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Cruisin' Waves Boat Rental
Located at Mastodon Lake at Phillips Park. Cruisin' Waves is proud to present to the public Go-Float electric boats. Come on out and bring the family and enjoy this unique form of recreation and entertainment on the water! Open daily 12 pm - 7 pm Wednesday - Sunday (weather permitting). Regular boat rental pricing is $25/half hour.
Forest Park is a municipal park with the Chautauqua Auditorium, Vietnam Memorial, Family Aquatic Center, picnic areas, pavilions, baseball & softball diamonds, fishing lagoon (Crystal Lake), skateboard park, soccer fields, a youth athletic center, and more. There is an entrance to the General Dacey trail at the back of the park and the Memorial Sunken Gardens have been revitalized. The park is also home to the Festival of Lights.
Memorial Sunken Gardens
Started in 1932, the sunken gardens were developed inside Forest Park. The lush garden and its scenic surroundings are open to the public and is available for weddings, reunions, and more.
Creekside Outdoor Center for Environmental Education
Located along Sugar Creek, about five miles north of Lincoln, Creekside the Outdoor Center for Environmental Education will be an experiential outdoor classroom featuring an outdoor teaching pavilion, insectarium, greenhouse, and a restored prairie. It will include parking space, bioswales, rain gardens, and boardwalks and sidewalks to make the site handicapped-accessible. When complete it will be powered by solar panels and a wind generator.
The Friends of the Indian Boundary Prairies
Located only 26 miles southwest of Chicago. Over 200 acres of pristine Illinois native prairie, much like the area was pre-settlement. Wildflowers, birds, butterflies abound! Prairie slide shows and tours available with advanced notice.
Waukegan Charter Boat Fishing
Eight experienced fishing charter boat captains offering World Class Salmon, Trout and Perch fishing April into November. The Waukegan Charter Boat Association is the oldest and largest charter boat fleet on Lake Michigan. Experience Coho Salmon, Chinook ( King ) Salmon, Rainbow (Steelhead) Trout, Brown Trout and Lake Trout fishing on the western shores of Lake Michigan out of Waukegan, Illinois.
Springbrook Nature Center
The present Springbrook facilities includes a barn-styled building with a classroom, open area with activities, a large aquarium and restrooms. The land includes 2 miles of trails that are open year-round. Whether you are walking through a tunnel of prairie grasses or standing four feet above a cattail marsh on the 700 foot long boardwalk, the sights will take you back to the days of the explorers. Along your walk you’ll discover a flowing brook, shady woods, flower-filled meadows and prairies, and marshes thick with cattails and ancient willows.
Riegel Farm & Conservation Center
Riegel Farm has a very diverse group of animal residents. We have exotic birds and reptiles such as an alligator and snakes. Birthday parties, group tours, pony rides and hayrides.
Loyola University Retreat & Ecology Center
Welcome to 100 acres of prairies, savannas, woodlands, wetlands, and ponds- otherwise known as Loyola University Chicago's Retreat and Ecology Campus. Located in beautiful Woodstock, Ill., our retreat facility welcomes guests to visit our ecologically friendly campus and experience the great outdoors through a multitude of interactive team building activities. The Retreat and Ecology Campus provides a serene setting for overnight conferences, retreats, workshops, classes, and special events, while allowing individuals to connect intellectually, spiritually, and through nature.
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.
Von Bergen's Country Market
Our farm market features a large variety of farm fresh family grown vegetables. Our sweet corn is picked fresh every morning when its the sweetest. Tomatoes, green beans, pickling cucumbers, broccoli, zucchini and other summer squash, a variety of specialty peppers are among the fresh vegetables we grow here on our farm. If fruit is what you are looking for, you will find our homegrown muskmelon, honeydew and watermelon delicious. We also carry Michigan peaches, pears, nectarines and other in season fruit from the Midwest. We are a working family operated farm. We want you to have a day on the farm experience when you stop by during the summer or the fall. Our tractor/sand box play areas are available all during the season. Our own animals are always here for you to visit, but we do bring in more during the fall season. In the fall we have our family grown pumpkins, gourds, corn shocks, Indian corn and other specialty decorations. Of course we will still have the fall veggies, squash and more, plus the continuing of the summer treats! KNOW YOUR FOOD! KNOW YOUR FARMER!
