Showing 1,345-1,440 of 1,539 items found in Outdoors & Play
Mississippi River Visitor Center
The visitor center overlooks Lock & Dam 15 on Arsenal Island. See the observation deck - a great spot for viewing bald eagles in the winter and for watching barges lock through on their way up and down the mighty Mississippi River. Enjoy exhibits on the Mississippi River and a gift shop. Guided tours are available of the Lock & Dam system on Saturdays and Sundays from Memorial Day through Labor Day at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Tour Reservations are required!
CITY: Rock Island
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.
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.
Bobby's Bike Hike Chicago Tours
Tour Chicago on a cool cruiser-style bicycle and follow a guide who makes brief stops at the most popular sights, providing light-hearted commentary that will keep you entertained. Some fun rides include the Lakefront Neighborhoods Tour, Bikes, Bites and Brews Tour, and the Southside Gangster Tour.
World on Wheels Segway Tours
Peoria area’s only Segway tour and Quadracycle bike rental experience. Offering 30-minute, 1-hour, and 2-hour Segway tours as well as 30-minute Quadracycle bike rides. Gliding with World On Wheels is as fun as it gets. Use them for individual riding or corporate events. Open March thru November, weather permitting. Feel free to call for an appointment. Easy riding for all age levels.
Jonamac Orchard and Corn Maze
Bring your family out to our 65 acre site for a day of fall fun this harvest season! Open from August 31st through November, enjoy the horse drawn hay rides, 10 acre corn maze (Beginning Labor Day Weekend), kid's activity area with a barn, bale pile, tractor cab and more. Pick your own apples from any of our nearly 5,000 trees (Begins late August). Stop in our store and visit the bakery for apple donuts, pies, caramel apples and fresh baked bread, and fudge. Pony rides and a petting zoo will be available in the beginning of September. Apples: Akane, Mollies Delicious, Jonamac, Jonagold, Crispin, Empire, Stabrite, Braeburn, Honeycrisp, Pink Lady, Granny Smith, Red and Golden Delicious, Ginger Gold, Cortland, Blushing Gold, Fuji, Haralson, Red Free, Prima, Gala, Spartan, Melrose, Rome, Cameo, Tsugaru, Gold Rush. Jonamac Orchard is your family's fall tradition.
Named “Chicagoland’s Best Rainy Day Activity Site” by Chicago Magazine, the Exploritorium is much more than an indoor playground. It is a place where children and adults can come and explore together through interactive play. Make-believe in our costumed dress-up area, run your fingers through our water play area, make music, play with trains, and experience new heights in the two-and-a-half story maze of tubes and tunnels.
Splash Valley Aquatic Park
Kankakee's premiere water park offers splashtacular fun for the whole family. The outdoor water park encompasses a lazy river, three waterslides, lap pool, and two zero-depth entry pools. Group rates and party rentals are available.
Abbot Oceanarium at Shedd Aquarium
The Oceanarium immerses you in the vibrant coastal ecosystem of beluga whales, Pacific white-sided dolphins, sea otters and sea lions. You’ll also find the Polar Play Zone for kids, along with marine mammal presentations.
The oldest and largest continuously operating winery in Illinois producing more than 50 varietals and 25,000 cases of award-winning wines each year. Come in for a tour and tasting to experience the finest vintages, gourmet cuisine, and luxurious lodging. Tasting room and gift shop open daily. Complimentary tours on weekends. Gift shop featuring wine-related items, specialty gift baskets, glassware, and elegant home decor. Visit our website for events throughout the year including our renowned Oktoberfest.
Belvidere Park District
The Belvidere Park District spans stretches of the Kishwaukee River and Mill Race. It's a great place for fishing, biking and playing tennis, and includes a playground, picnic shelters, pool, swinging bridge and the historic Baltic Mill.
A visit to Wagner Farm affords you the opportunity to take part in and experience first-hand the workings of a genuine American farm. Wagner Farm is an 18.6 acre farm preserved for the educational and recreational enjoyment for all. See how bread was made in a wood cook stove, hear the rooster making time with his crow or milk one of the farm’s many cows. Explore the world of agriculture and rural life as it existed in 1920-1950’s.
