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Chestnut Mountain Resort
Ski along scenic slopes at Galena's Chestnut Mountain Resort, perched high above the Mississippi River. Rated by Ski Magazine as one of the top ski resorts in the Midwest, Chestnut Mountain goes all out with a snowboarding park and night skiing. Stay at the rustic 120-room lodge, which has three restaurants, including the fine-dining Sunset Grille. There are fun non-skiing activities in the summer as well, including boat cruises on the Mississippi Explorer and the exhilarating Alpine Slide, which speeds 2,000 feet down a hillside. Or try the new Segway Mountain Adventure Tours, a three-mile guided ride through rolling terrain.
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.
Wildlife Prairie Park
A unique, 2,000-acre zoological park which is home to wolves, bison, waterfowl, black bear, elk, cougar, otter, and others. You will enjoy the park's spectacular natural settings, butterfly garden, wildflowers, lakes and restored prairies.
Chicago Flower & Garden Show
The Chicago Flower & Garden Show brings springtime to winter with its 20 lush gardens, beautiful and fragrant flowers, trees and other plants allowing “newbie” gardeners and experts alike to experience the latest the industry has to offer. Top garden builders create fresh designs, while nationally-known presenters teach visitors how to get that professional garden look. It's all happening at the Chicago Flower & Garden Show, presented by Mariano's, Mar. 12-20, 2016 at Chicago’s Navy Pier. Be among the first to see new plant varieties for 2016 and experience the newly-redesigned Navy Pier. Enjoy art, free kids activities, wine tastings, cooking demos from noted chefs, and a shopper's paradise of garden gadgets, jewelry, and more. Special rates available for groups. www.chicagoflower.com.
Shawnee Bluffs Canopy Tour
Shawnee Bluffs Canopy Tour consists of eight zip lines, the longest stretching more than 1,100 feet, which will zig-zag across the property’s bluffs and through the valley. The tour also includes 11 platforms high in the trees, three aerial suspension bridges, the longest stretching 180 feet, and two short ground hikes. A canopy tour is an exciting way to experience the flora, fauna, geology and history of the outdoors by safely traversing an established route of ziplines and aerial bridges between platforms built in the trees, and they are just plain fun!
Galena River Trail
Scenic biking and hiking along a six-mile trail featuring views of the Galena River and towering bluffs.
Alpine Slide at Chestnut Mountain Resort
Fun for all ages. Ride your own sled down 2,050 feet of terrain-tailored track to the banks of the Mississippi.
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.
Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery
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.
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.
Makanda Inn B&B
Nestled in the Shawnee National Forest this new inn is located just 1/2 mile south of the Makanda Boardwalk, adjacent to the Giant City State Park and only 15 minutes south of Southern Illinois University. Featuring four guest rooms, each designed for privacy & comfort. This eco-friendly lodging establishment features peaceful settings with modern touches ideal for business travel, romance, adventure seekers, wine lovers, and SIU Alumni, parents and visitors.
Lincoln: History to Hollywood
“Lincoln: History to Hollywood,” an exhibition of sets, costumes and props from the Steven Spielberg’s Academy Award-winning film “Lincoln,” has opened at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum complex, located in downtown Springfield, Illinois. Items of note in the exhibit include Lincoln’s office set, a vignette of Mary Lincoln’s bedroom, Lincoln’s gloves, Tad Lincoln’s tin soldiers, and the rocking chair where President Lincoln sat with Tad. Most of the furniture pieces in the exhibit are antiques from the Civil War era, not reproductions. The exhibits are on long-term loan from Spielberg and DreamWorks Studio. The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum features more than 40,000 square feet of galleries, theatres and historic displays that takes visitors on a journey from Lincoln’s humble beginnings through his Presidency. The “Lincoln: History to Hollywood” exhibit will be located in Union Station, across the street from the presidential museum.
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.
Anthony Acres Resort
Anthony Acres Resort has picturesque views of Lake Sara. The resort is only five minutes from Effingham, so you can come into town and enjoy some food or shop.