Willowhaven Interpretive Center
Whispering Willows Park at Willowhaven Interpretive Center features open prairies, wetlands, interpretive gardens and 1.5 miles of limestone trails surrounding two scenic ponds. All trails begin and end at the Willowhaven Interpretive Center scenic outlook.
Fullersburg Woods Nature Education Center
Educational facility offering exhibits, interactive programs and interpretive trails that highlight DuPage County's unique natural history. Open daily. Admission free.
Lake Lou Yaeger
Lake Lou Yaeger, this 1400+ acre lake offers 45 miles of beautiful shoreline and several recreational opportunities. Visitors can enjoy boating, skiing, swimming, fishing, and camping. The 300 acre park has five picnic areas, two playgrounds, pavilions, grills, restrooms, and hiking trails. With miles of horse trails and a new equestrian campground with full hook-ups and shower house, Lake Lou is a great destination for horse enthusiasts. Milnot Beach has two diving platforms, showers, snack bar, and lifeguards on duty.
Richardson Adventure Farm
Richardson's Adventure Farm - Home of the World's Largest Corn Maze! Their name says it all! This isn't your typical fall farm- Richardson Adventure Farm is an experience you can't find anywhere else!
The marina is surrounded by a nine acre green space with shelter and electricity for picnics or family reunions; public restrooms with showers; playground; grills and picnic tables. For more information on rentals, the picnic shelter, or winter storage, contact the marina or visit their website.
Griswold Conservation Area
Located 14 miles southwest of Decatur off Route 48 near Blue Mound. Hike the trail up the glacial kame to the observation deck for sweeping view of the prairie. Picnic facilities and playground.
Friends Creek Regional Park
36 sites with pads, 20 extended-stay sites, 22 regular sites, electrical hook-ups, modern restrooms and showers. Reservations required.
Columbia Woods Forest Preserve
A River Thru History
Wards Grove Nature Preserve
Wards Grove is the best “mound forest” remaining in the Driftless Area. 335 protected acres of woodlands with populations of sensitive plant and animal species.
Wapello Land & Water Reserve
Experience Native American mounds, prairie and the Apple River. Hike beginner trails. Pets welcome. Fishing allowed.
Tapley Woods State Natural Area
This 260-acre timbered property provides public hunting areas, hiking and nature viewing.
This 34-acre park located next to the Big Muddy River includes a public boat ramp, picnic areas, ball fields, hiking trails, a pavilion, historic band shell and playground areas.
Willowbrook Wildlife Center
DuPage's premier wildlife rehabilitation and educational facility. Over 90 species of injured native wild animals are on exhibit. Open daily. Donations encouraged.
Get in touch with nature in this beautiful wooded setting near the Des Plaines River, where you can view local wild animals that have been rescued from the surrounding area.
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!
Ocean Farm is working to make a harmonious place where nature and agriculture complement each other. A contour strip rotation uses corn, soybeans, oats, alfalfa, and buckwheat. 56 acres are used in the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program.
Lakewood Forest Preserve
Schurmeier Teaching Forest
Two miles of beginner and intermediate hiking trails, educational signage teaches about tree and forestry practices. This forest is the perfect place to spend the day. Horses welcome!
Hanover Bluff Nature Preserve
This nature reserve is the perfect place to bring the family. Hike 450 natural acres, home of nine Illinois endangered or threatened plants and animals. Hanover Bluff Nature Preserve is The Prairie State's 150th nature preserve.