Giant City Park Campground
Class A campground with separate tent and trailer camping for equestrians. Also, a youth group camp and primitive walk-in tent sites.
Poplar Camp Beach
Beautiful sandy waterfront on Cedar Lake. State certified Lifeguards on duty during beach hours, lap lane, restrooms, picnic tables and a concession area.
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.
National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows
The Shrine has 200 beautifully landscaped acres of gardens and devotional areas, including the Outdoor Amphitheatre, Shrine Church, Lourdes Grotto, Stations of the Cross, Millennium Spire, the Visitors Center with a restaurant and gift shop, and the Shrine Hotel.
Ski Snowstar Winter Sports Park
Minutes from the Quad Cities. Easy access from I-80, I-74 and I-280. Enjoy skiing, snowboarding, tubing, ski lifts, restaurant and complete ski and board rentals. Skiing available every night. Features 100% snow-making equipment as well. Great winter fun for the entire family!.
Prairie Fruits Farm
Prairie Fruit farms is a farm-to-table experience located in Champaign, IL that celebrates eating locally and sustainably. Working with Culinary Institute of America trained chefs they create multi-course meals using only the freshest local ingredients. Many of the vegetables and fruits come from the farm, as well as the milk, eggs and cheeses. You can even take farm tours and learn how they harvest the crops and milk their large herd of sheep for the creation of cheeses and milk. Perfect for kids of all ages.
Chicago River Architecture Tour - Wendella Sightseeing Boats
The Chicago River Architecture Tour is a 60-minute journey through the heart of the city. Led by an architectural expert, this in-depth tour traces the history and innovations of urban architecture in Chicago.
Starved Rock State Park - Ice Climbing
While rock climbing is prohibited, there are up to five canyons in which ice climbing is permitted when conditions allow. All ice climbers must sign in at the ranger station (Park Office) and must have a partner. Call ahead to check ice and other park conditions.
Stone Creek Golf Club & Resort
Nestled in the Shawnee National Forest, Stone Creek features an 18 hole-championship course and beautiful cabins. Stone Creek also offers a restaurant, clubhouse, and a scenic area for hiking and fishing.
Arrowhead Lake and Campground
Located on the northeast corner of Johnston City, this 35-acre lake includes a paved boat ramp for fishing, walking path, and campground. Only electric motors and canoes are permitted. You will find largemouth bass, bluegill, redear sunfish, black and white crappie, and channel catfish in this small reservoir. Pedal boat rentals are available from July-September.
CITY: Johnston City
Grosse Point Lighthouse
Built on the shores of Lake Michigan by the United States Government in 1873 after several shipwrecks demonstrated its need, this was the lead lighthouse marking the approach to Chicago. In 1999, Grosse Point Lighthouse was designated a National Historic Landmark by the National Park Service; the first lighthouse on the Great Lakes to carry that status. The Garden Club on Evanston maintains wildflower and butterfly gardens on its property.
There are formations of stalactites, stalagmites, soda straws, and more. An underground stream flows through the cave bed, and the temperature is a relatively constant 58 degrees.
Mackinaw Valley Vineyard
Experience a bit of Napa Valley in Central Illinois. Visit the winery, tasting room and gift shop. Enjoy the panoramic view available for weddings, receptions and meetings.
Camp Shaw was established in 1956 and is the best kept secret in all of beautiful Kankakee County! Camp Shaw is also a wonderful place to hold a variety of outdoor and indoor events. It provides overnight accommodation; horseback riding, guided trail rides or group lessons and weekend packages are available. It is also an outdoor, environmental science education program encouraging interest and participation in the balanced management of natural resources.
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.
LaSalle Canal Boat & Lock 16 Visitors Center
Mule pulled canal boat rides with period clothed storyteller, open May-October. The year-round Visitor center includes exhibits, programs, visitor information, cafe and gift shop.
Cross-Country Skiing & Snowshoeing at The Morton Arboretum
Explore a winter wonderland at The Morton Arboretum, where you'll find 3.5 miles of groomed ski trails. Bring your own or rent a pair of snowshoes or cross-country skis (in children's and adult sizes). Ski trails are open when there are four or more inches of snow on the ground.
