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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.
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.
Come explore Burpee Museum and its award-winning exhibits such as Jane: Diary of a Dinosaur, called one of the ten most important dinosaur discoveries in the past 100 years. Burpee Museum also features Homer, a sub-adult or "teen-age" Triceratops. Four floors of exhibits include Windows to Wilderness, a woolly mammoth skeletal cast, Pennsylvanian coal forest, a Native American exhibit, Geoscience, and a viewing lab.
Take a tour of Critter Camp Exotic Pet Sanctuary. Personally guided tours are available seven days a week year round for up to six people per tour, but all tours are by appointment. Animal lovers can learn about, pet, hold, and feed some of the 350 rescued animals, comprised of 30 different species. All income supports the rescued animals. Critter Camp is a non-profit, tax exempt, charitable, volunteer operated, no-kill facility that does not buy, sell, or exploit any animal.
Located in Northwestern Illinois, near Oregon and Rockford, White Pines Inn resembles a pioneer village with 25 authentic one-room log cabins with gas fireplaces. Set among the towering pines, the cabins have beautiful hardwood floors the color of maple syrup. Each cabin has a queen, hand-hewn log bed with a double bed trundle underneath, and a private bath. There are 13 one-room cabins with open-beamed ceilings. There are 12 additional cabins built in groups of four under one roof.
See a play or musical performance at the wonderfully ornate Coronado Performing Arts Center, which was once a 1920s movie palace and vaudeville hall. The Coronado still features its original whimsical details, such as gilded Spanish castles, Chinese dragons in relief on the walls and a faux starry sky. Coronado Performing Arts Center is the venue for many performing arts groups and traveling shows.
Play miniature golf on the ground-shaking Volcano Course under the shadow of a three-story erupting volcano or take it easy on the nine-hole Palm Course. Sharpen your sports skills in batting cages and the area's only soccer cages; enjoy "combat" with your friends in the Laser Zone; and race around the Go-Kart track.
Situated along the banks of the beautiful Rock River in Sinnissippi Gardens, the Nicholas Conservatory & Gardens brings the tropics to the Midwest. The entire facility is the third largest conservatory in Illinois with a total of 22,000 square feet, and at the highest point stands 52 feet. A tropical setting includes an 11,000 square foot plant exhibition area complete with water features, seating areas, and sculptures, all in a tropical plant setting. Changing seasonal floral displays, a gift shop and special events; educational programs where children can learn the importance of plants; special workshops and lecture series for adults; the perfect place to host your event--small weddings, receptions, business meetings.
This beautiful 715-acre state park with a 40-acre lake derives its name from a combination of the town of Lena and the Latin work for water, aqua. Lake Le-Aqua-Na offers a variety of outdoor recreational activities including more than 10 miles of mult-use trails. The large tracts of wooded land include oak, hickory, walnut and pine trees. Woodland flowers are on display, especially in the spring and early summer, and wildlife is abundant. There is boating, fishing, a children's fishing pond, swimming, picnic and playground areas, shelters, trails for mountain biking, hiking and cross-country skiing, equestrian trails, sledding, hunting and camping.
The museum campus consists of a Victorian village with 26 historical buildings filled with artifacts of the era as well as several beautiful 19th century gardens that depict life in northern Illinois from 1890 to 1910. Interpreters in authentic period dress are available seasonally for guided tours. The main museum building holds large group meeting rooms and exhibit space with a number of permanent exhibits reflecting Rockford's history and culture. Special events throughout the year include a World War II re-enatment, Sock Monkey and Scarecrow Harvest Festivals, and more. Free recreational path located on property.
Tinker Swiss Cottage is a historic house museum located in the heart of Rockford, Illinois. The museum complex contains the historic house museum, barn, and carriage house from the Tinker family. In addition, the property is the home of the founding site of Rockford and contains a Pre-Columbian Native American conical mound. Robert surrounded his Swiss Cottage with over 27 acres of trees, vines, winding pathways, flowerbeds, and gardens. A three-story Swiss inspired barn was added to the property which housed cows, chickens, and horses. On the side of the Cottage, Robert constructed a suspension bridge crossing the Kent Creek. At the end of Robert's suspension bridge, he planted elaborate gardens deemed the Railroad Gardens where passengers could stroll as they waited for the train.
The area's oldest outdoor summer theatre with four musical productions in June and July. Starlight's home, the Bengt Sjostrom Theatre, features more than a thousand seats, a stunningly artistic and creative retractable roof, new seating and an improved stage. Starlight Theatre has been named one of Illinois' 150 Great Places by the American Institute of Architects, Illinois Council. This prestigious award is given to places that have been identified by leading architects as contributing to their communities' quality of life.
