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Illinois Route 66 Scenic Byway
The experiences you’ll find here are as unique, fun and memorable as the road is long. Route 66 defined a remarkable era in our nation’s history - and it lives on today in Illinois Route 66’s many roadside attractions, museums, restaurants - and the shining ribbon of blacktop we call The Mother Road. Illinois’ stretch of this mythic road boasts the highest density of kitschy, interesting things to do you’ll find from here to California. So, join us for the far out journey that never ends on Illinois Route 66.
The 200,000-sq.-ft. Scheels has everything you need to scratch your activity itch. From name brand equipment and gear for running, hiking, biking water sports and so much more.
Knight's Action Park
The theme park offers miniature golf, go-karts, batting cages, carnival rides and an arcade. While the water park features a wave pool, bumper boats, water slides, paddle boats and a lazy river. Catch a movie at the old-fashioned drive-in, adjacent to Knight's.
Original Brick Road
This beautiful 1.4 mile long piece of restored hand-laid brick road is a segment of 66 done in 1931 and placed over a concrete roadbed. Route 66 at its best.
Doc’s Soda Fountain
Located on historic Route 66, this was originally a pharmacy built in the 1880’s. The soda fountain was added to the business in the 1950’s. Stop in for an old-fashioned treat or ice-cream. Doc’s is also open for lunch and dinner.
Central Illinois lake with over 11,000 water acres and 172 miles of shoreline. Lake Shelbyville has 5 federal campgrounds, and 2 state campgrounds with over 1,000 campsites from tent camping up to full hookup. There are several recreational areas with picnic areas and pavilions and 2 wildlife management areas. Three public beaches are available for swimming on the lake. The lake also hosts many launching ramps that are available for boats, and 3 marinas on the lake. Many hiking trails also encompass the lake such as the General Dacey which also includes fitness stations, the Chief Illini trail and others.
Allerton Park & Retreat Center
Allerton Park was the private estate of Robert Henry Allerton, who donated it to the University of Illinois in 1946. It features 1,500 acres of woodlands, formal gardens and more than 100 sculptures. The park is open to the public for hiking, picnicking, cross-country skiing and leisurely garden strolls.
Hardy's Reindeer Ranch
The North Pole has moved to Central Illinois. Try your luck at the 6+ acre corn maze, the Grand Prix style race track, pick a pumpkin or a Christmas tree (depending on season), stop by the fascinating gift shop and, of course, see the reindeer!
Grady's Family Fun Center
As Bloomington-Normal's only amusement park, Grady's features an 18-hole mini-golf course, batting cages, bumper boats, go-karts and kiddie rides.
World's Largest Covered Wagon
The Railsplitter Covered Wagon, recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as the largest covered wagon in the world, is located on the front lawn of the Best Western Lincoln Inn, near historic Route 66. A statue of Abe Lincoln reading a law book sits in the huge wooden wagon, which stands 24 feet tall.
This zoo overlooking Lake Decatur is home to animals from around the world, the Z.O.&O. Express train, the Endangered Species Carousel and the Zootique Gift Shop. Family events and activities are offered regularly.
Henry's Ra66it Ranch
This quirky must-see Route 66 attraction, information center and souvenir gift shop is home to rabbits of all kinds, bunny and VW, as well as Mother Road memorabilia.
Discover cute boutiques housed in historic storefronts in downtown Champaign, including antique and consignment shops. Be sure to stop at PACA’s Architectural Salvage Warehouse, where you’ll find everything from vintage stained glass to ceramic tiles.
The Palms Grill Café
The Palms Grill Cafe was a well-known restaurant during the heyday of Route 66. Recently the cafe was revitalized and reopened, and is serving up delicious nostalgia from the fabled Route 66 era. The Palm’s Grill Café has been baking pies and feeding hungry travelers and residents for decades. Their pies are so delicious they've even won a few state pie competitions. Saddle up to the counter or take a seat at a table; either way, the pie and coffee with the community atmosphere is enough to make any first-timer feel like a regular. Conveniently located right across the street is the towering Bunyon’s Statue, another one of Route 66’s famous Muffler Man Statues.
Tuscan Hills Winery
Tuscan Hills Winery, recently opened in 2011, is on Historic Hills Drive, directly behind the Harley Barn. This winery is located on eight picturesque acres which helps bring an Old World Tuscan feel to the heart of Effingham. The owners are focused on creating elegant, approachable, and perfectly balanced wines of the highest quality. Wine tastings, along with space available for reservations makes this a must stop for group tours. Tuscan Hills Winery wants you to "Come as our guest, but leave as our friends." We welcome you to plan your next event at Tuscan Hills Winery - whether it's a beautiful wedding in our vineyard or book the space for your next meeting.