C & A Robot Factory
This fun factory is the perfect place for LEGO fans ages 2-14. Come and build your own creation, and learn about LEGO machines and robotics. Children will learn about Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) while creating a variety of structures. Birthday parties, field trips and groups welcome.
Forest Park Nature Center
500-acre Illinois nature preserve offering 7 miles of hiking trails ranging from rigorous uphill courses to flatter, less strenuous paths. The center also features a natural history museum, spacious bird watching room, nature hikes, guided walks and a nature store.
Miller Park Zoo
Miller Park Zoo is the only Illinois zoo to feature the endangered Sumatran tiger. The zoo also offers 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.
Pheasant Run Resort
With 473 luxurious guest rooms, two championship golf courses, a renowned spa, award-winning dining and entertainment, three pools and extensive meeting and conference facilities, Pheasant Run hotel in St Charles IL is the perfect setting. And, while you're getting that special spa treatment or enjoying a romantic dinner or play, your children can have a great time in our Kid’s Klub. This special program offers supervised activities for children ages 3 to 11 years. Activities include playing games, watching movies, and making crafts to take home. Plus, every Saturday you can visit the craft corner where Mom and Dad can join in on the fun and make some seasonal themed crafts with their kids. Board games are also available for check-out through the Activity Desk.
CITY: St. Charles
Lakeview Family Aquatic Center
This outdoor aquatic center has a swimming pool, a zero depth pool with play equipment, 2 giant water slides, 1 small slide, diving boards, a video arcard and wet sand play area.An arcade, lockers, showers, concessions and souvenirs are also available! Children seven years and under must be accompanied by an adult 17 years or older.
Little Grand Canyon Trail
The Little Grand Canyon trail is located within the Shawnee National Forest. Experience the easy 3.6 miles of beauty it offers as you ride your bike or hike these fun trails that meander past lush wooded canyons, riverside bluffs, songbirds, woodpeckers and deer; while hawks and vultures soar high above the cliffs. Explore towering rock walls, eroded sandstone canyons, craggy bluffs and moist bottom lands, too.
Gateway Fun Park
Gateway features mini-golf, go-karts, an arcade, bumper boats, a kiddie track and Rudy's Restaurant.
Skydive Chicago offers the best entertainment in the Midwest! The 220-acre resort offers camping, canoeing, hiking, fishing and swimming, all onsite. Stop by today!
Galena River Trail
Scenic biking and hiking along a six-mile trail featuring views of the Galena River and towering bluffs.
Schwiebert Riverfront Park
Located along the Mississippi River in the downtown Rock Island Arts & Entertainment District, this park offers spectacular views of the Mississippi River, an open-air stage, interactive fountain, observation shelter, waterfront promenade, bike trail and digital playgrounds (the first installation of its kind in the Midwest). The park is also available for rental for weddings, receptions and special events.
CITY: Rock Island
Eaglewood Resort & Spa
Eaglewood Resort & Spa offers a luxurious retreat whether you arrive for a conference or relaxing getaway. The architecturally stunning resort, constructed in Frank Lloyd Wright- influence Prairie-style architecture, features upscale hotel accomodations, luxurious amenities, sophisticated technology, and a myriad of recreational options.
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 travels 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.
Kuipers Family Farm
Kuipers Family Farm is a 230 acre entertainment farm. U-Pick Apple Orchard September thru October. Orchard Store is open thru Mid December offering apples, pasteurized apple cider, our famous cider donuts, home baked pies, cream & butter fudge & country gifts and goodies. Have we grown a challenge for you at The Amazing Maize Maze open weekends only thru October. U-Pick Pumpkin Farm Mid September thru October features Scarecrow Acres where customers can enjoy hay wagon and pony rides, the Haunted Forest, a petting corral and much more down-on-the-farm fun! U-Cut or precut Christmas Trees Nov. thru Mid Dec.
CITY: Maple Park
Luthy Botanical Gardens
This beautiful spot features five acres of landscaped gardens including the Woodland Garden, Children's Garden, Herb Garden and several others. Tropical conservatory is open year-round. Outdoor Garden is open 8:30am to dusk year-round. Closed Mondays.
