Showing 1-96 of 273 items found in Outdoors & Play
City of Zion - Shiloh Park
Whether it’s by offering wholesome programs, activities and special events, by providing enjoyable facilities or by preserving the aesthetic beauty of the community, the sole purpose of Zion Park District is the enrichment of lives.
Silver Springs State Fish and Wildlife Area
A pool of clear bubbling water which sparkles like silver on sunny days provides the basis for the name of Silver Springs State Fish and Wildlife Area. Even on extremely cold days, this pool does not freeze, and visitors marvel at the bordering beds of watercress. Majestic oaks and prairie grasslands provide a panorama of natural beauty to park visitors. The Fox River runs through this picturesque area which is also home to several small manmade lakes. A natural prairie restoration project gives visitors a feeling of the original landscape with native wildflowers, songbirds, waterfowl and upland game. Picnicking, fishing and hiking are popular pastimes in summer, with ice fishing, sledding, ice skating and cross-country ski trails available for the winter sports lover. For relaxing, exercising or just enjoying nature, Silver Springs is the perfect get away location.
Woodridge Town Centre
A multipurpose open play area, Woodridge Town Center hosts a variety of festivals in Woodridge.
Splash around at the Aquatic Center. Climb up four stories and launch down your choice of two waterslides with more than 320 feet of winding turns and diving wells, or take a dip in the pool.
CITY: Wood River
Artesian Well at Paradise Cove
Nestled along Indian Creek is a natural artesian well where thousands of gallons of pure water flow each day - as it has since 1927. A ten foot water wheel is turned continually by the flowing water. The site, which is accessed by Stephenson County's only covered bridge, includes a waterfall, large flower beds and gazebo to enjoy while sipping the bubbling water. Open: 7 am - 8 pm.
Little Red Schoolhouse Nature Center - Willow Springs
Forest preserve nature center designed to educate the public about the importance of wildlife and our environment.
CITY: Willow Springs
Columbia Woods Forest Preserve
A River Thru History
CITY: Willow Springs
Wayne Fitzgerrell State Park
3,300-acre peninsula in Rend Lake. Beautiful park offering boating, camping, and picnicking with shelters. Programs include pheasant hunting, field trials, and bass tournaments. Bicycle, horse trails, and stables.
Consisting of the Robert McCormick Mansion Museum, the First Division Military Museum, ten acres of gardens and parks, 27-hole championship golf course and nine-hole Cantigny Youth Links.
Veterans Memorial Park
Veterans Memorial Park in Westmont
The newly renovated Bowen park's theme for their new playground is "Forest Findings". The overall layout offers tiered play areas arranged on the northwest hillside of Bowen Park. Fun and learning will go hand-in-hand as children and their families enjoy modern playground amenities, combined with several environmental learning stations that represent a forest ecosystem. Parents and kids alike will also enjoy the six-station fitness/exercise trail located on the perimeter of the playground.
Bonnie Brook Golf Course & Banquet Facility
Bonnie Brook is one of the most popular public courses in Lake County, boasting a meticulously manicured 18-hole course with rolling, wooded terrain. Its natural, picturesque landscape offers golfers the ability to enjoy tree-lined fairways, spacious greens, small lakes and the beauty of the north branch of the Waukegan River, which flows gently throughout the course. With a course length of 6,701 yards, Bonnie Brook offers championship golfers a solid test while being friendly and forgiving to the high handicappers. The clubhouse features a Indoor Golf and Learning Center which houses a P3Proswing Simulator. The simulator and its software helps analyze a player's swing and provides guidance how to improve their game and is available on an appointment basis only.
Lakewood Forest Preserve
Tunnel Hill State Trail
Rolling agricultural fields, reclaimed strip mines, ravines, rocky streams and wooded bluffs dominate the northern half of the Tunnel Hill State Trail. With 47.8 miles (one-way) of crushed gravel surface, extended inclines and dark tunnels, this trail is a difficult one, but one not to pass up, as long as you’re up for the challenge. The southern half of the trail explodes with scenery that includes bottomland woods, ponds, streams and marshes. The trail, which winds through seven towns, even touches upon a handful of ghost towns that faded into the landscape after the trains here stopped running.
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.
