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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 early March.
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.
Bald Eagle Trolley Tours
In January and February ride the trolley from Starved Rock Lodge to the Illinois Waterway Visitor Center for bald eagle viewing and an educational program. Includes lunch during the week and brunch on Sunday in the Main Dining Room.
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.
2013 Bald Eagle Bus Tours
Guided, four-hour tours of bald eagle, wintering communities. View and learn about the bald eagle's habits, life history, preservation efforts and threats to its future. Reservations required. Bus departs from Stoney Creek Inn.
Begin your holiday celebration escaping from the chaos of the season and experiencing the enchantment of Christmas at the "Christmas Wonderland" holiday light display. The "Grandpa Gang" has been at it again transforming Rock Springs Park in Alton, Illinois into a Winter Wonderland. Visitors can drive through the park to view more than 2 million lights, cascading waterfalls of lights, lighted trees and displays, and visit Santa Claus in the Enchanted Forest. Christmas Wonderland 2009 will be open from November 27th through December 27th. The suggested donation is $7 for cars and small vans or $1 per person for vehicles holding more than 10 people. Carriage rides will be available with advanced reservations by calling Greatting Horse Farm at 618-458-6986. For more information about Christmas Wonderland, call 1-866-465-7890.
Alton-Audubon Eagle Festival
Join us for the kick-off of the eagle watching season. Activities include: live eagle meet & greet, preview of events at the Eagle Watching Hot Spots, kid's activities, crafts and eagle viewing walks. Learn about eagle watching - how to spot eagles, where to look and what brings the eagles here each winter. Then, head across the river to Downtown Alton for ice sculpting on the streets.
A Day in Eagle Country
The limestone bluffs and woodlands that line the Mississippi River Valley offer the American bald eagle an ideal winter roosting site. We invite you to come view the magnificent birds in their natural habitat. Take a day long adventure of eagle and wildlife spotting with Bluff City Tours. The tour includes: transportation by motorcoach or trolley, professional tour guide, continental breakfast and lunch at Pere Marquette. All tours depart from and return to the Upper Level Parking Lot at Alton Square Mall off Homer Adams Parkway in Alton. These tours are scheduled on Wednesdays & Saturdays in January & February.
Masters of the Sky
Witness the "Masters of the Sky" birds of prey demonstration. Come see eagles, falcons, owls and other birds of prey at this educational and informational program presented by the World Bird Sanctuary. Show times at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Admission fee: $5 for Adults; $3 for children 12 and under; 3 and under are free. Only 10 tickets per person. Also, there will be a free eagle display at noon and 2 p.m. for 30 minutes in the gallery on Feb. 16 - 18. For more information, call the National Great Rivers Museum at (877) 462-6979.
Eagle Meet and Greet
Come see live eagle demonstrations 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.