View the spectacular display of 15,000 flowers of 15 varieties, plus a three-tiered fountain and the Four Seasons statues that complement this exquisite English garden.
River to River Trail
If you want to truly experience the Shawnee National Forest, and Southern Illinois, then the River-to-River Trail in Illinois is for you. The Trail spans 160 miles of Illinois from Battery Rock on the Ohio River to Devil’s Backbone Park in Grand Tower Illinois on the Mississippi River, and it can take up to 2-3 weeks to complete in its entirety. With a combination of plains, bayous, bluffs and upland forests, there’s something for everyone to feast their eyes on. And, with difficulty levels ranging from easy to hard there’s a path for everyone in your party to enjoy.
CITY: Karbers Ridge
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.
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.
Splash City Family Waterpark
Surfing in Illinois? Yes! The FlowRider creates a perfect wave for surfing and body boarding. Water slides, a lap pool, the lazy river, a sandy play area and "Monsoon Mountain" make for a family adventure.
Argyle Lake State Park
Find serenity at this beautiful 1700-acre wooded park situated along an old stagecoach route between Galena and Beardstown. Featuring 95-acre Argyle Lake, the park is home to countless beaver dams and more than 200 bird species and 5 miles of hiking and biking trails.
Liberty Bank Alton Amphitheater
The 4,000 seat Liberty Bank Alton Amphitheater hosts a variety of events from community festivals to live concerts throughout the summer months. With the Mighty Mississippi River as a backdrop, bring your blanket and spread out for an evening under the stars. Check out our website for a list of upcoming events.
Lake Le-Aqua-Na State Park
This beautiful 715-acre state park with a 40-acre lake derives its name from a combination of the town of Lena and the Latin work for water, aqua. Lake Le-Aqua-Na offers a variety of outdoor recreational activities including more than 10 miles of mult-use trails. The large tracts of wooded land include oak, hickory, walnut and pine trees. Woodland flowers are on display, especially in the spring and early summer, and wildlife is abundant. There is boating, fishing, a children's fishing pond, swimming, picnic and playground areas, shelters, trails for mountain biking, hiking and cross-country skiing, equestrian trails, sledding, hunting and camping.
Starved Rock State Park West Hike
Starved Rock State Park West Hike offers a decidedly different set of attractions than its eastern counterpart. On this hike you’ll encounter a series of overlooks from wooded bluffs and rocky cliffs high above the Illinois River. This 2.9-mile hike varies in difficulty due to the large amount of stairs that need climbing. The dominant feature of Starved Rock can be found on this hike, via a narrow bluff that runs 4-miles along the south branch of the Illinois River. The park’s namesake towers 125 feet above the river, offering commanding views of the nearby islands and river. Some notable excursions include, French Canyon, Wildcat Canyon and Pontiac Canyon with sweeping views of the Illinois River.
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.
River Trail of Illinois
This 10-foot wide asphalt trail winds 4.8 miles along the former Illinois Terminal Railroad Co. path. Build in 1991, the River Trail provides a safe scenic route for outdoor recreation year round, winter weather permitting. The trail affords patrons the opportunity to experience the natural preservation of wildflowers, grasses, trees and wildlife. With direct access at the Park Administration Center, Bunnell field, and Taylor Street ball diamonds, and in close proximity to Veterans Park, Central Jr. High, West Park, and local restaurants, the River Trail offers something for everyone!
CITY: East Peoria
Galena On The Fly, Inc.
Hot air balloon rides sunrise and sunset daily. Reservations required. Gift certificates available. Groups welcome. Call for pricing and information.
Linden Hill Farms
Come experience a working dairy farm! Milk a cow, feed the chickens, and just learn what it's like to live on a farm. Located just 8 miles from downtown Peoria. Call today to schedule your tour!
Backwater Gamblers Water Ski Shows
Enjoy this professional water ski team as they perform on the Rock River with jumps, human pyramids and more. Great fun for all ages and admission is free. Shows are offered every Wednesday and Sunday from Memorial Day through Labor Day beginning at 6:30pm.
