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Built in 1889 by Dr. C.M. Wright, this stately Renaissance Revival home holds three generations of Wright family furnishings, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
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.
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.
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.
Olde England comes alive in Historic Downtown Antioch with lifelike figures representing scenes from the Dickens Era. The Dickens Holiday Village is back and the handcrafted Dickens characters made by our volunteer artists will bring a Public Art Program that is free for everyone to enjoy! Antioch will proudly displayed 45 Dickens characters for people to tour. Each character has a plaque describing the scene and also serves as an educational tool for students. Take a self-guided tour with one of our Dickens Walking Brochure Maps or reserve a tour guide for groups of 24 or more. Plus there is plenty of Dickens Fun for everyone in November and December. You may enjoy Dickens Teas, an Antioch "Oliver" dog afternoon, Dress like Dickens event, and much more.
More than 35 miles of scenic trails, from Aurora to Crystal Lake, pass through scenic landscapes. Active travelers enjoy biking, hiking, jogging and cross-country skiing. Nature-seekers enjoy bird watching and tranquil vegetation. Routes include the Fox River, Virgil Gilman and Red Oak Trails, and the Illinois Prairie Path.
Explore the acres of woods and lakes, with scenic trails, shelters and beautiful views of Aurora and surrounding areas. Premier example of environmental restoration and a fine national oasis in an urban setting. This forest preserve has a 55-acre lake/marsh complex that provides excellent opportunities for fishing, hiking and wildlife observation. Hill suitable for winter sledding, strength training or kite-flying.
Take a self-guided tour of Aurora's historic downtown. Tour brochures are available at the Aurora Area Convention and Visitor's Bureau.
Enjoy the fusion of traditional Indian architecture with modern technology; Explore the various facets of Hindu rites & rituals, as well as the core philosophical precepts of the religion; Experience peace & serenity. All are welcome.
Formerly known as the Illinois Asylum for the Incurable Insane. Come take a tour and hear stories of the history of the hospital, employees and the inmates. See how this nationally recognized historic
Join Fermilab for an afternoon of science fun. The Fermilab Family Open House is a party for children of all ages to learn about the world of physics. Watch Mr. Freeze's fabulous cryogenics show! Tour the universe! Explore physics concepts with hands-on activities! Ask a scientist your physics questions! Take a tour, and more! (Advanced registration required only for tours. Sign up on their registration page online.) 1-5pm
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.
Enjoy a return to a quieter time at the Bethalto Spirit Victorian Christmas Walk. Stroll through the downtown area, viewing the storefront decorations, children's craft areas, snacks, costumed characters, Father Christmas and more. For more information, call (618) 377-8051.
Celebrate Bishop Hill’s agrarian heritage, this event features traditional 19th century harvest activities and demonstrations, hands-on activities, music, farm produce, and Colony stew. Hours: 10am to 5pm.
Take a look back in history and visit the Steeple building, built in 1854. Architecturally intriguing it is a three-story stucco Greek Revival structure with a two-story tower and 66 six-over-six windows. It was built to be used as a hotel, but instead was used as a dwelling, school, administration building, and later housed a bank, telephone switchboard and apartments. The museum is home to the Bishop Hill Heritage Association offices. The rooms and exhibit showcase historic artifacts and photos of early Colony days and take visitors back through time to a quaint prairie village. Group tours by appointment, small fee. Open Daily 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday Noon to 4 p.m.
Epiphany Farms Restaurant is committed to supporting, growing, and showcasing a thriving local food culture. We serve as an anchor for a network of local food producers by increasing community awareness of locally sourced ingredients, increasing interest in the culinary traditions of the Midwest, and providing a positive model for responsible stewardship of the land that nourishes us. Their "Farm to Fork" concept represents a concern for every step of the process linking the meal to the land that produced it. "Farm to Fork" means keeping money in the local economy and using only what the community can provide. It signifies attention to excellence: from the farmer raising the crops to the family sitting down in our dining room to share a meal together.
Travel back in time to the late 1800s and early 1900s and experience a traditional Victorian and Edwardian Christmas! Tour Ewing Manor, the David Davis Mansion and a Mystery Mansion in Bloomington-Normal and take in the architecture and history of these homes while they are decorated for Christmas. Tours will be at: 2 pm – 5 pm and 5 pm – 8 pm
The main source for information about McLean County’s historic and modern attractions in the Bloomington-Normal area is the "Cruisin’ with Lincoln on 66" Visitors Center. Located in Downtown Bloomington, the Visitors Center provides information on all of the wonderful attractions, events, dining and lodging available in McLean County. Their exhibits highlight two types of heritage tourism that is integral to Central Illinois: Historic Route 66 and Abraham Lincoln. The gift shop is filled with local products, memorabilia and more!
‘Tis the season for Christmas Tour of the Manor. Join us on December 15 from 5-8pm at Ewing Manor. Step into the past and enjoy the home Davis and Hazle Buck Ewing decorated for the holidays. Parking is located across the street at St. John’s Lutheran Church. Cross the light on the corner of Towanda and Emerson.
At home in the heart of Central Illinois, White Oak Vineyards is pleased to share their passion for wine, love for the land and German heritage. The tasting room boasts a comfortable, warm and inviting atmosphere perfect for gatherings with family and friends. The wrap around porch offers lovely views of the vineyard and surrounding countryside. White Oak Vineyards is also available for group tastings, showers, weddings, and more.
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.
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.
Designed by Louis Sullivan with assistance from his junior draftsman, Frank Lloyd Wright, the Charnley-Persky House is recognized as a pivotal work of modern American architecture. Docent-led tours of the exterior and interior of the Charnley-Persky House (1891-1892) are offered on Wednesdays and Saturdays throughout the year. The National Historic Landmark building serves as the headquarters of the Society of Architectural Historians. Photos by David Schalliol.
The Chicago Architecture Foundation (CAF) is a nonprofit organization with tours, exhibitions, programs and events for all ages. Visit CAF on Michigan Avenue to view our 1,000-building scale model of Chicago, shop in our award-winning store or participate in a fun LEGO® building event in our ArcelorMittal Design Studio. Choose from 85 tours by boat, walking, bus, or even L train, including the CAF River Cruise aboard Chicago's First Lady Cruises. Tours depart daily and are led by CAF's expert docent guides. Every fall, check out CAF's free annual Open House Chicago festival. Private tours and group tour rates available. Open daily 9am to 9pm. Learn more at architecture.org