University of Illinois Arboretum
The University of Illinois Arboretum is a living laboratory, including plant collections and facilities that support the teaching, research and public service programs of several units throughout campus. Central to the Arboretum was the development of the "All American Selection Trial Gardens" established by a bequest from Miles C. Hartley in the early 90s. Other highlights of the Arboretum include the Welcome Garden, Hosta Garden, Kari Walkway and native ponds plantings, the Idea Garden, sponsored by Champaign County Master Gardeners, and the Japanese Tea and Dry Gardens at the Japan House.
Curtis Orchard is an 80-acre apple orchard, pumpkin patch and entertainment farm offers activities for the whole family. Open July 20–December 20, the orchard country store and bakery offer a wide variety of gift and food items, including pies, fritters, apple crisp donuts and award-winning cider. Outdoor activities include seasonal apple and pumpkin picking, kids play structures, a giant slide, several mazes including the corn maze, petting zoo, toddler area, birthday parties and corporate picnics. Weekend activities include outdoor meals, live entertainment, seasonal pony rides, and an orchard wagon.
Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery
Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery is Illinois’ first farmstead cheese making facility, founded in 2004. Visit this off the beaten path farm and learn about their cheese-making process and their “Animal Welfare Approved” Goat Dairy. Taste their delicious, award winning varieties of goat cheese and sample their amazing goat milk gelato and organic fruits. The farm is open weekdays for drop-in visitors to see the goats, walk the grounds and purchase farm products. During the summer, you can also visit the farm during Wednesday afternoon open houses. In addition to self-guided tours of the farm, you can get gelato by the scoop and purchase products from their farm as well as those from other farms and food artisans. Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery also offers additional food events in the summer with Dinners on the Farm, Third Friday Pop-Ups, and tasting trail events. This is a working farm, so check their website for hours and activities before venturing out to the farm.
The state's largest artificial body of water, Lake Decatur spans 2,800 acres, with 30 miles of shoreline offering recreational opportunities and wildlife vistas at lakeside parks and the city marina. Water sports include boating, fishing, sailing and jet skiing. While shoreline locations surrounding Nelson Park Marina offer miniature golf, dining, public gardens and picnic facilities.
Miller Park Zoo
Opened in the late 1800's, this city zoo began to house exotic animals after a traveling circus left behind a lion cub. Located on Historic Route 66 the zoo became a popular attraction among travelers. It is also the only Illinois zoo to feature the endangered Sumatran tiger. They offer many exhibits and zookeeper interaction opportunities that are enjoyed by the whole family. Some highlights include: sun bear, reindeer, Harbor Seals, red pandas, lemurs, Galapagos Tortoise, Bald Eagles, Pallas' Cat, Snow Leopards, gibbons, and Red Wolves. The Zoo features many large indoor and outdoor exhibits such as a Tropical America Rainforest, ZooLab, Katthoefer Animal Building, Wallaby WalkAbout, Children's Zoo, and Animals of Asia.
Enjoy a relaxing retreat at Sara's Sanctuary. Every retreat offers a different health and wellness experience, which includes therapeutic massage, aromatherapy, yoga or meditation, reflexology and Reiki. Each session has a limit of eight participants and four sleeping rooms.
Wabash Valley Wine Trail
The Wabash Valley Wine Trail is made up of five wineries located in the southeastern part of the state. Visitors to this area can enjoy the scenic Wabash River Valley, historic towns, and quaint bed and breakfasts.
Henson Robinson Zoo
The Henson Robinson Zoo is home to animals native to Australia, Africa, Asia and North and South America. Over 90 species of native and exotic animals are housed here among naturalistic exhibits. Special events are held throughout the year and provide many hands-on experiences for children and adults alike. Also, take a "Zooper Edventure" with the zoo’s education programs for children ages 2 to 17. Facilities include a gift shop, concessions and a petting area.
Prairie Farm features traditional farm animals such as sheep, pigs, horses, cows, goats, chickens, ducks and geese. Visitors are welcome to pet the farm’s animals in the petting area. Kids both young and old will enjoy crossing the footbridge that spans the farm’s miniature duck pond. Prairie Farm also offers educational programs and private party services. Open Memorial Day through Labor Day; Hours: Daily 1:00–7:00 p.m.; Free! (fee for trolley ride and some programs)