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Fox River Trail
Located in Algonquin only 30 short miles west of downtown Chicago is where you will find the Fox River Trail. This medium level trail hugs the Fox River between Aurora and Algonquin. The trail travels along the routes of historic railroad lines and crosses six bridges along the way while it changes surfaces between concrete, asphalt and crushed stone on its way through charming towns such as Carpentersville, Elgin and West Dundee.
Ballard Nature Center
Just minutes away from the city but a world away, Ballard Nature Center is home to dozens of species of birds and wildlife. Natural prairie, wetlands, butterfly and hummingbird gardens, ponds and creeks round out the outdoor experience.
A short nature trail along the path of the Cairo & St Louis Narrow Gage railroad used before it was abandoned in 1981. Starting from downtown Alto Pass, the walk offers very scenic views.
Amboy Marsh Wildlife Sanctuary
The Amboy Marsh Wildlife Sanctuary is 272 acre of wetlands offering a rare and fragile ecosystem, which includes endangered turtles, many birds and unique plant life. It is located near the intersection of U.S. Route 52 and Mormon Road about 3 miles south of Amboy. Open to the public 7 days a week for walking and bird-watching. No dogs are allowed due to sensitive plant and wildlife.
C.J. Smith Resort
For 84 years, C. J. Smith Resort has provided everything needed to enjoy a day of fishing and boating on the beautiful Chain O' Lakes in northern Illinois. C. J. Smith Resort is a family owned and operated business since 1929. We believe in providing exceptional service and reasonable prices to our valued customers and guests.
Apple River Canyon State Park
Apple River Canyon State Park is in the hilly northwest corner of Illinois in Jo Daviess County near the Wisconsin border. Limestone bluffs, deep ravines, springs, streams and wildlife characterize this area. Once a part of a vast sea bottom that stretched from the Alleghenies to the Rockies, the scenic canyon area was formed by the action of the winding waters of the Apple River. The park offers hiking, day use, camping and fishing, plus Millville, a National Historic Register site.
Hennepin Canal Parkway State Park
The Hennepin Canal State Park, a 104-mile linear park, is a rustic, historic, educational, and recreational jewel spanning five counties and includes the entire width of Henry County with access points in Annawan, Atkinson, Geneseo, and Colona. It offers an up-close look at a fascinating piece of transportation history. It is popular with bicyclists who ride from town to town exploring the history, dining, lodging, and entertainment possibilities as they travel. The canal multi-purpose recreational trail is a portion of the American Discovery Trail, a 6,800-mile coast-to-coast trail devoted to non-motorized use. It is also part of the Grand Illinois Trail, a 535-mile loop through northern Illinois. The tree-lined park is a refuge with prairie restorations and wetlands slicing through corn and soybean farmland. Home to diverse flora and fauna, it has become a favorite for bird watchers and prairie enthusiasts. It offers numerous year-round opportunities to boat, hike, bike, fish, ride horseback, snowmobile, ice skate, and cross-country ski. Explore Henry County’s jewel – the Hennepin Canal. In wintertime experience the longest snowmobile trail in the state -- 91 miles on the tow path. You can use the ice at your own risk, but pay heed to the locks, bridges and culverts where the ice likely is thinner than the rest of the canal. Bring your blades, skating along the canal is free! Keep in mind the rule is there must be 4" of snow and 6" of frost on canal for route to be open. Call the Visitor Center for automated message.
Weinberg-King State Park
William Creek meanders through this park, providing habitat for an abundance of wildlife. Set in 770 acres of rolling terrain and steep hillsides, Weinberg-King is popular in winter for its cross-country skiing and snowmobiling.
Oakhurst Forest Preserve
Explore the acres of woods and lakes, with scenic trails, shelters and views of Aurora and Chicago's skyline.
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.
A 32-acre park built in cooperation with Batavia Park District, the city of Batavia and the Batavia Riverwalk Committee. Park your bikes by the Depot Museum and stroll the boardwalks through the wildflower garden.