Vernon Hills Golf Course
This golf course has been ranked as one of the top ten 9 hole golf courses in Chicagoland. Situated in Vernon Hills, this challenging 9-hole municipal course boasts small greens, rolling terrain, tight fairways and seven holes featuring water. Golfers of all skill levels will appreciate both the playability and the eye-catching views. The full-service clubhouse features a varied lunch menu, which is served all day and a full-service bar. Banquet facilities available for up to 80 people.
CITY: Vernon Hills
Vernon Hills Park District Sullivan Community Center
Overlooking park land, the Community Room, equipped with a stage and kitchen, can serve 260 dinner guests or 400 people theater seating. Smaller meeting rooms with a capacity of 10-140 people including a gymnasium rental are also available.
CITY: Vernon Hills
Located across from the Statehouse in Vandalia, the park features a life-size, bronze statue of Abraham Lincoln. This is a favorite spot for photos with the 16th president.
Starved Rock State Park
Seasonal waterfalls, awe-inspiring bluffs and rugged canyons dominate the storied landscape at Starved Rock. Rich with history and beauty, Starved Rock’s hiking trails meander through towering trees and scenic overlooks along the Illinois River. Outdoor activities include hiking, canoeing, paddle boat cruises, cross-country skiing, trolley rides, fishing and picnicking. Visitors can stay at the historic Starved Rock Lodge or in one of its cozy cabins.
Matthiessen State Park - Cross Country Skiing
Five miles of scenic trails amidst a spectacular geological backdrop enable hikers, mountain bikers, horseback riders, runners and cross-country skiers to experience a peaceful jaunt through the park, while families congregate around fully-equipped, shaded picnic areas neighboring playgrounds, trailheads and 17th-Century restored French fort.
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.
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.
Urbana Indoor Aquatic Center
The Indoor Aquatic Center has a recreational and competition pool, a beach-like entry and a water playground.
Anita Purves Nature Center
Located at the north end of Crystal Lake Park, this environmental education facility is a natural resource to individuals, families and groups interested in learning more about the outdoors. The Nature Center features four multi-purpose rooms, an exhibit field station, an Observation Room, the Audubon Nature Shop and an Educator Resource Room. The adjacent Busey Woods is perfect for hiking and bird watching.
Wandell Sculpture Garden
The Wandell Sculpture Garden was established in honor of Willett and Celia Wandell in 1998. This unique, free outdoor sculpture garden sits among 22 acres of recreated Illinois tallgrass prairie in 130-acre Meadowbrook Park. While walking the looped paths, one can encounter bikers, joggers and other sculpture lovers as the park serves both recreational and educational purposes. Works from local artists with ties to the University of Illinois grace the garden, as well as pieces from artists who reside in New York, California and New Mexico. The garden has both permanent sculptures and some that are rotated every second or third year, keeping it fresh for visitors. Open daily from dawn to dusk.
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.
The University of Illinois Pollinitarium is the first free-standing science center in the nation devoted to flowering plants and their pollinators. Its location in the midst of the Arboretum brings together flowers and pollinators physically and conceptually. Changing exhibits relate to world events and ongoing research on pollinators. Guests can explore beekeeping equipment, see live demonstrations and play interactive games. Because so much depends on pollination, the UI Pollinatarium is dedicated to increasing awareness and appreciation of pollination as a remarkable ecological partnership and an essential ecosystem service.
Nathan Manilow Sculpture Park
Sited outdoors over some 300 acres, the 21-piece collection contains monumental works by many of the 20th century's most important sculptors, including Puryear, Nauman, Disuvero and Hunt.
CITY: University Park
Mississippi River Lodge
Our Mississippi River Lodge is located right on the banks on the Mighty Mississippi River between Savanna and Thomson Illinois and offers awe-inspiring views from every angle. We offer 4 bedrooms, 3 baths, living room with fireplace & big screen TV, deck with grill, a fully stocked kitchen and much more! If you are a river lover, this is the place for you. Fishing, water skiing, tubing, or cruising up the river, it's all here for your enjoyment. Since we are located on Big Slough, off of the main channel of the river, you can have fun without having to deal with a lot of river traffic. Access to the main channel is easy if you want to cruise the river. Only five miles up the river is Lower Sabula Lake which offers a great new sand beach. There is a public boat launch only a quarter mile from the house and a dock is provided to moor your boat at the house. If you do not have a boat, you can fish off the dock or the bank.
Melvin Price Memorial Park
The 24-acre park has a pavilion, walking trails, and many other amenities. It is also the site of the Veterans of All Wars Memorial and the September 11 Memorial.