CITY: Rock Island
Pelican Harbor Indoor/Outdoor Aquatic Park
Illinois' only indoor/outdoor aquatic park features seven water slides, a lazy river, two zero-depth entry pools, a spray play area, diving well, sand playground and two concession stands.
Two Rivers National Wildlife Refuge
Near the confluence of the Mississippi and Illinois rivers lies a veritable bird-watching utopia. Visitors to Two Rivers National Wildlife Refuge can expect to see a variety of migratory birds, from waterfowl and warblers to Acadian Flycatchers and American Bald Eagles. In fact, Two Rivers is the winter home to one the largest Bald Eagle populations in the continental United States.
Proudly referred to as Chicago's "Front yard," Grant Park is a public park, 319 acres located in Chicago’s central business district in the Loop Community area. Grant Park’s most notable features include Millennium Park, Buckingham Fountain, The Art Institute of Chicago and the Museum Campus. Named for United States President and Civil War General, Ulysses S. Grant, Grant Park was developed as one of Chicago's first parks and expanded through land reclamation.
Chicago White Sox
The famed White Sox plays on the South side of Chicago at U.S. Cellular Field. Come for the hits, the fireworks and the fun.
Melvin Price Locks & Dam
Get the best view of Alton and the Mississippi River from eight stories in the air atop the Melvin Price Locks & Dam. Take a free guided tour and see towboats and barges as they push their way through this incredible structure. It's also a great spot to eagle watch in the winter.
Quad City Botanical Center
Rock Island's Quad City Botanical Center houses exotic tropical flowers, a 14-foot waterfall and reflecting pools with koi. Seasonal attractions include a butterfly garden and the Garden Train Railway exhibit. The Botanical Center also regularly hosts art exhibitions and special events for families.
CITY: Rock Island
Absolutely Chicago Segway Tours
Try a segway tour, where you'll enjoy fantastic views of Chicago's famous attractions. Explore Chicago by day or night with friendly tour guides.
Wild Reef: Sharks at Shedd Aquarium
See sharks glide through underwater gardens of iridescent corals and garden eels. Wander through a lagoon and mangrove forest, and visit a fishing village where residents saved their reef from destruction.
Bald Knob Cross
A national symbol of faith, this 111-foot-tall cross, when illuminated at night, can be seen over an area of 7,500 square miles atop the most prominent elevation in Southern Illinois. The cross is surrounded by the Shawnee National Forest.
CITY: Alto Pass
Chicago Architecture Foundation
Experience Chicago's world renowned architecture with one of 80+ different tours offered by The Chicago Architecture Foundation (CAF). Explore by boat, foot, bus, bicycle or Segway, and choose from tours such as the Devil in the White City tour, Lights, Camera, Architecture! tour, the Daniel Burnham Tour and many others. Interested in the boat tour? Only the Chicago Architecture Foundation and Chicago's First Lady Cruises can showcase Chicago's world renowned city architecture with style, class and comfort. Learn more at www.cruisechicago.com. Also offered: FREE exhibitions, programs and workshops, youth education, family programs and an architecture and design-themed retail store. Private tours and group tour rates available. Open daily 9:30-5:00.
Paradise Bay Water Park
DuPage County, Chicago's Western Suburbs - Check out the Lombard Park District's award-winning aquatic facility! State-of-the-art amenities are endless and include a 140,000-gallon leisure pool, bowl slide, zero-depth pool, bubble bench, lap pool, drop slide and much, much more!
Midway Village Museum
The museum campus consists of a Victorian village with 26 historical buildings filled with artifacts of the era as well as several beautiful 19th century gardens that depict life in northern Illinois from 1890 to 1910. Interpreters in authentic period dress are available seasonally for guided tours. The main museum building holds large group meeting rooms and exhibit space with a number of permanent exhibits reflecting Rockford's history and culture. Special events throughout the year include a World War II re-enatment, Sock Monkey and Scarecrow Harvest Festivals, and more. Free recreational path located on property.
Black Hawk Statue at Lowden State Park
At Eagle's Nest Bluff in Lowden State Park, proudly stands a 48-foot statue of a Native American quietly revering the beauty of the River Rock Valley below. Commonly called Black Hawk, after the legendary Chieftain, the statue was created as a tribute to all the Native Americans who once called the area their home.
