Past Meetup

Danada and Herrick Lake Forest Preserves - 9 Miles

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Dan and Ada Rice:

Danada Forest Preserve is the former estate of commodity trader Daniel Rice and his wife, Ada, racehorse enthusiasts who bred champion Thoroughbreds.

In 1928, the Rices purchased Danada Farm, a working farm complemented by apple orchards, wheat and corn fields, and grazing lots for livestock. In 1943, Dan Rice purchased eight Thoroughbreds for his wife’s pursuit in horse racing, and the Ada L. Rice Stable was born.

Every year, the Wheaton farm served as a training facility for 20 to 40 yearlings. A 26-stall Kentucky-style barn, with center stalls and an indoor track, allowed trainers to work horses even in inclement weather. The Rices’ staff also used the 0.5-mile regulation racetrack on the west side of Naperville Road to condition yearlings that arrived from a sister farm in Lexington, Kentucky.

In 1965, the Rices made their mark at the Kentucky Derby with a bay colt named Lucky Debonair, which jockey Willie Shoemaker rode across the wire in a neck-to-neck finish for a first-place win and a $112,000 purse. One year later, Advocator, another bay colt and Rice Thoroughbred, placed second in the Derby.

Herrick Lake Forest Preserve:

Herrick Lake Forest Preserve in Wheaton is home to an impressive variety of wildlife. Ecologists have recorded over 254 resident and migrant animal species among the preserve’s 470 different types of plants.

In the mature upland woods, stately 150-year-old white, red and bur oaks provide habitat for animals like woodpeckers, squirrels and owls.

White-tailed deer and coyotes roam through adjacent fields of European grasses, where dickcissels, savanna sparrows, bobolinks and eastern meadowlarks nest among the fescues. Slowly emerging within these fields are young planted forests of American elms with understories of smaller maples, oaks, lindens and hickories. Viburnums, dogwoods, roses and blackberries are common in this immature upland woods, which attracts black-crowned night herons, eastern wood peewees and American woodcocks.

Along the forest preserve’s pothole marshes and streams, silver maple and buttonbush grow. Raccoons, woodchucks, northern orioles, wood thrushes, and various frogs and toads dwell in this area, which is seasonally covered with colorful swamp buttercup and wild iris. Herrick Marsh, which lies in the middle of the forest preserve, supports communities of cattails and reeds, a draw for eastern tiger salamanders, northern leopard frogs, pied-billed grebes, blue-winged teals, red-winged blackbirds, minks and muskrats.


Hikers, bicyclers, horseback riders and cross-country skiers can enjoy more than 20 miles of crushed limestone trails, including a section of the Danada and Herrick Lake Regional Trail, a designated “National Recreation Trail” under the federal National Trails System Act. A path around the lake connects both parking lots to the picnic grounds and the trailhead, and additional trails cut through central and southern parts of the preserve.



I-88, exit Naperville Road (North), Freedom Road (North), Warrenville Road (East), Naperville Road (North), Frank H Bellinger Parkway (East). Danada House and Equestrian Center 3S507 Naperville Rd., Wheaton, IL


Mullen's Bar and Grill, 3080 Warrenville Rd., Lisle, Illinois

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