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Waterfall Glen is one of the Chicago region’s natural wonders. (Robert Martinez / Flickr)

Openlands’ searchable guide to parks, preserves, prairies, woodlands and more is a great resource for nature lovers. 

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Millennium Park’s Great Lawn is dotted with social distance circles. (Chicago Mayor’s Office)

Millennium Park’s Great Lawn is open to visitors again, with painted-on circles in place to emphasize social distancing guidelines. 

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In this Friday, June 19, 2020 photo, fireworks explode during Juneteenth celebrations above the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood in the Brooklyn borough of New York. (AP Photo / John Minchillo, File)

They’ve become a nightly nuisance ringing out from Connecticut to California, angering sleep-deprived residents and alarming elected officials. All of them want to know: Why the fascination with fireworks?

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Retro Fitness (WTTW News)

It’s been 95 long days since the treadmills and weight benches of Chicago’s fitness centers fell silent thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. But this Friday, gyms in Illinois will be allowed to reopen.

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(Courtesy Lincoln Park Zoo)

The 150-year-old zoo is preparing to welcome its first visitors since the March coronavirus shutdown. Here’s what you need to know.

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Jeff Skrentny (WTTW News)

More than 200 species of birds have been identified at this small forest preserve, along with hundreds of other living things. We meet up with Jeff Skrentny and several dozen volunteers for a morning of pre-pandemic restoration work.

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(Eric Allix Rogers / Flickr)

As she celebrated the planned reopening next week of the lakefront trail and the 606, Mayor Lori Lightfoot called on Gov. J.B. Pritzker to allow restaurants to reopen to indoor diners “sooner rather later.”

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Some streets across the city are closing to vehicles and encouraging pedestrians, cyclists and rollerbladers. (WTTW News)

Despite enthusiasm from transportation advocates and residents eager for more room to roam, some shared streets aren’t ready just yet – and at least one previously announced plan for outdoor dining isn’t happening at all.

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The Chicago Botanic Garden is welcoming visitors back starting June 24. (Chicago Botanic Garden)

To limit the potential for overcrowding, the garden is implementing a timed-ticketed entry policy. Non-members will get their first chance to register for a slot on Friday. Here’s what else you need to know.

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Registration for Park District summer camps starts this week. (Chicago Park District / Facebook)

For parents who’ve been strapped for child care during the coronavirus shutdown, relief is in sight. But there will be even less capacity than normal this year, so prepare to act fast. 

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After weeks of being closed, Navy Pier prepares on Tuesday, June 9, 2020 for its partial reopening. (WTTW News)

One of the state’s top tourist attractions has been closed to visitors throughout the coronavirus pandemic. That changes Wednesday, even as other popular Chicago destinations remain closed — including the lakefront.

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Playgrounds remain closed, awaiting public health guidance. (Patty Wetli / WTTW News)

Chicago parks have reopened — though technically the outdoors was never “closed,” except along the lakefront — but access to facilities and equipment will remain limited.

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The treetop adventure course at Bemis Woods boasts 2,837 feet of zip line. (Courtesy of Go Ape)

You can camp, golf and — starting next weekend — even go zip lining, but plenty of closures and restrictions remain in effect. Here’s a look at what you can and can’t do in the preserves, and when.

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Biologist Amber Wendler is among those taking part in #BlackBirdersWeek. (@amberwendler / Twitter)

The social media campaign running through Friday was founded by 30 African American scientists, birders and nature lovers as a response to the racism encountered by birder Christian Cooper in New York’s Central Park.

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A business in Edison Park on Chicago’s Northwest Side tries to catch the attention of passersby during the pandemic. (WTTW News)

The stay-at-home order put in place on March 21 by Gov. J.B. Pritzker officially expired Friday. Here’s what is now open — and what will be different in Chicago as compared with the rest of the state.

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"Chicago Transit Hikes" showcases trails accessible via CTA, Metro or the South Shore Line. (Credits: Patty Wetli / WTTW News; Belt Publishing; Lindsay Welbers)

A new guidebook showcases the region’s best hiking trails accessible via the CTA, Metra or the South Shore Line. Because someday, we’ll ride trains again.

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