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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.
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.
Alton Hauntings Tours
Based on the book Haunted Alton by Troy Taylor, Alton Hauntings Tours offers an entertaining and spine-tingling trip into the unknown, taking visitors to the most authentic haunted places in Alton. Uncover the eerie folklore, ghostly tales and documented haunted spots on a three-hour walking tour of the city’s most haunted sites. Visitors will see sites that have become nationally known, like the old Alton penitentiary, First Unitarian Church, Enos Sanitarium and many others. The tours have been proven to be popular with ghost enthusiasts and history buffs alike, and nowhere else can you learn as much about the real, haunted history of Alton. Walking tours and bus tours are offered during two touring seasons – Spring & Summer and the Haunted Fall Season. Private tours are also available for groups of 20 or more. Reservations must be made in advance for all tours.
Mineral Springs Haunted Tours
Take an eight-block tour of some of the haunted locations in downtown Alton, investigate the four floors of the Mineral Springs Hotel, be part of a seance and top the evening off with a tarot card reading. All tours begin and end at the Mineral Springs Mall. Tour options include New Moon Haunted Tours, Waking the Dead Walking Tours, Cemetery Tours and Haunted Overnights.
J.E. Robinson Underground Railroad Tours
In the early 1800s, Alton became a safe haven for slaves escaping from the bonds of slavery. Because of the area's neighboring slave state of Missouri, runaways found refuge in the free land surrounding Alton. The tunnels of the Underground Railroad run deep beneath the streets along the "Alton Route." The area was a major stop along the Underground Railroad, hiding slaves in caves, barns and basements throughout Alton, Otterville and Jerseyville. Hear the slave's tales, feel their fear and learn about Alton's remarkable past on an Underground Railroad Tour. Tours available by appointment only.
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 mid-February.
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.
Beall Mansion - An Elegant Bed & Breakfast Inn
Indulge yourself at the Beall Mansion, a sumptuous Bed and Breakfast Inn located 12 blocks from the Mississippi River. Designed by Lucas Pfeiffenberger and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this elegant mansion features 18 ionic columns, eleven and a half foot ceilings, crystal chandeliers and marble and bronze statuary throughout. Let us pamper you with sumptuous feather beds, whirlpools for two, 24 hour "all you can eat" chocolate buffet, and optional gourmet breakfast in bed. Free Wi-fi. In room massage, spa, golf and corporate packages available.
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.
Illinois Amish Country
The town of Arthur is located in the heart of Amish country, home to more than 2,000 Amish residents and hundreds of charming countryside businesses, Illinois' Amish Country offers shopping, dining, special events and guided educational tours (some of which feature meals in actual Amish homes).
Amish Country Tours with ACM Tours
ACM Tours is a full service, receptive tour guide company with many special services available at no additional cost. We literally open the door to fabulous Illinois Amish Country! We are ready to assist you with meals, attractions, lodging and step on guide service. We have available trained, professional, local step-on guides who are well versed in the history, customs and folklore of this most unique part of Illinois.
Amish Adventures & Stellar Tours, Inc
Amish Adventures will give you an up close and personal tour of the Illinois Amish culture and religion as you travel back in time along our quaint country roads with our professional and informed tour guide. To help our visitors learn more about the Amish culture, we offer a variety of tours that are customized to fit your itinerary. Tours of Amish homes, Amish farms, Amish woodworker's shop, a meal in an Amish home and a Step-on Guided Tour of the Amish countryside!
Aurora Downtown Walking Tour
Take a self-guided tour of Aurora's historic downtown. Tour brochures are available at the Aurora Area Convention and Visitor's Bureau.
Lehnertz Avenue Christmas Display
This drive-through is where neighborhood residents display a part of the original Christmas story includes lights, sound and all the biblical characters: wise men, camels, shepherds, sheep and manger scene. Peanuts characters with Charlie Brown follow on Lehnertz Circle. All lighted and all free! (Lehnertz is recognized as the oldest, totally free traditional Christmas display in Illinois.) Crib Blessing scheduled 6:00 pm Sunday, Dec. 13. Enter Lehnertz Avenue via Sheridan Street, follow through Lehnertz Circle and exit via Ohio Street.
Whether you're interested in science or just fishing in the ponds near the buffalo herd you're welcome at Fermilab. Take a self-guided tour of the laboratory, the Art Gallery and science and educational displays. View the grounds from the 15th floor observation area. Visitors may also visit the Lederman Science Center. Performing arts and lectures. Groups welcome by appointment. Public tours are offered every Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. and as part of the Ask-a-Scientist event on the first Sunday of each month.
Illinois Lincoln Highway
Take a journey on the Illinois Lincoln Highway, a 179 mile National Scenic Byway. From the Indiana border, west toward the mighty MIssissippi, you will find an adventure filled with variety, rich in history and heritage. As you travel the Lincoln Highway route across northern Illinois, take time to discover each communities' unique culture and special offerings and find a past era woven together with the present.
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.
Built in 1869, the brick mansion boasts 14 rooms featuring Italianate architecture and local river lore history. Tours offered daily. The Historical Society hosts special events & luncheons.
Sousa Archives and Center for American Music
The Sousa Archives and Center for American Music holds diverse collections of personal papers, archival records, and museum artifacts documenting America’s music heritage from the nineteenth century to the present, as well as scholarship produced by nationally and internationally recognized composers, musicians, conductors, and inventors. The Center is home to the world’s largest concentration of original compositions by John Philip Sousa, one of many significant historical collections that document the American band movement and the early evolution of electronic and avant-garde music. The Sousa Archives strives to provide exceptional service, programming, access, and tours of our collections to all visitors.
University of Illinois Champaign Urbana
The University of Illinois is a world leader in research, teaching and public engagement. It's distinguished by the breadth of their programs, broad academic excellence and internationally renowned faculty. This Big Ten school offers rich experiences beyond the classroom from the best in performing arts to world-class sports. Discover the scenic campus through tours of the historic buildings and those that are pushing the envelope in technology.
Tall Ship Windy
Navy Pier's resident 148-foot, four-masted schooner pays tribute to the Great Lakes' rich maritime heritage during a variety of cruises each day.
Architecture River Tour with Shoreline Sightseeing
Enjoy a 75-minute Chicago River tour led by our experienced and entertaining guides. Discover why Chicago is known as the birthplace of the skyscraper as you cruise by more than 40 world-famous landmarks. Day and evening departures from two convenient locations: Gateway Park at Navy Pier and the Michigan Avenue Bridge.
O'Leary's Chicago Fire Truck Tours
Board a genuine open-air antique fire truck and take a tour that focuses on the Chicago FIre, and stops at two Chicago fire stations. Reservations required.