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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.
View the spectacular display of 15,000 flowers of 15 varieties, plus a three-tiered fountain and the Four Seasons statues that complement this exquisite English garden.
A 32-acre park built in cooperation with Batavia Park District, the city of Batavia and the Batavia Riverwalk Committee. Park your bikes by the Depot Museum and stroll the boardwalks through the wildflower garden.
National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows
The Shrine has 200 beautifully landscaped acres of gardens and devotional areas, including the Outdoor Amphitheatre, Shrine Church, Lourdes Grotto, Stations of the Cross, Millennium Spire, the Visitors Center with a restaurant and gift shop, and the Shrine Hotel.
Belvidere Park District
The Belvidere Park District spans stretches of the Kishwaukee River and Mill Race. It's a great place for fishing, biking and playing tennis, and includes a playground, picnic shelters, pool, swinging bridge and the historic Baltic Mill.
Genevieve Green Gardens
The Genevieve Green Gardens offer a relaxing setting for contemplation and the appreciation of nature's beauty. Small gardens are tucked in at various locations; there is also a formal compass garden with a beautiful arbor, a Japanese garden, and a main plaza that is highlighted by a water feature. Walkways, accompanied by tasteful signage, conveniently guide visitors around the property and are in harmony with the landscape's topography. Carefully designed lighting makes it possible to enjoy the gardens during evening hours.
The arboretum houses more than 6,000 species of trees, plus shrubs, wildflowers and wildlife. A hiking trail takes you through the woods and past stones from a Shawnee Indian Council fire.
With 45-acres of recreation, Fairview Park features a swimming pool, baseball and softball fields, Skateboard Park, several picnic shelters, and a variety of playground equipment.
Home to the Balloon Fest, Foundation Park has many walking trails, nature areas, and gathering places.
An eclectic district filled with dining and multi-cultural attractions, Midtown Champaign, with the beautiful Boneyard Creek flowing, connects Downtown and Campustown Champaign.
Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum
The urban gateway to nature and science. The Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum is a place where city dwellers can reconnect with the wonder of the natural world. From a hands-on water lab to a wilderness walk to the only international, year-round butterfly haven, science comes alive.
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.
MetroWalkz Self-Guided Walking Tours
Our numerous self-guided walking tours with easy-to-use maps and insider narratives make sightseeing a breeze. Current tours include Loop Architecture, Millennium Park, Navy Pier, Magnificent Mile, Museum Campus, Grant Park, Chinatown, Old Town, Gold Coast and the West Loop.
Proudly referred to as Chicago's "Front yard," Grant Park is a public park, 319 acres located in Chicago’s central business district in the Loop Community area. Grant Park’s most notable features include Millennium Park, Buckingham Fountain, The Art Institute of Chicago and the Museum Campus. Named for United States President and Civil War General, Ulysses S. Grant, Grant Park was developed as one of Chicago's first parks and expanded through land reclamation.
Lincoln Park Conservatory
Step inside and be transported to another place and time! We invite you to take a journey to the Lincoln Park Conservatory where you will find tropical palms and ancient ferns right in the heart of Lincoln Park. Designed both to showcase exotic plants and grow the thousands of plants needed for use in the parks, the Conservatory offers visitors a tropical experience within its four display houses: Palm House, Fern Room, Orchid House and Show House, which is home to the annual flower shows. This historic facility continues to provide an escape to nature to the millions that live in and visit Chicago. No matter the time of year, Lincoln Park Conservatory is always green and lush. Come take a stroll and let yourself be transported away. Admission is free.
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.
Kennekuk County Park
The 3000 acre park includes a seven mile backpack trail among its 15 miles of trail system. Boats and canoes are available for rental in season, and seven lakes are available for fishing. Hunting of pheasant, rabbit, squirrel, dove, waterfowl, goose, mushrooms, turkey, and deer is permitted (Illinois and Vermilion County Conservation District regulations apply).
Anna Bethel Fisher Rock Garden
Created in 1927 from an old sand pit across the road from Lake Decatur, the city's oldest garden was extensively renovated in 1992. Its resurrected look features secluded paths leading through rocky terraces planted with unusual trees, and landscapes brimming with colorful perennials. Towering bald Cypress trees, planted in the 1920s, still reign over these delightful grounds.
Mari-Mann Herb Farm
Spanning six rolling acres on bluffs overlooking the Sangamon River Walk, Mari-Mann Herb Farm is a potpourri of herb beds, wildflower fields and formal gardens.
Scovill House & Oriental Gardens
Serenity envelopes this intimate area, where visitors are welcomed by a Chinese Fu dog and flowering dogwoods, star magnolia, Japanese lilac, and rhododendron -- foliage native to the Orient. Originally commissioned by Guy and Rose Scovill in the 1920's and reconstructed in the 1980's, the gardens' soothing nature encompasses a small reflective point, sod bridge, and oriental sculptures, and surrounds a small cottage, which is available for gatherings and retreats.
Schaub Floral Display Center
Bursting with seasonal exhibits, our brightest newcomer nurtures flowering trees and scrubs such as weeping Japanese cherry, mock orange, forsythia, fragrant bulbs, and delightfully colored pansies. A perennial garden joins the array this summer, and the spring exhibit opens mid-March.
Decatur Park District
In addition to 39 neighborhood and community parks, our green spaces boast bike trails, picnic and camping facilities, gardens, golf courses, playgrounds, tennis courts, baseball diamonds, and swimming pools.
Macon County Conservation District
Our green spaces boast bike and walking trails, picnic and camping facilities, and gardens.
Bea Gurler was nine years old when her father George moved his family into the house in 1893. Her cousins, the children of her father’s brother Henry, had been living since 1888 in the Ellwood Mansion. Everyone said it was magnificent. Bea’s parents George and Zillah, evidently shared a taste in homes that favored the elegance of simplicity. It was the unimposing yet dignified structure on Pine Street–where the back door was always open. George and Henry Gurler were both prominent businessmen, and joint owners of a number of dairies. They quickly became world-famous and respected by many dairy farmers. Bea eventually made it a goal of hers to renovate The Gurler House to be the home that she once new and loved. The Gurler House hosts an annual Folk Music Festival every summer, where people are encouraged to bring lawn chairs and blankets to enjoy the music. While you are at The Gurler House, make sure to take a walk through their beautiful garden.