be asked to show  REAL ID or passport as instructed above. Ask the guard where to find the Margaret Pearson Interpretive Trail. Here’s the link to learn more about visiting, including hours:

Learn more about Fermilab Prairie from these websites:


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