Amazing Chicago's Funhouse Maze
This Navy Pier funhouse takes visitors on a 15-minute, full sensory experience that challenges and dazzles guests to navigate through a series of mirror mazes set in the great city of Chicago.
Raging Rivers WaterPark
Choose from four winding waterslides, brave the waves at the Breaker Beach wave pool or just spend the afternoon floating along the Lazy River. Located just outside Grafton on the Great River Road.
Lavender Creek Farm
Lavender Creek Farm grows fields of organic lavender plants. Walk the lavender fields, pick bouquets and browse the plants for sale. Lavender soaps, oils, lotions, candles and more are made at the farmhouse - the old fashioned way!
Volcano Falls Adventure Park
Play miniature golf on the ground-shaking Volcano Course under the shadow of a three-story erupting volcano or take it easy on the nine-hole Palm Course. Sharpen your sports skills in batting cages and the area's only soccer cages; enjoy "combat" with your friends in the Laser Zone; and race around the Go-Kart track.
CITY: Loves Park
Illinois River at Buffalo Rock State Park
The Illinois River slices a 273-mile long path through the state—its waters lapping along the shores of many cities, including LaSalle, Peru, Peoria and Ottawa to name just a few. It’s in Ottawa where the Illinois River meets Buffalo Rock. Buffalo Rock sits like a sandstone island above the surrounding land and the Illinois River, and offers sweeping views of this famed waterway. Whether you’re kayaking or canoeing, you’ll experience the shear power of the winding river that was carved by glacial melt water in all its seasonal colors, with its various incarnations of forests, wetlands, bluffs and prairies to enjoy.
Southern Illinois Wine Trail
Illinois' newest wine trail connects six wineries dotted throughout the southeast corner of the state. Visitors can enjoy both breathtaking vistas and friendly rural communities, all while sampling excellent red and white wines.
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.
Mississippi Palisades State Park
The Mississippi Palisades State Park, located near the confluence of the Mississippi and Apple rivers in northwestern Illinois is known for its steep cliffs and interesting rock formations, as well as its beautiful trails that lead you to some of those awe-inspiring giant boulders. One such trail is the Sentinel, clocking at over 1.3 miles it’s the longest trail in the park and leads you smack dab into Sentinel Rock, where you can take a turn at trying to conquer this monolith.
Kite Hill Vineyards Bed and Breakfast
Kite Hill's B&B is located on a 30-acre estate with a five-acre vineyard, all surrounding Kite Hill Lake. Start your day with a full three-course breakfast followed by a stroll through the vineyards or around the lake. After a full day of Southern Illinois activities, enjoy a complimentary wine tasting at the winery.
Located near the town of Ozark in the Shawnee National Forest, Jackson Falls offers arguably the best rock climbing in southern Illinois. There are roughly 60 climbing areas along the sandstone bluffs and freestanding boulders, each with multiple named routes on them. There are over 500 named routes in all. Most of the routes are 50-60 feet in height. The whole area sits in a very scenic glen. Most of the routes at Jackson Falls are sport routes, though there are a number of traditional routes, and a few areas suitable for setting up a top-rope. There are also many excellent bouldering opportunities here.
Phillips Park Zoo
Established in 1915, this free zoo is open daily, year round. Exhibits include bald eagles, wolves, mountain lions, foxes, otters, elk, goats, llamas, turkeys and peacocks.
Captain Swift Covered Bridge
Located one mile west of Princeton in Bureau County, Illinois is the Captain Swift Covered Bridge. Built in 2006, the bridge derives its strength from its burr arch design, an idea patented by Theodore Burr of New York in 1804. Made entirely of wood using 1800s concepts (it has an outer skin of Douglas Fir), the Captain Swift Covered Bridge is the only two-lane covered bridge in Illinois. It has a 16’-3” vertical clearance, a 28 foot minimum roadway width and a 128’ span over the Big Bureau Creek. GPS co-ordinates - N41 22.745 W89 29.871
Starved Rock State Park East Hike
Starved Rock State Park has a beautiful East Hike that offers canyons galore, each with slightly different shapes, sizes and colorings. At 6.4 miles of dirt terrain, this hike is moderately difficult. Cool, shady and overgrown with ferns, the canyons offer a plethora of trees and flowering plants—a true delight to explore. You’ll also encounter scenic overlooks 100 feet above the Illinois River. The real crowd pleasers at Starved Rock are the numerous sandstone canyons that were carved deep into the bedrock as upland streams drained into the Illinois River. Some noted canyons of worth to explore are Kaskaskia Canyon, Ottawa Canyon and Hennepin Canyon Overlook.
