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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.
Melvin Price Locks & Dam
Get the best view of Alton and the Mississippi River from eight stories in the air atop the Melvin Price Locks & Dam. Take a free guided tour and see towboats and barges as they push their way through this incredible structure. It's also a great spot to eagle watch in the winter.
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.
Mineral Springs Haunted Tours
Take an eight-block tour of some of the haunted locations in downtown Alton, investigate the four floors of the Mineral Springs Hotel, be part of a seance and top the evening off with a tarot card reading. All tours begin and end at the Mineral Springs Mall. Tour options include New Moon Haunted Tours, Waking the Dead Walking Tours, Cemetery Tours and Haunted Overnights.
J.E. Robinson Underground Railroad Tours
In the early 1800s, Alton became a safe haven for slaves escaping from the bonds of slavery. Because of the area's neighboring slave state of Missouri, runaways found refuge in the free land surrounding Alton. The tunnels of the Underground Railroad run deep beneath the streets along the "Alton Route." The area was a major stop along the Underground Railroad, hiding slaves in caves, barns and basements throughout Alton, Otterville and Jerseyville. Hear the slave's tales, feel their fear and learn about Alton's remarkable past on an Underground Railroad Tour. Tours available by appointment only.
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. These 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.
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.
Great Rivers Festival
Celebrate the confluence of the three major rivers - Mississippi, Missouri and Illinois - during the Great Rivers Festival at the National Great Rivers Museum and The Audubon Center at Riverlands. You will have a chance to tour a working towboat and barge. There will also be children's activities, food vendors, live entertainment including animal and reptile shows, living history tours and more. For more information, call (618) 462-6979.
Illinois Amish Country
The town of Arthur is located in the heart of Amish country, home to more than 2,000 Amish residents and hundreds of charming countryside businesses, Illinois' Amish Country offers shopping, dining, special events and guided educational tours (some of which feature meals in actual Amish homes).
Amish Country Tours with ACM Tours
ACM Tours is a full service, receptive tour guide company with many special services available at no additional cost. We literally open the door to fabulous Illinois Amish Country! We are ready to assist you with meals, attractions, lodging and step on guide service. We have available trained, professional, local step-on guides who are well versed in the history, customs and folklore of this most unique part of Illinois.
Amish Adventures & Stellar Tours, Inc
Amish Adventures will give you an up close and personal tour of the Illinois Amish culture and religion as you travel back in time along our quaint country roads with our professional and informed tour guide. To help our visitors learn more about the Amish culture, we offer a variety of tours that are customized to fit your itinerary. Tours of Amish homes, Amish farms, Amish woodworker's shop, a meal in an Amish home and a Step-on Guided Tour of the Amish countryside!
Aurora Downtown Walking Tour
Take a self-guided tour of Aurora's historic downtown. Tour brochures are available at the Aurora Area Convention and Visitor's Bureau.
Rocktown Adventures is a specialty outdoor retailer and adventure club. They offer sales, rentals, lessons, guided trips and related apparel for kayaking, canoeing, stand-up paddleboarding, Nordic skiing and snowshoeing. They also carry camping equipment, lifestyle apparel and transportation equipment. Rocktown's mission is to help you gear up and head out. They carry top equipment sold by knowledgeable staff. Their experienced instructors love to share their passion for the outdoors. The trip guides know the waterways and trails like the back of their hand. The shop is conveniently located near an abundance of recreational assets waiting to be discovered by you!
Whether you're interested in science or just fishing in the ponds near the buffalo herd you're welcome at Fermilab. Take a self-guided tour of the laboratory, the Art Gallery and science and educational displays. View the grounds from the 15th floor observation area. Visitors may also visit the Lederman Science Center. Performing arts and lectures. Groups welcome by appointment. Public tours are offered every Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. and as part of the Ask-a-Scientist event on the first Sunday of each month.
Illinois Lincoln Highway
Take a journey on the Illinois Lincoln Highway, a 179 mile National Scenic Byway. From the Indiana border, west toward the mighty MIssissippi, you will find an adventure filled with variety, rich in history and heritage. As you travel the Lincoln Highway route across northern Illinois, take time to discover each communities' unique culture and special offerings and find a past era woven together with the present.
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.
Prairie Aviation Museum
Prairie Aviation Museum has displays, static aircraft, education programs, air shows, group tours, and special aviation events for over 30 years. As an aviation and space museum, we honor military and civilian aviation. While visitors are quick to notice our displays, we love to tell the stories of the men and women who have contributed to the creation, development, expansion, and promise of aviation and space exploration. We are a family friendly museum, where visitors of all ages can touch our displays and static aircraft and visit with members who flew and maintained the aircraft in the Air Park. We love to hear visitor’s stories about experiences that they and/or members of their family have had related to aviation and space.
Glorious Garden Festival
The Glorious Garden Festival offers self-guided tours through eight incredibly diverse, high-quality private gardens in the Bloomington-Normal community, along with guided tours of Sarah Davis’s heirloom garden at the David Davis Mansion. These gardens provide solitude and sanctuary, where one can soothe the spirit while enjoying the quiet pleasures of an outdoor retreat. The walk begins on the grounds of the David Davis Mansion State Historic Site where walkers pick up their maps and programs. The Garden Walk is held rain or shine.
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.
Cruisin' With Lincoln on 66
The main source for information about McLean County’s historic and modern attractions in the Bloomington-Normal area is the "Cruisin’ with Lincoln on 66" Visitors Center. Located in Downtown Bloomington, the Visitors Center provides information on all of the wonderful attractions, events, dining and lodging available in McLean County. Their exhibits highlight two types of heritage tourism that is integral to Central Illinois: Historic Route 66 and Abraham Lincoln. The gift shop is filled with local products, memorabilia and more!
Barn Quilt Heritage Trail
Visitors are invited to explore Bloomington-Normal and join in the celebration of McLean County's agricultural heritage, quilting, local history and the arts. The Barn Quilt Heritage Trail features over a dozen area barns or other farm buildings, each decorated with an 8' x 8' painted quilt square. A complete list of all participating locations is available on the Barn Quilt website. Step-on tour guides are available upon request for bus tour groups.
David Foster Wallace Tour
A self guided tour of places in Bloomington-Normal was developed with a map and description of the sites to explore the life of David Foster Wallace who was an American author of novels, short stories and essays, as well as a professor of English and creative writing. Wallace is widely known for his 1996 novel Infinite Jest, which was cited by Time magazine as one of the 100 best English-language novels from 1923 to 2005. Infinite Jest was completed while Wallace was living in Bloomington and employed in the Illinois State University English Department. In 2013, Illinois State created an annual David Foster Wallace Conference to celebrate his life and review his works.
Built in 1869, the brick mansion boasts 14 rooms featuring Italianate architecture and local river lore history. Tours offered daily. The Historical Society hosts special events & luncheons.