Named one of the top 12 children's museums in the nation by Forbes in 2012, here kids can explore more than 250 hands-on art and science exhibits, a planetarium, TV studio and the Tot Spot for toddlers. Discovery Center also boasts the nation's first community-built outdoor science park, the Rock River Discovery Park, featuring a two-story maze, water play area and dinosaur fossil dig.
Trolley Car #36 is a turn-of-the-century, open-air trolley, the kind your grandparents might have taken to work, except you don't have to go to work. Board the Trolley at the Trolley Station in Riverview Park (on Thursdays, board at Nicholas Conservatory), ride along Madison Street beside the scenic Rock River Recreation Path, stop for a brief visit to the Eclipse Lagoon and Gardens, travel to the Symbol, then turn around and return to the Trolley Station. Trolley Car #36 is wheelchair accessible; however, the trolley is limited to 2 wheelchairs per ride.
Arts and humanities complex housing Discovery Center Museum, Rockford Art Museum, Rockford Dance Company office and studies, Northern Illinois Public Radio offices and Rockford Symphony Orchestra offices.
Taste soft reds, crisp whites, and luscious fruit wines all made at the winery using the best of Illinois grapes. Watch wine being made and then relax and enjoy a glass of wine in the tasting room or on the deck overlooking the vineyard. The Sweet & Savory Plate of meats, cheeses, fruits and chocolate is available daily for a light lunch or snack. Special events are help throughout the year including vineyard tours, festivals, and wine and food pairings. A small private room is available for showers, parties, and meetings. Visit their website to learn more about Famous Fossil wines or upcoming events. Open: June thru December: Daily: 11 am to 6 pm; January thru May: Wednesday thru Saturday: 11 am to 6 pm; Sunday: Noon to 5 pm.
Lions Park, at over 20 acres, features Splash Land Family Aquatic Center with a 180' water slide, zero depth entry, many shade shelters, wet sand play area, water features and drop slide. The Splash Land Mini-Golf offers one of the nicest 18 hole miniature golf courses in the Midwest. It has over 275 plant varieties, 4000+ square feet of water areas, three waterfalls and challenges that the entire family will enjoy. The course is ADA compliant. Added in 2014 is a 9 hole frisbee gof course. Quench your thirst and your appetite at the Splashland Snack Shop. Full restaurant offering sandwiches to soft serve and smoothies to salads - a true family food court. The park also offers picnic and playground areas, flower gardens, shelter house, a concession stand, volleyball and basketball courts, lighted ball diamond, batting cages and restrooms. A 110x110' ice rink is available in season.
This world-class water ski team gives free shows from early June until Labor Day at Shorewood Park.
The Pavilion at Orchard Ridge Farms and Copperstone Inn are a unique venue for an unforgettable wedding ceremony, reception and rehearsal dinner. An Orchard Ridge Farms/Copperstone Inn wedding offers the combination of rustic charm and sophisticated elegance that will create extraordinary memories that will last a lifetime. Our one hundred and thirty acres creates a majestic stage for your special event, a refreshing change from the average banquet facility.
With over 3,000 acres of rolling plains and two lakes, Rock Cut State Park is a hiker's paradise. It's also home to some of the best mountain biking in northeastern Illinois, offering 10 miles of dirt and sand terrain, doubletrack and singletrack trails. One of the loops is 4.25-miles, the Main Trail, which runs around Pierce Lake. Another loop snakes around the northeast corner of the park and leads through dense trees and hills.
Bobber’s is an open-deck, outdoor bar along the banks of the Pecatonica River. It is a relaxing stop for travelers by road or river. Bring your own pole or just sit and relax with a cold drink as you watch the river flow by. Weekly entertainment on the Pontoon Boat stage; never a cover charge. Open: May thru October: Sunday: 11 am - 10 pm; Thursday thru Saturday: 11 am - 1 am.
Hailey’s Winery, established in 2009, specializes in handcrafted wines from grape varieties native to Illinois, as well as other varietals, and seasonal fruits. Owned and operated by two women, Hailey’s is a fully functioning winery, producing and bottling award-winning wines in Byron, Illinois location. We strive to offer a variety of wines and an enjoyable experience for each guest, and want our visitors to feel completely at ease with wine tasting and selection. The winery is open year round, with tastings available any time during business hours, monthly live music, and tasting room rental for private celebrations. We carry specialty cheeses, sausage, chocolates, craft beer selections, and gift items. Guests may gather, relax and enjoy our wines in the pleasant tasting room, or on our patio during warm weather.
The Forest City Queen gives you an up close and personal glimpse of some of the most stately homes gracing the banks of the Rock River. You will hear about Rockford's humble beginnings on the Rock River and its continuing influence today. A variety of cruise options are available, from hourly narration tours, private rentals, family-style picnics, Ski Broncs performances, to elegant dining.