Wards Grove Nature Preserve
Wards Grove is the best “mound forest” remaining in the Driftless Area. 335 protected acres of woodlands with populations of sensitive plant and animal species.
Apple River Canyon State Park - Thompson/Salem Units
This 1,150 acre area allows hunting, fishing; no boating/biking. See postings/fact sheets at registration. Sign in/out at lots #1 or #2. The vegetative cover at the site is a mixture of steep timbered slopes and bluffs with grassland, row crops and hay fields predominate on ridge tops. The topography can be severe especially bordering the Apple River.
Rock River Valley Self Help Enterprises Happy Trails
Five acres of walking paths, water gardens, a green house, five-hole miniture golf, swings, and gardens were all designed and maintained by the developmentally disabled clients of the Rock River Valley Self Help Enterprises.
Great Western Trail
This 17-mile trail replaces the abandoned main line of the Chicago Great Western Railroad. It is a flat easy ride connecting the communities of St. Charles and Sycamore.
CITY: St. Charles
Fox River Trail
32 miles of biking, hiking and cross-country skiing featuring some of the most scenic trails of the Fox River. Points of interest include Carpenters Dam, Fox River Shores, Tyler Creek, Voyageur Landing, Shoemaker Nature Center and Fabyan Forest Preserve.
CITY: St. Charles
Kane County Fairgrounds
Open area with both indoor buildings and outdoor displays. Special events are held here nearly every weekend, including the famous Kane County Flea Market.
CITY: St. Charles
This 1930s living history farm features a farmhouse, barns, livestock, farm discovery trails, fruit orchard, garden plots and a picnic pavilion.
CITY: St. Charles
With special attention to individuals with cognitive and physical needs, this state-of-the-art park is both peaceful and accessible. Check the treeless treehouse for a towering view of the park.
Illinois State Fairgrounds
The Illinois State Fairgrounds encompasses over 360 acres of land that is fully fenced for added security. The landscaping and scenery throughout the grounds provides one with a sense of hospitality and homeyness. Springfield and Illinois offer the finest in services and recreational opportunities available anywhere. With over 1,500,000 visitors each year, guests will surely have a pleasant experience while making their own history here at the fairgrounds.
Horse Fair Park
Horse shows held at park several times a year.
CITY: Spring Grove
Richardson Adventure Farm & Corn Maze
Richardson Adventure Farm offers 5 mazes with 33 acres of maze fields. For example, there is the Finger Fortune Trail for a quick maze that only takes 10 minutes. On another adventure, the Quiz Maze, answer fun quiz questions to guide you through and if you have the wrong answers, you'll go the wrong way! Family fun at every turn in the World's Largest Corn Maze, pumpkin patch, & Christmas trees. Fans of the board game, Clue, will instantly recognize the similarity to our maze game, FSI Farm Scene Investigation. Also enjoy the 50' tall observation tower, a Zip Line that is 30' high and 700' long, the ZORB Ride, beautiful wooded picnic area, free campfires, 3 wooden bridges in the corn maze, pedal carts and trikes, feed the goats, corn cabin, concessions for sale and free wagon ride to the five acre maze (weekends).
CITY: Spring Grove
Sand Ridge Nature Center
Owned and operated by the Forest Preserve District of Cook County, Sand Ridge Nature Center emphasizes the natural history of the Calumet region.
CITY: South Holland
Devonshire Aquatic Center
The Aquatic Center features a zero depth pool with play equipment, a water play structure, drop slide and diving board. You'll also find lockers/showers and a concession stand.
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.
Shabbona Lake State Park
Shabbona Lake State Park has 1,550 acres of rolling prairie and features a 318 acre man-made fishing lake. Shabbona Lake State Recreation Area provides a convenient, natural haven from the hustle and bustle of daily life. With facilities for picnicking, camping, hiking, fishing, hunting and winter sports, Shabbona Lake is a convenient and comfortable retreat where you can refresh and reinvigorate yourself in a rare, unspoiled environment.
Atcher Island Water Park
All new tropical-themed water park with water slides, wading pool, unique circular drop slide, children's spray ground, locker rooms, concession stands, and more!
The Nest at Palisades Cabins
The Nest at Palisades Cabins offer secluded luxury cabins designed to provide charm, quiet luxury and romance. We’re located on a wooded acreage high above the Mississippi River minutes from Savanna, the Palisades State Park and an easy 20 minute drive to Galena.
