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Preserve Picnic Shelters


Lakewood: Shelter E


Shelter E at Lakewood Forest Preserve boasts an extra-large capacity, nature exhibits, an adjacent open area. It is an ideal spot for large gatherings and is one of our most popular picnic areas. Make your reservation early, weekend availability for this shelter fills fast. 

Four horseshoe pits and an asphalt volleyball court are available for your use (bring your own equipment). Two large barbeque grills can accommodate large cookouts, and an enormous open field next to the shelter is perfect for a soccer or softball game, or a large tent to provide more covered space. The playground near the shelter is shared with all other preserve visitors. 

No amplified music or noise is permitted.

This shelter features flush toilets, running water, and drinking fountains.

To access this shelter, enter the preserve's main entrance on Route 176 (Liberty St) in Wauconda. Continue straight onto the gravel road.


Maximum Capacity

500: Shelter and surrounding area
288: Under the shelter roof


Permit Fees

Weekends and holidays (Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day):
1-200 people Resident Nonresident
  $180 $240
For each additional group of 10 people add $8
Weekday and off-season reservations (after Labor Day through Friday before Memorial Day):
1-200 people Resident Nonresident
  $155 $205
For each additional group of 10 people add $7


Reserve this shelter »

The "Bat Shelter"

You'll notice there is a second "picnic shelter" in this area that has been fenced off to public use - it now serves as a nursery roost for a colony of Little Brown Bats. Since bats sleep during the day and only emerge at dusk, chances are good you won't be lucky enough to see one during your picnic.

If you do encounter a bat on the floor of the shelter or on the ground, please do not approach or touch it. It is most likely a baby bat learning to fly and its mother will rescue it. A small percentage of bats do carry rabies. Do not allow children to play unattended near the bat shelter. As with all wild animals, do not ever attempt to approach, feed or touch them - for your safety and theirs. The bats are accustomed to having people around their resting spot and will not bother you. Please do the same for them.

You can learn more about these fascinating animals through the interactive exhibits adjacent to the shelter. Or visit the website of Bat Conservation International.

Rules and Regulations

  • Leash and pick up litter from pets.
  • Decorations permitted for events – use only tape and/or thumbtacks. You may put up signs directing people to your shelter. All decorations and signs must be removed when event is finished. Do not attach anything to Forest Preserve signs.
  • Please clean up shelter area before leaving.
  • Alcoholic beverages are permitted; must be 21 years of age. You may not consume any alcoholic beverage upon or within 100 feet of any parking area. Host liquor liability insurance is available but not mandatory.
  • Park only in lots.
  • Service roads are for unloading and loading only. Do not leave vehicles parked on service road. If you need use of the service road, please place a request for the gate to be dropped at the time you reserve the shelter.

(c) Kim Karpeles

Shelter Features:

Capacity: 500
Grills: 2
Picnic Tables: 64
Service Road Access

Special Activities

Any vendors hired by the permit holder to provide special activities, including catering, must be licensed with the Lake County Forest Preserve District for the current year. Approved vendors for each special activity permitted at this shelter are listed in document below.

Licensed Vendors

Special activities allowed at this shelter are:
  • Catering
  • Moonwalk
  • Tent (Large)
  • Tent (Small)