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One of the largest free outdoor holiday light displays in Northern Illinois, the Festival of Lights, returns with dazzling displays that will delight both adults and children. Enjoy the magic! This year features a 20’ tall “singing” Christmas tree. This signature winter event is a drive-through of more than one mile of spectacular lighted displays, many of which are animated, and are illuminated by tens of thousands of bulbs. Staged at Aurora's gem, Phillips Park, the festival will be open from 5 - 9 pm Sundays through Thursdays and 5 - 10 pm Fridays and Saturdays. Presented by the Aurora Rotary Club in partnership with the City of Aurora, Free: donations encouraged.
The Cache River Wetlands offers great opportunities for eagle watching, as well as spotting other birds. The Cache River Wetland Center provides resource and identification materials to help you spot eagles and other birds in the area and along the rivers. They will provide maps and directions to the viewing station for the nest just off Illinois Route 37 off Perks road and south of the visitor's center.
Come see live eagle demonstrations 10 a.m. til 2 p.m. every Saturday in January at the Alton Visitor Center. See a live bald eagle up close and personal! Ask and learn about their species and habitats. Then, grab your official All Around Alton Eagle Watcher's Guide as you journey out along the Meeting of the Great Rivers National Scenic Byway to see eagles in their natural habitat. Free! For more information, call 1-800-ALTON-IL or go to www.VisitAlton.com.
Take a great adventure every June through December! Board a trolley outside of the Great Hall area of the Lodge. Enjoy a historic trolley ride with stops at the Starved Rock State Park and Illinois Waterway Visitor Center where you will see Starved Rock from across the river and watch as the river traffic lock through the locks. You will also travel through the village of Utica and hear about the Illinois and Michigan Canal. While aboard, the driver will narrate the history and legends of the area. For tickets and information please call 815-220-7386.
Whether you are just beginning in photography, are an advanced amateur or a professional, you are welcome to the Starved Rock Photography Club. Monthly photography walks at Starved Rock State Park’s Lodge with club leader, Jacki Pienta. The Photography Club will meet each month throughout the year for guided walks to planned sites for photography opportunities. Members will informally exchange ideas and tips for quality nature and wildlife photos. We will meet the 4th Saturday of every month at 9am in the back of the Large Parking Lot at Starved Rock Lodge. All meetings will consist of a hike to an area of either Starved Rock State Park, Matthiessen State Park or Buffalo Rock. Please be prepared to carpool if necessary. $25.00 annual fee to join which will include a club t-shirt and an annual cookout! Time: 9:00 am - 12:00 pm 4th Saturday of each month. For more information, call 815-220-7386.
Join the fun on our weekly, guided hikes! Explore Starved Rock State Park, Matthiessen State Park, the I & M Canal and a nearby Nature Preserve. Every Thursday morning, year round, the Starved Rock Walkers Club meets in the lobby of the Lodge and departs at 9:00 am. Hikes last between 2 and 3 hours, depending on the destination. The hikes vary each week and over a 4-month period, the group will see the entire park. Make some new friends and learn about wildlife, wildflowers and more. This event is free and open to the public. Please note: We will not hike on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve or New Year’s Eve. Time: 9:00 am - 12:00 pm Every Thursday (year round).