Dakota Nature Trail
The Dakota Nature Trail for biking, hiking, and cross-county skiing links Dakota Park with the Dorothy Wirth Nature Area. The trail surface is crushed limestone and follows a former railroad right-of-way. The trail begins on Main Street in Dakota.
Bicentennial Riverfront Park
Bicentennial Riverfront Park is a five-acre community park on the south bank of the Fox River. Bicentennial Riverfront Park makes optimum use of the river, with abundant fishing, plus canoe and kayak access to the white water chute. There is also a beautiful view of the Glenn Palmer Dam as you follow the trail along the river and the picnic area, playground and river-side pavilion are popular community gathering spots in the summertime.
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.
Keough Effigy Land & Water Reserve
Explore the past along Keough's hiking trails. Come and see its mining and Native American history.
YWCA Camp Tu-Endie-Wei
Trails, fishing, cross-country skiing, skating, cabins on Willow Lake.
Rall Woods State Natural Area
280 acres for public hunting, hiking, nature viewing. Area has native hilltop prairies and views of the Mississippi River.
Lincoln-Prairie Grass Trail
two miles of paved surface and 10 miles of aggregate surface. Jogging, walking, equestrian riding and biking permitted.
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.
Effingham Park District
Effingham has four community parks. All offer baseball diamonds, play grounds, basketball courts and great areas for family picnics.
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.
River Trail Nature Center
Nature is wonderfully displayed in this silent forest that glaciers carved thousands of years ago. The prairie extends along the riverbanks, rich in plant and animal life.
Hanover Bluff Natural Area
Sixteen-acre public lake located in southern Jo Daviess County. Largemouth bass, bluegill, channel catfish. No boating. Sign in/out at the visitor parking lot. 350 acres for public hunting.
Oakhurst Forest Preserve
Explore the acres of woods and lakes, with scenic trails, shelters and views of Aurora and Chicago's skyline.
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.
Sand Ridge Nature Center
Owned and operated by the Forest Preserve District of Cook County, Sand Ridge Nature Center emphasizes the natural history of the Calumet region.
Goose Lake Prairie State Natural Area
Largest tall grass prairie in Illinois. Big bluestem, Indian grass, and switchgrass thrive here, as do broad-leafed flowering plants known as forbs. Hiking and cross-country skiing.
Center Children's Farm
Experience life down on the farm during guided family tours, or take a hike on the peaceful nature trail.
Frank Holten State Park
A great place to spot water birds, fish, boat, or play a round of golf. The park covers 1,125 acres, including two lakes and a wetlands area.
CITY:East St. Louis
Wright Woods Forest Preserve
The Wright Woods Forest Preserve located in Mettawa offers 4 miles of scenic trails: a short loop for hikers, bicyclists and skiers that circles a pond, and a 3-mile loop for hikers, bicyclists, skiers and horses. This preserve also has footbridge spanning the Des Plaines River, which links Wright Woods to Half Day Forest Preserve.
Rock Springs Nature Center
Home to a large visitor center, a museum, a restored farmhouse, nearly nine miles of hiking trails, and a paved bike trail.
Guests have the opportunity to rent canoes, kayaks, and paddleboats to explore the rivers and lakes at Kickapoo State Park. Canoe and kayak trips (8 or 13 mile) are offered or rentals can be done by the hour. Following your adventure, guests can grab a bite to eat at the on-site Dockside Cafe which offers live music throughout the summer.
Featuring 240 acres, Nature Center, parking, boat launches and Rock River access, fishing, hiking, nature preserve, cross-country skiing, shelters, grills, playground equipment, and more. Ronald Reagan saved 77 lives here as a lifeguard during his boyhood years.
Freeport Canoe Company
Enjoy canoeing from the McConnell Bobtown Landing to McNeil's Damascus Landing or to Tutty's Crossing in downtown Freeport. Groups, individual canoeists, and beginning or seasoned paddlers are welcome. $50 rental per canoe. Ages 15 and under must be accompanied by an adult; ages 18 to 18 must have parental consent form.