Round Lake Area Park District
Round Lake Area Park District offers visitors a wide range of activities and facilities to enjoy. They include the Renwood Golf Course, the new sports center, the Prairie Grass Nature Museum, community theatre, outdoor pool/aquatic center, fitness center, child development center, teen center, senior center and acres of picturesque parklands. Private parties/outings at any of the facilities can be accommodated.
CITY: Round Lake
Restaurants and shopping line this downtwon area. Home to the Itasca Art and Wine Festival. Scenic Riverwalk takes you from the nature center to the waterpark.
Nygren Wetland Preserve
Nygren Wetland Preserve is a 721-acre tract near the confluence of the Rock River and Pecatonica River, making it an important stopover and nesting spot for many species of birds including Sandhill Cranes. The Natural Land Institute, a private, not-for-profit land conservation organization, owns the preserve and began restoration of prairies, wetlands and woodlands to the area in 2000.
Rockford Park District
Explore endless recreational opportunities, including some of the finest, most affordable golf courses in the nation, ice skating, hiking/biking paths and much more.
Anderson Japanese Gardens
Anderson Japanese Gardens has been named one of the highest quality Japanese gardens in North America by Sukiya Living Magazine since 2004. Inspired by calm and tranquility, this 12 acre award winning landscape is comprised of koi-filled ponds, winding paths, gentle streams, cascading waterfalls, raked gravel gardens, beautifully trained pines, and more. Master craftsmanship and 16th century traditional architecture is found throughout the garden.
Klehm Arboretum & Botanic Garden
Klehm Arboretum & Botanic Garden is a 155-acre living museum filled with spectacular gardens and rare trees. There’s beauty in every season from fragrant magnolia trees in spring and a butterfly garden in summer to the brilliant colors of fall and snow-capped evergreens in winter, when trails are cleared for walkers, cross-country skiers and snowshoeing. A 1.8 mile, handicapped-accessible paved path winds through the arboretum plus many secondary, chipped trails. Kids will have fun navigating the maze in the Children’s Garden. Klehm is dog-friendly and any leashed dog is welcome. Filled with four season beauty, Klehm Arboretum & Botanic Garden is waiting for you to explore.
Downtown park on the banks of the Rock River. Site of several Native American "Effigy Mounds," which have been preserved.
Great River Trail
The Great River Trail is a breathtaking journey along 60 miles of the Mississippi River. The route is a mixture of paved rail-trail, small-town sidewalks, dedicated bike lanes on the street and a stretch of road shoulder along the Great River Road. The Great River Trail begins in Savanna and travels south through many small river towns with traditions still steeped in the quintessential culture of the Mississippi River.
CITY: Rock Island
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
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
Black Hawk State Historic Site
Wonderful for families, friends for outdoor recreation. Additionally, the Watch Tower Lodge has hosted thousands of wedding receptions and offers a lovely setting in the beautiful historic park. This wooded, steeply rolling 208-acre tract, borders the Rock River in the city of Rock Island. Prehistoric Indians and 19th-Century settlers made homes here, but the area is most closely identified with the Sauk nation and its great warrior, Black Hawk. Voted one of the "7 Wonders of Illinois," this pristine park offers beautiful trails for hiking and walking only. Picnic areas are also available. While at the park be sure to visit the Watch Tower Lodge that houses a large reception area and the John Hauberg Indian Museum. The museum features Sauk and Meskwaki Native American Indian artifacts and displays depicting the four seasons and life of these tribes. A new exhibit tells the story of the Sauk and Meskwaki—how they came to live in the Quad City area, why they no longer live here, and, as the piece de resistance, a four-by-eight-foot scale model of the city of Saukenuk one of the largest Native American Indian settlements in the United States.
CITY: Rock Island
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
Get in touch with nature in this beautiful wooded setting near the Des Plaines River, where you can view local wild animals that have been rescued from the surrounding area.
CITY: River Forest
Ratz Memorial Park and Lincoln Park
Located in Red Bud, these parks feature picnic shelters, and plenty of playground equipment. Both are great places to take the kids.
CITY: Red Bud
During Christmas, Sherwood Forest is adorned with decorations and twinkling lights. Any time of year view a variety of animals, including turkeys, rabbits, peacocks, llamas, and miniature goats and deer.