The Gemini Giant is a landmark statue on U.S. Route 66. The 30 foot tall statue is named after the Gemini space program and holds a silver "rocket ship" in his hands, while sporting an astronaut's space helmet that looks more like a welding mask.
Fever River Outfitters
From kayaking and biking to scooter rentals, Fever River Outfitters has everything you need to add a little adventure to your Galena getaway. The staff here knows the area well and offers excursions that take care of every detail—whether you’re kayaking to an island picnic or taking a scooter to a vineyard for an afternoon wine tasting. Want to explore on your own? Simply rent or purchase outdoor gear and set off on your own adventure along the many biking paths, waterways and winding roads of this scenic part of northwest Illinois.
Galena Carriage Co.
Historic carriage rides, dinner rides, "romance and roses" rides. Friday-Saturday evenings, 5 p.m.-9 p.m. Seasonal sleigh rides. Reservations recommended.
Fantasea at Shedd Aquarium
Dolphins soar, belugas dance and penguins parade in Fantasea, the aquatic show at Shedd Aquarium. The marine mammal presentations showcase the natural talents and learned skills of the animals—and their trainers.
Mississippi Explorer Cruises at Chestnut Mountain Resort
Jump aboard Mississippi Explorer's latest 1.5-hour cruise. Experience the magical splendor of Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife & Fish Refuge.
Adventure Quest of the Quad Cities
Adventure Quest of the Quad Cities is the perfect for fun-filled outdoor adventures. This 54-acre facility is located just off 1-80 & I-88 near East Moline IL. Make your reservations today and enjoy zip lines, panning for gems, hay rack rides, and wonderful hiking trails. This facility is also available for parties and corporate team building. An elegantly decorated 8,000 square foot banquet facility with an extensive menu is available. The facility also offers interactive games, inflatables, dunk tanks, water slides, laser tag, and more. Check out these annual fall events that include Pumpkin Festival the last weekend in September and the QC Haunted Forest every Friday & Saturday in October. Call (309) 523-3619 for reservations or more information.
CITY: Port Byron
Mercury, Chicago's Skyline Cruiseline
Mercury, Chicago's Skyline Cruiseline offers 90-minute tours for the whole family that include lake and river cruises, fireworks cruises, canine cruises and night cruises all departing from the landscaped dock on Chicago’s Riverwalk at the Michigan Avenue Bridge. Cruising season May - October.
The Water Works is an indoor water park located in the Schaumburg Park District Community Recreation center. It features three water slides, rapid water channel, water playground, diving pool, lap pool, gradual beachlike entry pool, whirlpool, family changing room and a nursery.
Fairview Water Park
Fairview has an activity pool featuring arched water jets, a polar bear slide and a water mushroom. The park also features six lap swim lanes, a deep pool with two thrilling drop slides, multiple diving boards and two sand volleyball courts.
Seadog Speedboat Rides
The largest speedboats in the country, the 70-foot-long, bright yellow Seadog boats carry up to 149 passengers and offer 30-minute speedboat rides along the lakefront. Seadog rides depart from Navy Pier.
Goebbert's Pumpkin Farm and Garden Center
Fall: festival with haunted house, corn maze, farm animals, and more. Spring/Summer: large selection of annuals, perennials, vegetable plants, trees, shrubs, aquatic plants, roses, planters, and gourmet food items. Admission is free - cost for some activities.
CITY: South Barrington
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.
Alto Vineyards - Alto Pass
This award-winning winery's original Shawnee Hills Wine Trail location (Alto also has a Champaign outpost) offers free wine tasting and a gift shop, in addition to spring, summer and fall festivals with music and food.
CITY: Alto Pass