Apple River Canyon State Park - Thompson/Salem Units
This 1,150 acre area allows hunting, fishing; no boating/biking. See postings/fact sheets at registration. Sign in/out at lots #1 or #2. The vegetative cover at the site is a mixture of steep timbered slopes and bluffs with grassland, row crops and hay fields predominate on ridge tops. The topography can be severe especially bordering the Apple River.
Deer Grove Forest Preserve
Located in Palatine, IL, Deer Grove Forest Preserve has trails that offer a moderate level of difficulty. At almost 10 miles in length, the hiking trials make Deer Grove worth a visit. Split into two very individual sites connected by paved and unpaved trials, the east preserve features open wetlands surrounded by old fields and an in-progress savanna and prairie restoration. The west side is wilder, the forest denser and crisscrossed with footpaths along the rolling terrain. Quite woodlands, white-tailed deer and a completely different experience await the hiker on the west side. Both paths are equally enchanting.
Casper Bluff Land & Water Reserve
Experience a commanding view of the Mississippi River and the only known intact thunderbird effigy mound in Illinois. Hiking, bird watching, sightseeing, Native American archaeology and much more on 85 acres of scenic Mississippi River bluffs.
Middle Fork Forest Preserve
Middle Fork Forest Preserve, 1600 acres in northeast Champaign County, offers visitors a campground (53 of 65 campsites have electricty), brand new playground, swimming beach, fishing, hiking, boat rentals, cross-country skiing, picnicking, a Waterfowl Management Area, renovated meeting facility and programs. The campground now accepts online reservations.
Canoe the Vermilion
This outfitter in the Illinois Valley offers canoe equipment, instruction, and transportation to help you fully enjoy this scenic stretch of the Vermilion River. Venture out on your own, or choose from excursions that include everything from picnics along the river to overnight camping trips.
Nauvoo State Park
Offers a timbered nature trail, a small prairie plot, and a quiet fishing lake on its 148 acres.
The newly renovated Bowen park's theme for their new playground is "Forest Findings". The overall layout offers tiered play areas arranged on the northwest hillside of Bowen Park. Fun and learning will go hand-in-hand as children and their families enjoy modern playground amenities, combined with several environmental learning stations that represent a forest ecosystem. Parents and kids alike will also enjoy the six-station fitness/exercise trail located on the perimeter of the playground.
Round Lake Area Park District
Round Lake Area Park District offers visitors a wide range of activities and facilities to enjoy. They include the Renwood Golf Course, the new sports center, the Prairie Grass Nature Museum, community theatre, outdoor pool/aquatic center, fitness center, child development center, teen center, senior center and acres of picturesque parklands. Private parties/outings at any of the facilities can be accommodated.
Oakdale Nature Preserve
This Nature Preserve offers 133 acres of oak and hickory woodlands, restored prairies and shallow streams. Over four miles of winding trails are great for hiking, running, cross-country skiing, nature study and quiet reflection. Facilities, which are available to rent, include the Mogle Learning Center with meeting space for 20 people.
Hike or bike into Buehler Preserve from Galena and experience the prairie life! Pets welcome. Fishing is allowed.
Ecology Action Center
This walk-in information and environmental education center offers workshops on recycling, composting and energy saving.
Fox River Trail
32 miles of biking, hiking and cross-country skiing featuring some of the most scenic trails of the Fox River. Points of interest include Carpenters Dam, Fox River Shores, Tyler Creek, Voyageur Landing, Shoemaker Nature Center and Fabyan Forest Preserve.
Mill Creek Park
Mill Creek Park is located seven miles northwest of Marshall, Illinois on the Lincoln Heritage Trail road. Mill Creek consists of 2,600 acres of land and 811 acres of water with 39 miles of shoreline. Since opening, the park has continued to develop; there are picnic areas on either side of the boat launch and at areas around the lake, a 139 site campground with shower facilities and playground, 15 mile ATV trails, horse and walking trails, courtesy docks, cabin and boat rental including kayaks and paddle boats.