Fults Hill Prairie State Nature Preserve
The preserve consists of nearly 1,000 acres of both upland prairie and lowland wetland marshes. A variety of plants and animals can be found in the preserve, some common, and some cannot be found anywhere else in the state.
CITY: Prairie du Rocher
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
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.
Shoppes at Grand Prairie
The Shoppes at Grand Prairie ~ a vibrant, open-air lifestyle center in Peoria ~ is the premier dining and shopping destination for the region. The Shoppes features an exciting blend of retailers and restaurants, along with our anchor stores: Bergner's, DSW, Jillian's and Dick's Sporting Goods. The center is highlighted by an inviting, lushly landscaped outdoor environment that features animal sculptures throughout the center, the nationally acclaimed Holocaust Memorial Button exhibit filled with 11 million buttons, the Caterpillar children's play area, and weekend entertainment.
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.
Middle Fork Forest Preserve
Middle Fork Forest Preserve, 1600 acres in northeast Champaign County, offers visitors a campground (53 of 65 campsites have electricty), brand new playground, swimming beach, fishing, hiking, boat rentals, cross-country skiing, picnicking, a Waterfowl Management Area, renovated meeting facility and programs. The campground now accepts online reservations.
Pavillion on the Lagoon at Mineral Springs Park
This beautiful building built in 1905, serves as the focal point of our community and is available for your group, family or organization's use. Comfortably seating 70 people, the Pavilion is surrounded with windows overlooking the lagoon and a large, wrap-around porch. Weddings, anniversary parties, baby showers, business meetings, and family get-together's are popular. This historic building is equipped with a kitchen area with counters, microwave and refrigerator, air conditioning, and tables and chairs. The Pavilion is handicapped accessible.
Adjacent to Paris City Hall, this extensively landscaped sunken garden features a serpentine brick wall inspired by Thomas Jefferson's design at Charlottesville and a lion's head fountain patterned after a park in France.
Lincoln Prairie Trail
This paved hiking and biking trail follows a historic rail bed for 15 miles across the Illinois prairie.
Kitchell Park and Chautauqua Auditorium
This 40-acre park, donated to the City of Pana by Civil War Captain Kitchell, features the round Chautauqua Auditorium, Schuyler Bridge, a playground and picnic area.
Center Children's Farm
Experience life down on the farm during guided family tours, or take a hike on the peaceful nature trail.
CITY: Palos Park
Starved Rock Adventures Harbor Villas and Suites
Waterfront family villas and suites. 1-2 bedroom housekeeping units. Deluxe and unique. Open April through October. $$
Saw Wee Kee Park
Saw Wee Kee Park sits along the south shore of the Fox River. Located in Oswego this park has an abundance of fun, advanced mountain bike singletrack trails to conquer. These 5 miles of steep inclines and quick descents will give you plenty of stories to tell your friends. While you are there you can also fish, kayak and canoe along the Fox River.
Lowden-Miller State Forest
Nestled in the Rock River Valley, just 3 miles south of the town of Oregon, lies a 2,291-acre wooded area that is one of Ogle County's most beautiful and historic sites. Its scenic qualities come from 120-foot bluffs along 3.5 miles of riverfront forested with hardwood and pine trees. The history stems from the individual who, in the early part of the 20th century, augmented the natural hardwood forest by planting pines. Frank O. Lowden (1861-1943), Illinois' governor from 1917-1921, ardently embraced proper land use and strongly believed in reforestation as a way to retard soil erosion. Over several decades, an estimated 500,000 trees were seeded directly by him or under his supervision.
Castle Rock State Park
Castle Rock State Park is located three miles south of Oregon on Highway 2. The 2,000-acre park includes rock formations, ravines, and unique northern plant associations. In one valley, 27 different types of ferns have been identified. A sandstone bluff, adjacent to the river, has given the park its name. Picnic area amenities include tables, shelters, grills, toilets, drinking water and playground equipment. Six miles of marked hiking trails have been developed, and a public boat ramp/parking facility is located across from the park's main entrance.
Lowden State Park
One of the most picturesque sites along the Rock River is just north of Oregon in Ogle County. The bluffs are graced with a majestic image of an American Indian gazing over the Rock River Valley. This is no ordinary statue. It is a 50 foot, concrete-reinforced wonder that is awe-inspiring. A tribute to all Native Americans, but more commonly associated with Chief Black Hawk, the statue was designed by sculptor Lorado Taft. You can enjoy many wonderful views of the Rock River from the park, but the best view of the statue is from IL Rt. 2.
