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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.
Alton Museum of History and Art
Winged monsters, explorers, riverboats and a gentle giant. The Alton Museum of History & Art shows the crossroads of American history in Alton. The museum is located in the historic Loomis Hall across from the Wadlow statue. Loomis Hall is the oldest building in the state of Illinois continuously utilized for education. One of the most popular rooms, the Wadlow Room, pays tribute to Alton's "Gentle Giant" and the World's Tallest Man. The Pioneer Room explores the history of Alton from the Lewis & Clark Expedition to the Civil War with exhibits on Elijah Lovejoy, the Lincoln-Douglas Debates and the "Alton Route" on the Underground Railroad. Hours: Wednesday - Saturday 10 a.m. - 4 p.m., Sunday 1 - 4 p.m.
Alton Hauntings Tours
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.
Underground Railroad Shuttle Tours
Learn about local, Underground Railroad sites on a shuttle tour with J.E. Robinson Tours and the Alton Regional CVB on the last Saturday of each month (10 a.m. to noon). The two-hour guided shuttle tours will stop at some of the sites that were part of the Underground Railroad system including the Old Rock House, Rocky Fork Church and more. Alton’s riverfront location along the Mighty Mississippi played a vital role in helping slaves make connections to the freedom of the northern states. Buried beneath the streets of Alton and Godfrey, remnants of this period in history still exist. For more information on the Underground Railroad shuttle tours or to make advance registrations, please contact the Alton Regional Convention & Visitors Bureau at (800) 258-6645.
McPike Mansion Haunted Tours
Learn the history of the McPike Mansion and take a look at the documented photos of the mansion and paranormal activity. Then, take a tour of the surrounding grounds and the crypt. Talking with the spirits with Dowsing rods and join us for a dark session in the cellar with our experienced medium. Tour lasts approximately 90 minutes. All proceeds go toward the restoration of the mansion. For more information, contact Sharon at (618) 830-2179.
Mineral Springs Haunted Tours
Walking Tours include visits to several haunted buildings as well as an exclusive guided tour of the most haunted building in Alton, the Mineral Springs Hotel. The only tour to enter Mineral Springs! Tour includes light refreshments. Bring cameras, recorders, flashlights, and any ghost hunting equipment you may have. For more info, call (618) 465-3200.
My Just Desserts
Follow the lead of the locals in Alton and order dessert first, at My Just Desserts, as fresh-baked favorites like the Tollhouse brownies and Mrs. Ledbetter’s chocolate pie sell out early. Every morning 9 to 13 pie varieties are baked fresh. You’ll swear you stepped back in time when you enter this unique establishment, from the squeak in the hardwood floors to the Mason jar glasses.
Beall Mansion - An Elegant Bed & Breakfast Inn
Indulge yourself at the Beall Mansion, a sumptuous Bed and Breakfast Inn located 12 blocks from the Mississippi River. Designed by Lucas Pfeiffenberger and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this elegant mansion features 18 ionic columns, eleven and a half foot ceilings, crystal chandeliers and marble and bronze statuary throughout. Let us pamper you with sumptuous feather beds, whirlpools for two, 24 hour "all you can eat" chocolate buffet, and optional gourmet breakfast in bed. Free Wi-fi. In room massage, spa, golf and corporate packages available.
Arthur Amish Country Information Center
This visitor's center offers maps and information on the entire Amish area, including the 150 Amish craft shops that dot the countryside surrounding the village of Arthur.
Hennepin Canal Parkway State Park
The Hennepin Canal State Park, a 104-mile linear park, is a rustic, historic, educational, and recreational jewel spanning five counties and includes the entire width of Henry County with access points in Annawan, Atkinson, Geneseo, and Colona. It offers an up-close look at a fascinating piece of transportation history. It is popular with bicyclists who ride from town to town exploring the history, dining, lodging, and entertainment possibilities as they travel. The canal multi-purpose recreational trail is a portion of the American Discovery Trail, a 6,800-mile coast-to-coast trail devoted to non-motorized use. It is also part of the Grand Illinois Trail, a 535-mile loop through northern Illinois. The tree-lined park is a refuge with prairie restorations and wetlands slicing through corn and soybean farmland. Home to diverse flora and fauna, it has become a favorite for bird watchers and prairie enthusiasts. It offers numerous year-round opportunities to boat, hike, bike, fish, ride horseback, snowmobile, ice skate, and cross-country ski. Explore Henry County’s jewel – the Hennepin Canal. In wintertime experience the longest snowmobile trail in the state -- 91 miles on the tow path. You can use the ice at your own risk, but pay heed to the locks, bridges and culverts where the ice likely is thinner than the rest of the canal. Bring your blades, skating along the canal is free! Keep in mind the rule is there must be 4" of snow and 6" of frost on canal for route to be open. Call the Visitor Center for automated message.