Lake County Forest Preserve
We currently manage 25,268 acres of land and offer innovative educational, recreational and cultural opportunities for all ages. Visitors enjoy nearly 112 miles of trail for a variety of outdoor recreation uses, fishing ponds and lakes, public access to the Fox River, award-winning nature and history education programs and events, and three public golf courses. Facilities of special interest include Independence Grove near Libertyville, Ryerson Conservation Area near Deerfield, Lake County Discovery Museum near Wauconda, Greenbelt Cultural Center near Waukegan, and three golf courses (Brae Loch near Grayslake, Countryside near Mundelein, and ThunderHawk near Beach Park). Most Forest Preserves are open from 6:30 a.m. to sunset, every day of the year. Special hours apply at the golf courses, Discovery Museum, Greenbelt Cultural Center and Ryerson Woods.
Forest Preserve District of Will County
Biking and running trails, bird watching, camping, cross-country skiing, sledding, outdoor ice skating, canoeing and rafting and fishing. The district office provides all information on preserves and issues picnic permits.
Silver Springs State Fish and Wildlife Area
A pool of clear bubbling water which sparkles like silver on sunny days provides the basis for the name of Silver Springs State Fish and Wildlife Area. Even on extremely cold days, this pool does not freeze, and visitors marvel at the bordering beds of watercress. Majestic oaks and prairie grasslands provide a panorama of natural beauty to park visitors. The Fox River runs through this picturesque area which is also home to several small manmade lakes. A natural prairie restoration project gives visitors a feeling of the original landscape with native wildflowers, songbirds, waterfowl and upland game. Picnicking, fishing and hiking are popular pastimes in summer, with ice fishing, sledding, ice skating and cross-country ski trails available for the winter sports lover. For relaxing, exercising or just enjoying nature, Silver Springs is the perfect get away location.
Iris and Jack Witkowsky State Wildlife Area
A part of the Apple River Canyon State Park Complex, the Iris and Jack Witkowsky State Wildlife Area is 1,100 acres for public hunting and nature viewing. Beginning of a transcontinental bluebird trail segment. Sign in/out at lots #1 or #4.
Chicago Park District
Come out and play with the Chicago Park District. Founded in 1934, the Chicago Park District is the largest municipal park manager in the nation and owner of more than 8,100 acres of green space. We invite you to take in a concert or a movie at one of our 580 parks.
Wilder Park Conservatory
A historic tradition lives on at the Elmhurst Park District Conservatory and greenhouses, located in Wilder Park. The conservatory holds four main plant displays a year: a Easter and Calla Lilies in the spring, Chrysanthemums in the fall, Poinsettias in December and an Environmental show with various themes in the Winter. In addition youth education programs are offered with our in house Horticulturist.
Gardens of Heartland Hall
Located just minutes outside of Effingham. The Gardens of Heartland can fully satisfy your requirements for affordable & elegant receptions & outdoor weddings, or small gatherings.
Irons Oaks Environmental Learning Center
The Irons Oaks Environmental Learning Center is a joint project of the Homewood-Flossmoor (HF Parks.com) and Olympia Fields (OF Parks.com) park districts. The near 40-acre nature preserve is home to a diversity of wildlife and habitat types. See beautiful woods, wildflowers, birds and furry friends along the way. There are trails along both sides of the park which is located at Vollmer and Western Avenues in Olympia Fields. Please be careful when crossing Vollmer Road. The Park is open to the public daily, sunrise to sunset
Artesian Well at Paradise Cove
Nestled along Indian Creek is a natural artesian well where thousands of gallons of pure water flow each day - as it has since 1927. A ten foot water wheel is turned continually by the flowing water. The site, which is accessed by Stephenson County's only covered bridge, includes a waterfall, large flower beds and gazebo to enjoy while sipping the bubbling water. Open: 7 am - 8 pm.
