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Starlight Theatre at Rock Valley College
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.
Discovery Center Museum
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.
Located in the heart of the mid-west in Monroe Center, Illinois, just a 20 minute drive south from Rockford, a quiet, majestic dwelling sits among the trees that seclude Kilbuck Creek from sight of even its closest neighbors. This secluded sanctuary in the wilderness could be the location of your upcoming wedding, family reunion, church or business retreat or romantic getaway.
Midway Village Museum
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.
Black Hawk Statue at Lowden State Park
At Eagle's Nest Bluff in Lowden State Park, proudly stands a 48-foot statue of a Native American quietly revering the beauty of the River Rock Valley below. Commonly called Black Hawk, after the legendary Chieftain, the statue was created as a tribute to all the Native Americans who once called the area their home.
Tinker Swiss Cottage Museum and Gardens
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.
Nicholas Conservatory & Gardens
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.
White Pines Inn Cabins
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.
Coronado Performing Arts Center
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.
Critter Camp Exotic Pet Sanctuary
Tour Critter Camp Exotic Pet Sanctuary. Animal lovers can learn about, pet, hold and feel 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, breed, sell or exploit any animal.Personally guided tours are available seven days a week year round for up to six people per tour, but all tours are by appointment.
Magic Waters Waterpark
Some of the many fun water attractions include the five-story Abyss (a dark tunnel tube ride), the two-person Splash Blaster water coaster, Tsunami Bay (Illinois' largest wave pool), Splash Magic River, and Little Lagoon for the tykes. The newest ride is the Double Dare Drop speed slides. Each slide drops riders 75 feet, making the thrill ride the steepest speed slide in northern Illinois.
Burpee Museum of Natural History
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.
White Pines Forest State Park
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.
Anderson Japanese Gardens
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.