Red Oak Nature Center
A visit to the center will help folks learn about the native plants and animals of the Fox River Valley. Interpretive center, hiking trails, and tours of Devil's Cave.
Fermi is the site of the world's most powerful particle accelerator, where particles circle the four-mile ring 57,000 times each second. Restored prairie grass areas, historic barns and a buffalo herd are also on display.
Plum Creek Nature Center
This center features local natural history exhibits, hands-on displays for children, and family programs that are offered throughout the year. Picnic facilities and camping are available by reservation.
Cache River State Natural Area
Renowned for its ancient cypress-tupelo swamp, this natural area has been named one of America's 10 Most Beautiful Hidden Gems by Budget Travel. This sprawling area contains 100 threatened or endangered plant and animal species, and 11 state champion trees that have stood for centuries. Visitors enjoy birding, hunting, wildlife watching, canoeing and hiking. Bikers can access the Cache River via the Tunnel Hill State Trail.
Boone County Conservation District
The Boone County Conservation District manages over 3,00 acres of prairies, woodlands and wetlands in scenic Boone County, Illinois. Minimum impact recreational opportunities, special events and educational programs are offered to the public throughout the year.
Epiphany Farms Enterprise (EFE) is a “Farm to Fork” concept that practices sustainable, beyond organic, environmentally friendly techniques. EFE harnesses ideas from a wide range of agricultural theories, such as permaculture and intensive pasture rotation, to cultivate a multitude of fruits, vegetables, herbs, and animals. Pioneering a new food system frontier, they blend their farm and restaurants to create one self-sustaining organism. Tours of the farm are available.
There's more than 200 beautifully landscaped acres to explore at Brookfield Zoo. Highlights include dolphin shows at Seven Seas, ape encounters at Tropic World and the chance for kids to dress up and play veterinarian at the Hamill Family Play Zoo. The zoo also offers an old-fashioned carousel and a wide variety of shopping and dining options.
Devil's Kitchen Lake
This 810 acre lake with a maximum depth of 90 feet and a 24-mile shoreline is part of the Crab Orchard Refuge. It is stocked with rainbow and brown trout and provides largemouth bass, bluegill, sunfish, crappie, channel catfish, bullheads, and carp. Boat ramps are available. Boats have a 10-horsepower limit. Camping is available.
The largest man-made lake in Illinois (26,000 acres), is a premier location for outdoor sports. Known to sailors, it is one of the best and most challenging for sailboats. There is also boating, fishing, hunting, bird watching, sand beaches, and camping areas. Hotels, cabins and golf courses make the area a true outdoor lover's playground.
World's Largest Wind Chimes
With chimes suspended nearly 50 feet above the ground, the BEI wind chime is a sight to behold! The longest of five chimes is 42 feet long-almost double that of the past world record holder. The chimes sing gentle and deep as they strike the clapper, long gleaming lengths paying tribute to BEI's expertise in the pipeline industry. Stick around to visit the tea shop next door!
Lincoln-Prairie Grass Trail
two miles of paved surface and 10 miles of aggregate surface. Jogging, walking, equestrian riding and biking permitted.
Lincoln Park Conservatory
Step inside and be transported to another place and time! We invite you to take a journey to the Lincoln Park Conservatory where you will find tropical palms and ancient ferns right in the heart of Lincoln Park. Designed both to showcase exotic plants and grow the thousands of plants needed for use in the parks, the Conservatory offers visitors a tropical experience within its four display houses: Palm House, Fern Room, Orchid House and Show House, which is home to the annual flower shows. This historic facility continues to provide an escape to nature to the millions that live in and visit Chicago. No matter the time of year, Lincoln Park Conservatory is always green and lush. Come take a stroll and let yourself be transported away. Admission is free.
Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum
The urban gateway to nature and science. The Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum is a place where city dwellers can reconnect with the wonder of the natural world. From a hands-on water lab to a wilderness walk to the only international, year-round butterfly haven, science comes alive.