Famous Fossil Vineyard & Winery
The name Famous Fossil was inspired by the many fossils emerging from the earth as grapevines were planted. Sculpted and reshaped over thousands of years, the rolling hills are now home to over 12 varieties of red and white wine grapes. You’ll taste Marquette, Frontenac and St. Croix in our red wines and LaCrescent, Traminette or our blend of Prairie Star, LaCrosse and Brianna in our whites. Looking for a sweet wine? You’ll fall in love with our Blackberry, Red Raspberry and our “pie-in-a-glass” Summer Rhubarb wine. Enjoy a glass of wine in our tasting room and snack on our delicious Sweet & Savory Plate filled with local cheeses, sausage, crackers and more. We’re open year round with events and festivals every month including painting classes with local artists, wagon tours through the vineyard, and our Fossil Fest in August and Garlic Fest in October. Our beautiful Oak Barrel Room overlooking our vineyard is available for parties, showers and meetings. So come see our vineyard, watch wine being made and taste the best of the Midwest at Famous Fossil Winery. Open daily from 11-6. Visit www.famousfossilwinery.com to learn more.
Peace of Earth Lodge
Peace of Earth (an eco-friendly lodging experience) offers you the chance to relax and enjoy nature in a comfortable homey atmosphere in all seasons of the year. Guest rooms, cabins, and the ever-popular Tree House include queen-sized beds and a sitting/ reading area. All our lodging accommodations are television, telephone and internet free. Our great room in the Lodge includes a common area and dining room, both of which feature amazing wildlife viewing through the south-facing forty-foot-long window wall. Cedar decks wrap the Lodge and offer tree-top dining or relaxing. Take Highway 24 north of Rushville Middle School to Route 4 (Ray Road). Lodge is mailbox 41 on Ray Road.
Historic Town Square & Downtown Carbondale
Twenty-five historic buildings ring Carbondale's nostalgic Town Square. When Daniel Harmon Brush, Carbondale's founding father, filed the original 56-acre plat of Carbondale in 1852, almost 10 acres were left open in the center of town. Today you can shop charming locally owned boutiques here, ranging from bike shops to furniture stores.
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.
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.
Illumination: Tree Lights at the Morton Arboretum
Declared a "must-see destination" by the Chicago Tribune, Illumination: Tree Lights at The Morton Arboretum returns this November with more lights, sights and sounds that will transform a Chicago-area wintertime walk in the woods into a colorful, inspiring experience like no other. Brand new experiences in 2015 include dazzling lighting effects on Meadow Lake, and Ornament Hill, where a series of glowing orbs create a glittering vista. Visitors can also take in new effects — sing to the trees to activate LED lights that rain down from the trees like shiny strands of tinsel and watch as lights dance, synchronized to updated music from the world-renowned Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
Ludwig Farmstead Creamery
Guests can tour the farm, watch how several types of cheese are made and sample some of Ludwig's products for just $5.00. Tours can be scheduled for groups of 10 or more throughout the week or on Saturdays for groups of less than ten or individuals. The Creamery sits on Feathercreek Farm, a 150-acre, fifth-generation family farm originally settled in 1866. The Ludwig family's primary business is the care and breeding of high pedigree, purebred Holstein dairy cattle.
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.
Lake of the Woods Forest Preserve
Lake of the Woods County Park is a 900-acre preserve that features an 18-hole regulation golf course, a 9-hole par 3 course and practice range, fishing, boating, hiking, picnicking, cross-country skiing, sledding the Hi-Tower bell carillon and observation area, a 3.3 mile bicycle/pedestrian path, the Museum of the Grand Prairie, Mabery Gelvin Botanical Gardens, building rentals and various programs.
Spring Valley Nature Center/ Volkening Heritage Farm
135 acres, natural history museum, handicapped-accessible trails, 1880's living history farm and pioneer cooking demos. Cost for some programs.