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Also visit:

Bellaboo's Play and Discovery Center

Deep River Waterpark

Edge Adventures

Book your Aerial Adventure NOW!

Turkey Creek Golf Course

Conway Observatory and CAS web link

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The Lake County Parks Department is committed to providing quality parks and open spaces along with many recreational, cultural, and educational opportunities for the use an enjoyment of all Lake County residents and visitors.



Field Trips

Experiences at Buckley Homestead, Pioneer Time Travel, Gibson Woods Nature Preserve, and Deep River and Wood's Historic Grist Mill

Historic Group Tours at Buckley Homestead - Indiana History from 1850-1917


Dates available: Weekdays in May, June, September & October
Two-hour tours
Morning tours may be booked to start at 9 a.m. (two hour tours).
Afternoon tours may be booked to start at noon (two hour tours)
$3 per person, including teachers and chaperones; $50 minimum per group
Reservations and pre-payment required at least ten days in advance by calling 219-769-7275

Tour Description: This tour is designed to enhance Indiana history taught in the 4th grade. It can be adjusted to fit the needs of younger grades, but is not recommended for Kindergarten or Pre-school groups.

Students will divided into groups of not more than 30 students each. (Schools with larger groups can be accommodated if chaperones remain outside of buildings.) Students will visit each of three different sites; the 1910s farm, the 1900 one-room schoolhouse, and the 1850 log cabin. Interpreters are dressed in historically accurate clothing to add to the visual comprehension.

On the farm, the interpreter asks, "What do you see and why is it here?" From the animals, to the buildings, to the pastures and gardens, there is much to see and understand about subsistence living. Animals on the farm include chickens, geese, rabbits, sheep, cows, pigs, horses, and cats.

In the schoolhouse, children will learn what a school day was like at the turn of the 20th century. They will be asked to compare and contrast their school with Buckley's. They will notice similarities and differences in the building, the teacher, and the curriculum. Many things have changed, and yet, some things we do today are derived from our early agrarian days.

At the cabin, children will be asked to imagine moving here before the Civil War. What did they need to survive? What was their priority once they got here? Students will be asked to compare and contrast living in their modern home with living in the 1850 Buckley cabin.

Additional Information

The path is just under one mile of gravel and bark chip trail. Students will be outside much of the time and should dress for the weather. If a teacher has a student in a wheelchair or other special needs, it should be disclosed at the time of the reservation. Arrangements will be made to make the tour as accessible as possible.

Picnic shelters are available for lunch first come, first served unless reserved.


Pioneer Hands On Experiences


This daylong experiential educational program is guaranteed to create memories for years to come. Students learn about life during the early settlement period of southern Lake County. They learn about chores, recreation, school work, and challenges of life during 19th century.






Gibson Woods Nature Preserve and Environmental Awareness Center

The Outdoor Education Staff at the Gibson Woods Environmental Awareness Center offers group programs for all ages. The Center has a classroom for presentations, a hands-on exhibit area with live animals and a bird observation room. Three miles of trails along an ancient dune and swale landscape highlight the natural beauty of the nature preserve.
Reserved programs are tailored to suit the age, experience and grade curriculum of individual groups. All programs include an indoor presentation and an outdoor activity. Dress for the weather.

All programs are $2 per person, including adults, with a $20 minimum per group. Preschool programs are 1 hour with a
20-student maximum. Groups K-12 programs are 1½ hours with a 40-student maximum. Registration and deposit are required at least 10 days in advance by calling 219-769-PARK. For program content information call Gibson Woods Nature Preserve at 219-844-3188






Into the Woods

All year


Overview of Gibson Woods with walk and live animals. Includes endangered animals, conservation and urban wildlife.

Tree ID


3rd +

It takes more than a leaf to ID a tree. Learn the essentials that make identification easy.

Almost All About Birds



Learn some little known facts about birds. Why is bird watching such a popular hobby? Do all birds eat worms? Why are they so important to the health of our environment?

What is a Wetland?


3rd +

Learn about the importance
of wetlands and what kinds of
creatures depend on them.



Historical Tour at Deep River County Park and Wood's Historic Grist Mill

In 1836 John Wood moved his family to Indiana where he built a wooden grist mill that he operated for many years.  In 1876 his son, Nathan, built the current building and operated the flouring mill into the twentieth century. Wood's Grist Mill stands as a reminder of the great industrial strength of Northwest Indiana.

The Power of Water (Nature and History Tour)
Available:       Tuesday - Friday (May-October) This tour can be adjusted to fit any grade/age group (first grade and older) 
Fee:                $2 per person (children and adults) or $3 and each person receives a Deep River souvenir bag with postcard and two candy sticks.
Group size:    15 person minimum and 90 person maximum
Tour Time:     Tours are 1 & 1/2 hour long.  Tours can begin at 9:30 am (arrival times may be adjusted to fit your group's needs). Larger groups may take more time to complete tour.
Reservation and Deposit: $20 deposit required at least two weeks in advance by calling 219-769-7275

Tour Description:

Nature: Take a walk along the river and learn why Deep River was the natural choice for John Wood to settle here. Discover the wildlife that still exists while learning who or what may have lived here years ago.

History: At Wood’s Mill learn about water power, grist mills and John Wood. The miller will demonstrate how cornmeal is still ground. Then through hands-on activities like shelling corn, sifting cornmeal and tying a miller’s knot learn how technology and the grist mill made life easier on people of the past. In the photo a student is hand sifting the cornmeal.

Deep River General Store: A stop in the store, once a nondenominational church built in 1904, highlights items that would have been for sale in a general store of the past.  Groups learn the importance of the store in the community.  For groups choosing to shop, there is everything from rock candy, toys, maple syrup, souvenirs to our stone-ground cornmeal for sale.  Not interested in shopping, you can add on a Deep River souvenir bag with postcard and candy sticks for $1 per person.  It's a great way to take the experience home with you.

Educational Standards/Entertainment Factor: Tours touch on Indiana history, American history, industrial revolution, science, nature, simple machines and hydropower/renewable resources. After registering for your tour, you will receive a resource packet to use in the classroom to complete the tour with before and after activities.



The grinding stones when the cover is removed.  Each stone weighs about 2,000 pounds.  The bed stone remains stationary while the runner or top stone turns.  The furrows in the stones grind the corn into meal.

Suggestion to teachers and group leaders: Visit the Lake County Parks web page to learn more about what your students will see on their trip to the park.  For an overview of the history of Wood’s Historic Grist Mill click on the YouTube video link from


For reservations and more information about the Lake County Parks Call 219-769-PARK
Mon-Fri 8:30am to 4:30pm Central Time (Chicago Time)

Lake County Parks and Recreation Department Corporate Office
8411 East Lincoln Highway, Crown Point, Indiana 46307
Just west of Deep River WaterparK 4.5 miles east of I-65 on Route 30