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Picnic Shelters

Lakewood Shelter E

Located within Lakewood Forest Preserve in Wauconda, this shelter makes 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.

The shelter area features nature exhibits, and a nearby playground that is shared with all preserve visitors. Picnickers also have access to four horseshoe pits, an asphalt volleyball court, and the preserve's hiking trails, including a connection to the countywide Millennium Trail.

Two large barbeque grills can accommodate large cookouts, and an extra-large playfield next to the shelter is perfect for a soccer or softball game, or a large tent to provide more covered space.

To access this shelter, enter the preserve's main entrance on Route 176 just west of Fairfield Road. Continue straight onto the gravel road.

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Find Sunset Time

Preserves are open 6:30 am–sunset, daily. Find a sunset time for your desired date »

The Bat Shelter

You'll notice there is a second shelter in this area that has been closed off to public use. This former picnic shelter now serves as a nursery roost for a colony of Little Brown Bats that took up residency in its rafters. Since bats sleep during the day and only emerge at dusk, you probably won't be lucky enough to see one during your picnic.

If you do encounter a bat on the shelter floor 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, never attempt to approach, feed or touch them, both 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. 


Rules and Regulations

For your safety and enjoyment, please...

  • Leave nature as you find it for others to enjoy.
  • Leash and pick up litter from pets.
  • Smoking is prohibited within 15 feet of playgrounds.
  • Clean the shelter area before leaving your event.
  • Decorations and directional signs are permitted, but may not be attached to Forest Preserves signs. Use only twine or thumbtacks to attach decorations to the shelter. Do not use any forms of tape, staple guns, nails, screws or fishing line to attach decorations. All decorations, signs, twine and thumbtacks must be removed when event is finished.
  • Alcoholic beverages are permitted; must be 21 years or older. No alcohol consumption within 100 feet of parking lots. Host liquor liability insurance is available but not mandatory.
  • Park only in lots. Loitering in lots is prohibited. Vehicles left after closing will be towed at owner's expense.
  • Service roads may be used for unloading and loading only. Do not leave vehicles parked on service road. If you need use of the service road, place a request for the gate to be dropped at the time you reserve the shelter.


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Shelter Features:

Maximum Capacity

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

Total Picnic Tables and Grills

64 Tables
  2 Grill


  • Water may not be available mid-October–May.
  • Band/DJ, amplified music or noise are prohibited.

Special Amenities

Picnic Tables
Flush Toilets
Horseshoe Pit
Drinking Water
Public Parking
Running Water
Asphalt Volleyball Court

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.

Special activities allowed at this shelter are:

Tent (Large)
Tent (Small)

Licensed Vendors:

Vendor List