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Eagle Watching at Starved Rock State Park
You don’t have to travel north to see these majestic birds of prey. Thousands of eagles migrate south from Canada during the winter and Illinois is one of the homes of the greatest population of wintering bald eagles. The Starved Rock Lodge in Utica offers a “Bald Eagle Trolley Tour” in January and February on Mondays, Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays. Viewing birds from the Veranda at the Starved Rock Lodge is good as well. Dress warmly though. This great viewing spot is right outside the doors of the Great Room. If you’d like some exercise, take a hike on one of the trails at the Starved Rock State Park. One trail begins right at the Veranda. For a birds eye view, hike to the top of the Rock. Another popular event is "Eagle Watch Weekend" with activites both at the Starved Rock Lodge and the Illinois Waterway Visitors Center.
Eagle Watching in Alton
Illinois boasts the largest concentration of wintering American bald eagles in the continental U.S., and the Alton area is a great place to see them. Mingle with a live eagle at the National Great Rivers Museum. Get a bird’s-eye view from eight stories high as majestic eagles soar along the Mississippi River at the adjacent Melvin Price Locks & Dam. Or drive along on an exciting eagle-watching expedition with a nature expert at Pere Marquette State Park during Bald Eagle Days, held from late December through mid-February.
Bald Eagle Watching in the Cache River Wetlands
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.
Historic Trolley Tour
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 Visitor Center where you will see a short video of the area. You will also travel to the 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. $12 Adults, $10 Seniors, $8 Child 10 and under. 2014 Dates: JUNE – OCTOBER- Tuesday – 3:00pm, Thursday – 3:00pm, Saturday – 3:00pm, Sunday – 12:00pm & 1:30pm. November & December- Saturday - 12:00pm & 1:30pm, Sunday - 12:00pm & 1:30pm.
Take a Hike & a Lunch - Starved Rock Canyons
Join us for a guided hike from the Lodge to LaSalle and Tonti Canyons. Participants meet in the hotel main lobby of the Lodge to pick up a lunch and a “Starved Rock” backpack. Hikers will stop for lunch once they reach a Canyon. The tour concludes at the Lodge about 2:00pm. Please dress for the weather and wear appropriate footwear. Hike will be around 4.5 miles round trip. This hike is classified as strenuous. Lunch includes: your choice of turkey, ham or PB&J, bag of chips, homemade granola bar, piece of fruit and a bottle of water. Advanced reservations are required as space is limited. For more information or to book, call 815-220-7386 Saturday hikes will go to LaSalle Canyon. Depart from Lodge and hikers will stop for lunch once they reach LaSalle Canyon. After lunch, the hike continues to Eagle Cliff and Lover’s Leap. The tour concludes at the Lodge around 2:30 pm. Sunday hikes will go to St. Louis Canyon. The hike will depart from the Lodge and go to the top of Starved Rock then hike to Aurora Canyon. After Aurora Canyon, hikers will go to St. Louis Canyon and stop for lunch. After lunch, the hike continues back to the Lodge and ends around 2:30 pm. Saturday & Sundays through November, 11am-2pm. $17 per person.
History Comes Alive
Daily Living History Programs at the Lincoln historic sites and throughout downtown Springfield. Most programs are free. For a complete schedule, go to visitspringfieldillinois.com
Starved Rock Photography Club
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.
Trolley Tours - Starved Rock
Board a trolley outside of the Great Hall area of the Lodge. Learn about the rich history and legends of Starved Rock State Park and Lodge. Travel to the Lock and Dam, through historic downtown Utica and the Starved Rock Visitor Center. Reservations are recommended. April & May: Saturday 3-4:30 & Sunday 12-1:30, 1:30-3 & 3-4:30. Jun. 1, 2015 - Oct. 31, 2015 , Mon-Sat 3:00pm - 4:30pm, Sun 12:00pm-1:30pm, 1:30pm - 3:00pm, 3:00pm - 4:30pm. June-October: Monday-Saturday 3-4:30 pm, Sundays 12:00-1:30, 1:30-3 & 3-4:30. For more information or to book, call 815-220-7386.
Starved Rock Walkers Club
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).
Quincy Classic Boat Show
Quincy Classic Boat Show! Join us at Kessler Park! Classic boats will be making a 17 mile Mississippi River Run from Mark Twain’s home town of Hannibal, MO to Quincy, IL. FREE registration for participants - Also during the event is the self-powered boat sale and swap meet in Kesler Park. For anyone wanting to buy or sell a row boat. For more information or to register your classic boat visit www.quincyboatshow.com
Fall Foliage River Float
Take in the rich fall colors and enjoy a gentle float down the beautiful Sangamon River. Food, music and entertainment.
Mazon Creek Fossil Tour
Take advantage of this unique opportunity to learn about the environment, ecosystems, and climate of Northern Illinois as it was 300 million years ago by collecting fossil specimens at the Mazon Fossil Beds. The adventure begins with a hayride to the original site of the discoveries along the Mazon Creek as it was in the mid-1800s and the opportunity to collect the unique concretions such as ferns and horsetails. Bring a bucket, rock hammer, shoes to wear in the creek, and casual clothing. Everyone will have specimens to take home to remember the day. Afterwards, more fun is to be had with cocktails and al fresco dining to celebrate your finds. All proceeds will go to the Canal Corridor Association to help preserve I & M Canal history, protect its environment, and create tourism.