Map by Lynda Wallis



Winter 1999

Into the Wild

The Danada House, former residence of Daniel and Ada L. Rice, a working farm, and Equestrian Center among features

Danada Forest Preserve Map
DuPage County, Illinois

Danada (pronounced Duh-nay-duh). Somewhere on this 783-acre preserve you can study nature, hike, jog, bike, fish, tour a farm, learn the equestrian arts, take hay rides, go for sleigh rides in the snow, cross-country ski, and hold formal receptions, meetings, bridal showers, parties or other catered affairs in a 19-room mansion. There is even a week-long equestrian summer camp for 10-to-14 yr. old children where they can learn about horses from the hooves up. And by the spring of 2000, Danada will become the new headquarters of the DuPage Forest Preserve District. District officials are planning a new building designed in the prairie style which will be located across the street from the Equestrian Center.


From I-88 take Rte. 53 north to Butterfield Rd., then west to Naperville Road., then turn south. The entrance is on Naperville Road, .6 mile south of Butterfield Rd.

Danada's nearly three miles of multi-purpose trails traverse wooded savannas, wetlands, wildflower meadows, marshes, lakes, and domesticated fields and farmland. Its two-mile Regional Trail leads to the adjacent 767-acre Herrick Lake Forest Preserve. Herrick Lake provides habitat for 300 species of native plants, 13 fish species, 108 species of birds, 19 mammal species, and many reptiles and amphibians.

Within Danada's borders you will find a variety of wildlife, from grassland birds such as meadow larks and bob-o-links, to waterfowl, herons, deer, foxes, and even an occasional wily coyote. Common wildflowers include trout lily, bloodroot, and wild geranium. Over the years volunteers have helped to restore a 35-acre area into a healthy native prairie. Visitors to the open woodlands can walk beneath the craggy twisting limbs of large spreading bur oaks and through plush carpets of woodland satin grass and golden seal.

Danada also contains a 1,350-acre working farm which yields apples, wheat, and corn. The 19-room Danada House, originally the private estate of Daniel and Ada L. Rice from 1930 to the 1970's, can accommodate gatherings of up to 150 people.

The Danada Equestrian Center, a legacy of the Rices' interest in race horses, has provided first-rate educational and recreational programs for DuPage County residents since 1983. These programs offer a holistic approach to caring for horses as well as teaching basic skills in riding. The District offers horse-drawn hay rides through wood and dale in the summer, or sleigh rides during the winter (provided there's at least six inches of snow-pack) from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Public rides cost $3 per adult, $1 for children between five and 12, and are free to children under five. Private group rides are also available. Call (630) 668-6012 for further information. Danada is open from sun-up to sun-down.

Eugene Bender