Here, you can spy rare small mammals and birds, look for turtles and frogs in the marshes, and walk through fields of beautiful wildflowers like irises. Woodlands take up a large chunk of the park as well, and deer are common. While there are no manicured lawns, benches to rest on, or amenities, this natural area provides a free and open terrain just ripe for exploring. Be sure to bring water and clean up bags with you.
Check out the trails where you and your fur-baby can walk among the tall grasses and wildflowers, and through the mucky wetlands. This is definitely a work in progress and it's come a long way with many years of cultivation in store.
Much of the Prairie is wet because of its proximity to Lake Calumet, but the long rectangle of its 135 acres provides access to Big Marsh, another reclaimed wasteland to the south with more trails and amenities. Parking is available on the streets of the nearby residential area east of the prairie. Bordered on the opposite side by train tracks whose traffic sound doesn't reach very far into the natural area, views of the far-away Chicago skyline and remnants of the manufacturing boom that took place here after the Civil War will remind you of the history of the place.
Still in its early stages of development, Van Vlissingen is likely to become one of Chicago's premier passive recreation and natural parks. For now, it's a pawrfect place to walk with Fido and enjoy the wildness.