The Colaw Rooming House
Return to Rt. 66, circa 1947, when you overnight at The Colaw Rooming House. Where you'll experience travel on the Mother Road before Interstates and motel chains were the norm. Located just 2 blocks from Rt. 66 in quaint Atlanta, Illinois, The Colaw Rooming House offers three bedrooms, two full baths, a charming living room with fireplace, dinning room, curved front porch, and delightful yellow and red 1940's kitchen. To further enhance your step back in time, your stay includes a complimentary breakfast at The Palms Grill Cafe-Atlanta's fully restored, circa 1935 small town diner. For more information please visit our website www.thecolawhouse.com
The Palms Grill Café
The Palms Grill Cafe was a well-known restaurant during the heyday of Route 66. Recently the cafe was revitalized and reopened, and is serving up delicious nostalgia from the fabled Route 66 era. The Palm’s Grill Café has been baking pies and feeding hungry travels and residents for decades. Their pies are so delicious they've even won a few state pie competitions. Saddle up to the counter or take a seat at a table; either way, the pie and coffee with the community atmosphere is enough to make any first-timer feel like a regular. Conveniently located right across the street is the towering Bunyon’s Statue, another one of Route 66’s famous Muffler Man Statues.
Aurora's Holiday Festival of Lights
Enjoy the sparkle, shimmer and shine of the 2014 Festival of Lights. One of the largest free outdoor holiday light displays in Northern Illinois. Dazzling displays that will delight both adults and children. A winter wonderland of animated visual arts, lighted tunnels, a forest full of lights and more! Open from 5 to 9 p.m. Sunday to Thursday; and 5 to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday starting Nov. 28 through Dec. 28, 2014. Donations accepted.
Paramount Theatrical Production: Mary Poppins
Enormous dance numbers on the ground and the roof tops. Statues coming to life, giant orchestrations for such iconic songs as “Spoon Full of Sugar,” “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” and “Chim Chim Cher-ee.” And of course, a few Mary Poppins magical moments that will leave you flying high. Celebrate the holidays with the ones you love at Paramount’s Mary Poppins! A Musical based on the stories of P.L. Travers & the Walt Disney Film. Rated G
Paramount Theatrical Production: The Who's Tommy
Set in the 1940s, Tommy is the story of a little boy who witnesses his father murder his mother’s lover upon his surprise return home after being released from a prisoner of war camp. Find out the rest for yourself, be a part of the greatest rock opera ever written. Rated PG-13
Paramount Theatrical Production: Les Misérables
This monumental novel comes to life in one of the greatest musicals of all time. It’s the story of ex-convict Jean Valjean and his journey for redemption. On that road, he encounters the never-wavering love of a mother, the innocence of a child, the steely determination of a hunter and the passion of youthful freedom fighters.
Chicago Premium Outlets, Aurora
Find impressive savings at over 120 designer and name-brand outlet stores, such as Ann Taylor, Armani, Banana Republic, Calvin Klein, Coach, Cole Haan, Elie Tahari, Gap Outlet, J.Crew, Lacoste, Nike, Polo Ralph Lauren, Salvatore Ferragamo, Michael Kors, Theory, Vera Bradley and more. The opening of an additional 80 stores in the Spring of 2015 will make this even more of a Midwest Shopping destination! In Aurora, 37 miles west of Chicago.
Westfield Fox Valley Mall
More than 180 stores anchored by Macy’s, Carson Pirie Scott, JC Penney and Sears.
2014 Christkindl Holiday Festival
Come to downtown Barrington for the annual Christkindl Festival. This is an open-air event during the holiday season featuring authentic German food, live entertainment, drinks, fun activities for families and kids crafts, live reindeer, carousel & train rides, Gingerbread House competition and even Santa's house. Please visit the website for a complete list of entertainment.
The Pie Pantry
The Pie Pantry offers a great selection of soups, salads, and burgers, and of course delicious pies, by the slice or as a whole.
Summerfield Farm & Zoo
Summerfield Zoo is home to a large variety of exotic animals, ranging from reindeer and monkeys to camels and mountain lions. We are proud to offer an up close and personal animal experience. While at the zoo, enjoy our education and fun animal encounter presentations. Summerfield Zoo is open selected weekends May through November.
Bishop Hill Prairie Arts Center & Colony Pottery
Enjoy watching the potter in an open air studio creating artwork on the potter's wheel. The center also features rug, broom, weaving and spinning artisans.
CITY: Bishop Hill
The Chocolatier, Inc.
The Chocolatier, Inc. in Downtown Bloomington specializes in fine chocolates and candies. Stop in and pick out the perfect treat!
Long Grove Confectionery Co.
Your sweet tooth is sure to be on alert at Long Grove Confectionary Co. Watch homemade fudge getting made as thick layers of sweet goodness fold into large vats. Inhale the sugary goodness of the famed cocoa concoctions as soon as you walk inside. At Long Grove, the old fashioned confectionary is alive and well, and smelling oh so good.
CITY: Buffalo Grove