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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.
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.
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.
Spirit of Peoria Cruises
Enjoy the river by boarding the Spirit of Peoria sightseeing cruise. The cruise will travel the Mississippi River and people will have a chance to enjoy the scenic beauty found here. There are sightseeing, lunch and dinner cruises.
Lynyrd Skynyrd at Liberty Bank Alton Amphitheater.
Southern rock favorite Lynyrd Skynyrd will be performing at Liberty Bank Alton Amphitheater this summer. With a catalog of over 60 albums, sales beyond 30 million worldwide and their beloved classic American rock anthem “Sweet Home Alabama” having sold over two million ringtones, Rock & Roll Hall of Famers Lynyrd Skynyrd remain a cultural icon that appeals to multiple generations.
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 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 travelers 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.
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
Comfort Suites Aurora
This award-winning hotel with 82 suites offers a deluxe hot breakfast, indoor pool, fitness room, free high-speed Internet and business meeting facilities. A preferred hotel conveniently located adjacent to the Metra Station, with easy expressway access to O'Hare International Airport (ORD) & Midway International Airport (MDW). We are also located just minutes from Aurora Municipal Airport (ARR).
Chicago Premium Outlets, Aurora
Find impressive savings at over 120 designer and name-brand outlet stores, such as Ann Taylor, Armani, ASICS, Banana Republic, Calvin Klein, Coach, Cole Haan, DKNY, Gap, 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 2016 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.
2015 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.
Bluegill Music Festival
March 16, 2015 - Bluegill Music Festival will lunch its inaugural event on July 4, 2015 for a one-day festival packed with some of country music's hottest acts. The all-day festival will be complete with Southern Illinois' largest fireworks display, along the shores of the Rend Lake Dam, in Benton, IL. The lineup includes Eli Young Band, LoCash, Clayton Anderson and more exciting acts to be announced. Tickets will go on sale this Friday, March 20th and can be purchased at www.bluegillfest.com and at Black Diamond Harley Davidson. Drawing fans from around the country, including Illinois, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee and Indiana, the festival is at the intersection of some of the nation's most dedicated country music fans. Bluegill Music Festival will feature nationally recognized BBQ vendors from around the country. Interactive entertainment for fans will also include activations, like: bags, washers, bubble soccer, Illinois longest slip n' slide, helicopter rides from Black Diamond Harley Davidson, a mechanical bull, a kids area with a large inflatable slide and the "Bluegill Lagoon", featuring a 60 x 100' VIP beach, with cabanas, private wading pools & lounge area. Additionally, Southern Illinois' largest fireworks display will begin at 9:30pm, and is free for all guest.
Berwyn's Oktoberfest 2015
Save the dates for Friday, September 18th from 6-11 p.m. and Saturday, September 19th from Noon-11 p.m. and make the trip to Berwyn's Historic Depot District. The event boasts an international food court, carnival and amusement rides, family entertainment pavilion, and crafters and vendors. Enjoy live musical performances, a Beer Garden featuring special Oktoberfest seasonal selections!
25th Annual Berwyn Route 66 Car Show
The 25th Annual Berwyn Rt66 Car Show sponsored by Paisans Pizzeria & Bar will be held on Ogden Avenue in Berwyn. Berwyn has always been a great Route 66 town with a thriving, dynamic and fast-growing community at its hear. Stand on Historic Route 66 and see over 500 vintage and custom cars, trucks and motorcycles. This show has something for everyone! Demonstrations of Automobile Flamethrowing will thrill spectators!
Sweet Annie's Open House and Home Tour
Explore this original Colony structure that once served as a communal residence for families of Bishop Hill. See how it has been transformed into a wonderful backdrop for primitive antiques and handcrafted wares displayed throughout this stately home. You will find Primitive Cupboards, Folk Art, Early Country in old paint & original surface, Garden Accents, Textiles, Pottery, Quilts, Yellowware, Treenware, Baskets. Open 10 am to 4 pm.
Jordbruksdagarna – Agriculture days
Celebrate Bishop Hill’s agrarian heritage, this event features traditional 19th century harvest activities and demonstrations, hands-on activities, music, farm produce, and Colony stew. Hours: 10am to 5pm.
Bishop Hill Prairie Arts Center
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.