Danada has a rich history as the former home of Daniel and Ada Rice, and Kentucky Derby winner Lucky Debonair. Today, the preserve is the home of Danada Equestrian Center, which is surrounded by 825 acres of rolling terrain that encompass wetlands, woodlands and prairies.
A large wetland complex interspersed with fields is located in the area west of Naperville Road. Although the natural prairie is gone, a 35-acre region has been the target of intensive restoration efforts that have yielded a healthy, restored prairie. This ecosystem complex attracts a variety of wildlife, including waterfowl, grassland birds, and a heron rookery.
The DuPage Forest Preserve District’s headquarters building, which was designed to blend in with the natural surroundings, is located within the Danada Forest Preserve on the west side of Naperville Road.
The 36-acre Rice Lake has a maximum depth of 22 feet, with a fluctuating water level of as much as six feet. Fisheries management of this valuable flood-control area includes stocking. Parking is available in the main parking lot. All persons 16 and older (except legally disabled persons) are required to have in their possession a valid Illinois sport fishing license. All anglers must follow District and state regulations.
Visitors will find picnic tables near the main barn, the fire circle, and the parking lot.
Nearly three miles of multipurpose trails wind through the preserve’s prairie, woodland, and marsh habitats and connect with the Regional Trail (linking four other preserves), providing a scenic excursion for hikers, joggers, bicyclists, equestrians and cross-country skiers. Behind the main barn is a double-looped nature trail through an oak savanna with many native wildflowers. When conditions permit, trails are groomed for classical and skate-style cross-country skiing. Horseback riders are asked to restrain their mounts when riding through woods, through the Naperville Road underpass, or around sharp corners to avoid confronting less-visible trail users.
The Danada Equestrian Center welcomes visitors of all ages, offering educational and recreational programs rooted in Danada’s unique equine heritage. The center offers group, private and semi-private lessons, horsemanship clinics, group tours, summer camp and group trail rides. In addition, the center hosts the annual Danada Fall Festival.
The Danada Model Farm preserves the agricultural history of DuPage County through 1950s farm machinery and agricultural practices. The farm is operated by the Danada Model Farm volunteers, who provide fall harvest tours of the farm. Fall harvest tours are best suited for first through third graders, and young scout groups.
For more information on Equestrian Center, call (630) 668-6012. To schedule a fall harvest tour of Danada Model Farm, call (630) 668-5392.
The 19-room Danada House, the former residence of Daniel and Ada Rice, is available for formal receptions, corporate events, educational seminars, meetings, parties and other functions. The dining room, library, living room, and two porches can accommodate up to 70 people. The Atrium comfortably seats up to 250 guests and features large windows that connect visitors to the surrounding landscape. Danada House is owned by the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County and is operated by the Friends of Danada, a not-for-profit organization. For more information, see www.danadahouse.com, or call (630) 668-5392.
The historic Rice family racetrack is available for special events. The one-quarter mile track is used for walk-a-thons, running events and other charity events. For more information, contact Visitor Services at (630) 933-7248.
The Danada Equestrian Center is one of six District Educaiton Centers that provides year-round volunteer opportunities. Those interested in volunteering at Danada Equestrian Center (assisting with horse-care, guiding tours, helping with events such as the Danada Fall Festival) should contact the District’s Volunteer Services Office at (630) 933-7681 or view the Volunteer Opportunities page for more information.
Working with the Office of Natural Resources, volunteer site stewards and “Volunteer Restoration Workday” participants help to monitor and manage the restored prairie on the west side of Naperville Road and the mature oak grove adjacent to the Danada Equestrian Center. For information on volunteer opportunities at Danada and other forest preserves, visit the Natural Resource Management volunteer page, or contact Volunteer Services at (630) 933-7681 or email@example.com.
The Forest Preserve District of DuPage County is committed to making its facilities accessible to all visitors. For special accessibility needs or concerns, please contact the District’s ADA coordinator at (630) 933-7683 or TTY (800) 526-0857 at least three business days in advance of your visit.