Marengo Ridge - McHenry County Conservation District
The major glacial feature at Marengo Ridge Conservation area is the Marengo Ridge, from which the site derives its name. Left by the retreating Wisconsin glacier, the Marengo Ridge moraine is 40 miles long and 3 miles wide, creating one of the steepest vertical moraines in Illinois, at 1,050 feet above sea level. This rugged, fire-protected topography supported wooded communities dominated by oak species. Site features hiking trails, campground, picnic shelters, scenic views, x-country skiing, and fishing.
Little Grassy Lake
Little Grassy Lake Campground and Marina is located on Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge and is a destination stop for returning campers, boaters, and sportsmen. They offer full service camping, primitive camping, boat rentals, concessions, and a bait shop. Reservations accepted to reserve boats and campsites. Pontoon boats, fishing boats, and kayaks can be rented. You don't want to pass up the opportunities to explore the thirty miles of shoreline and embrace the solitude you will find on the lake. The 1200 acre lake is stocked with catfish, crappie, and bass, and offers plentiful oppourtunities for fishing, paddling, boating, and wildlife observation. Amenities include waterfront camping sites, remodeled bathrooms with hot showers, dump station, swimming, pets allowed, monthly educational programs and a renovated concession/bait shop which is stocked with minnows, crickets, camping supplies, cold beverages, food items, ice cream, firewood and ice.
Lake Vermillion County Park
Lake Vermilion County Park includes a boat ramp, dock complex, concession building, playground, and an open shelter. The park is open year round and considered 'high-use' during summer weekends with power boating (unlimited HP), jet skiing, water skiing, and fishing tournaments. Wildlife observation includes herons, river otters, and eagles. Lake Vermilion, 1,000 acres in size, is one of Illinois' most heavily stocked fishing lakes with bass, tiger muskies, catfish, crappie, and walleye being frequently fished.
Lowden-Miller State Forest
Nestled in the Rock River Valley, just 3 miles south of the town of Oregon, lies a 2,291-acre wooded area that is one of Ogle County's most beautiful and historic sites. Its scenic qualities come from 120-foot bluffs along 3.5 miles of riverfront forested with hardwood and pine trees. The history stems from the individual who, in the early part of the 20th century, augmented the natural hardwood forest by planting pines. Frank O. Lowden (1861-1943), Illinois' governor from 1917-1921, ardently embraced proper land use and strongly believed in reforestation as a way to retard soil erosion. Over several decades, an estimated 500,000 trees were seeded directly by him or under his supervision.
The Galena River
The Galena River, also known as Fever River, meanders through the lush scenery of Northern Illinois before winding through Galena’s historic downtown. Put-in near Galena's Main Street which will offer you plenty of opportunities to explore the river on your own, or to take day excursions offered by a local outfitter.
Eagle Watching - Union County Refuge
The Union County Refuge in Union offers a popular spot for bald eagle watching. Visitors can view bald eagles and take wildlife photography off the main road, which runs down the middle of the wildlife refuge. Park rangers will be available weekdays to answer questions about the eagles and other wildlife spotted in the refuge. Admission is free. For more information on eagle watching, contact the Union County Refuge (618-833-5175).
Bluffdale Vacation Farm
Bluffdale is an Illinois farm vacation dude ranch and bed & breakfast. Parent Magazine's "Top 10 Family Resorts in North America." Our family has been welcoming guests to our historic Illinois farm near Eldred, Illinois since 1963. Recreation activities include horseback riding, boating, fishing, swimming, hayrides, bonfires, sing-alongs and more. Bluffdale is famous for its generous home cooked meals with home baked bread, rolls and pies. Our luxury cabins, featuring a fireplace and hot tub, are ideal for romantic getaway weekend or honeymoon bed & breakfast lodging. Spring brings a wide variety of wildflowers and morel mushrooms. In fall the bluffs make a colorful drive and eagle watch from Alton to Bluffdale along the Great River Road, a National Scenic Byway. Check our website for rates and availability.