Richland Creek Trailhead
The Richland Creek Trailhead serves as the main trailhead for the northern end of the Jane Addmas Recreation Trail. It features parking, a large shelter house with electricity, lights and picnic tables, a restroom, water and a primitive campground area.
Irons Oaks Environmental Learning Center
The Irons Oaks Environmental Learning Center is a joint project of the Homewood-Flossmoor (HF Parks.com) and Olympia Fields (OF Parks.com) park districts. The near 40-acre nature preserve is home to a diversity of wildlife and habitat types. See beautiful woods, wildflowers, birds and furry friends along the way. There are trails along both sides of the park which is located at Vollmer and Western Avenues in Olympia Fields. Please be careful when crossing Vollmer Road. The Park is open to the public daily, sunrise to sunset
CITY: Olympia Fields
Starved Rock Lodge
Full-service Conference Center in Starved Rock State Park. Dining room, bar, veranda, outdoor dining, indoor pool (for Lodge guests). Retreats, meetings, banquets, reunions and all-inclusive dream weddings. Lodge has 69 rooms and 21 cabin rooms in a rustic, wooded setting.
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.
Lehigh Memorial Park
Lehigh Memorial Park located in Oglesby has an advanced singletrack dirt trail two miles in length. However, what it lacks in duration, it makes up for in the intense network of trails that splinter off from it, offering very fast, large natural drops and jumps.
Middle Fork State Fish & Wildlife Area
The Middle Fork State Fish & Wildlife Area consists of 2,700 acres of grass, forest and cropland, and wildlife habitat. The area also includes a portion of the Middle Fork River, a State and National Scenic River, with over 1,000 feet of scenic corridor for canoeing and fishing. The area also allows for hunting, hiking, picnicking, and camping.
Guests have the opportunity to rent canoes, kayaks, and paddleboats to explore the rivers and lakes at Kickapoo State Park. Canoe and kayak trips (8 or 13 mile) are offered or rentals can be done by the hour. Following your adventure, guests can grab a bite to eat at the on-site Dockside Cafe which offers live music throughout the summer.
Walnut Point State Park
State park with hunting, fishing, camping, hiking and picnicking. Concession stand and boat rental available.
Oak Park Conservatory
Come and discover this botanical gem, the Oak Park Conservatory! Visit fern, tropical and desert greenhouses. Special floral displays offered in January, February, March, April, November and December. The Tropical Room also boasts birds and a bridged lagoon with fish and turtles. Private rentals are available at the Conservatory Center and Rubinstein Room. The Rubinstein Room is great for small events, while the operations room is perfect for hands on arts and crafts.
CITY: Oak Park
Spend the day tackling go-karts, miniature golf, batting cages, bumper boats and a video arcade.
River Trail Nature Center
Nature is wonderfully displayed in this silent forest that glaciers carved thousands of years ago. The prairie extends along the riverbanks, rich in plant and animal life.
North Branch Bicycle Trail
Bicyclists and hikers can travel this trail that runs from Caldwell and Devon Avenues in Chicago, to the Chicago Botanic Garden in Glencoe. The 20-mile trail winds along the Chicago River past the Skokie Lagoons and through forest preserves.
Newton Lake State Fish & Wildlife Area
This 1,775 acre lake features 540 acres of shoreline as a day use conservation area. Recreational activities include fishing, picnicking, hiking, horseback riding, cross-country skiing and hunting.
Rustic Acres Campgrounds
155 sites available April 1 - October 31, recreation building, swimming pool, lake fishing, boat rentals, tent camping, handicap access.
CITY: New Douglas
Lock and Dam #17
This New Boston lock and dam assists with barge navigation on the Mississippi River.
CITY: New Boston
Washington County State Recreational Area
The 248-acre Washington County Lake offers wildlife viewing, fishing and hiking, as well as 900 surrounding acres for hunting. The natural area also has picnic and camping sites.
Mundelein Park & Recreation District
The Mundelein Park & Recreation District includes the Steeple Chase Golf Club, Diamond Lake Beach and Barefoot Bay Family Aquatic Center.
White Pines Forest State Park
Enjoy recreation on 385 acres, much of it forest, with a state park lodge and provisions for tent and trailer camping. It is also noted for its vine-covered limestone bluffs.
CITY: Mount Morris