Lake Sara Pavilions
Two different locations on Lake Sara. The pavilions offer a chance to host a meeting on the lake. The two outdoor facilities are perfect for receptions and parties with plenty of outdoor space. It also features a large open room, kitchen area, boat dock and outdoor decks.
Rock Springs Center for Environmental Discovery
Rock Springs Center is the largest park in the Macon County Conservation District properties with a total of 1,343 acres in the southwest area of Decatur, IL. The Sangamon River runs through Rock Springs and several small ponds dot the landscape. A wide range of terrain including forest, wetland, grassland, and restored Illinois prairie make Rock Springs a destination for nature lovers. Rock Springs is also home to a large nature center, a museum, a restored farmhouse, nearly nine miles of hiking trails, and a paved bike trail. Rock Springs is a favorite for families all year round. Rooms and pavilions are available for rent for meetings and events.
Moraine Hills State Park
Moraine Hills State Park located in McHenry, Illinois, offers a tapestry of mosaic marshes, lakes, prairies, bogs, wooded hills and streams that are perfect for hikers, skiers and cyclists. The hike consists of two 8-mile loops of crushed gravel that takes approximately 2-3 hours to complete. With a rating of moderate to difficult, Moraine Hills State Park hike will surely make the top of every outdoor enthusiast’s list.
Garfield Park Conservatory
Garfield Park Conservatory is one of the largest gardens under glass in the world. Opened in 1908, this landmark building was the vision of celebrated landscape architect Jens Jensen. The eight exhibit halls feature plants from around the world.
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.
This 20-year-old herb and perennial plant nursery offers more than 200 varieties of common and uncommon plants. Sip a glass of lemonade as you view the gardens, feed the catfish in the pond and shop for garden items.
Anita Purves Nature Center
Located at the north end of Crystal Lake Park, this environmental education facility is a natural resource to individuals, families and groups interested in learning more about the outdoors. The Nature Center features four multi-purpose rooms, an exhibit field station, an Observation Room, the Audubon Nature Shop and an Educator Resource Room. The adjacent Busey Woods is perfect for hiking and bird watching.
The Grove National Historic Landmark
The prairie grove, covering 123 acres of ecologically diverse prairie land, is preserved and maintained as former home of the visionary horticulturist and educator Dr. John Kennicott, who brought his family from New Orleans to settle on his land in 1836. The Grove, located in Glenview, is a National Historic Landmark and is on the National Registry of Historic Places. It offers many opportunities for educational, environmental and historical enjoyment including two historic homes, the Kennicott House and the Redfield Estate; the Grove Interpretive Center, a Native American Village, a Log Cabin, a Schoolhouse, a Wetlands Greenhouse and numerous interpretive trails.
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.
Weber House and Garden
Long associated with the rich and famous, Weber House sits in an English garden of meandering paths, hollyhocks and old oaks. Inside cozy candlelit rooms reflect the 18th century.
Ferne Clyffe State Park
The lush vegetation of the 2,430-acre Ferne Clyffe State Park, located near the small town of Goreville, hides the fact that directly below the soil, a vast area of rock formations exists. The two main areas for rock climbing include Big Rocky Hollow and the Cedar Bluff areas. Cedar Bluff offers both traditional and sport climbing, including several short, but difficult, routes in the class 12 to 13 range that appeal to experienced climbers. Other routes include top-rope access and solid anchors that appeal to new climbers.
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.
Homer Lake Forest Preserve
Homer Lake Forest Preserve contains 892 acres for fishing, boating, hiking picnicking, cross-country skiing and sledding. Also available is an exciting Homer Lake Interpretive Center, which hosts thousands every year through programs like "Homer Lake Take Me Fishing" and the unique Natural Playscape.
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.