Parks and Recreation

City amenities with expansive outdoor spaces is part of what make the I&M Canal Heritage Corridor a unique destination to play. Starved Rock State Park draws millions of visitors each year and several other nearby State Parks are easily accessible. Explore nature preserves such as Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie or navigate one of the many recreational waterways including the Illinois & Michigan Canal and Illinois River. Forest preserves, 61 miles of trails along the Canal, and serene riverside parks provide an oasis for those looking to get outside and enjoy the natural world.

Billie Limacher Bicentennial Park and Theatre

Community Park
Bicentennial Park Theatre is the place where local talent, community theatre and children shine on center stage. Its located along the waterway in Downtown Joliet. The scenic 10-acre downtown park with theatre offers free summer concerts, theatre programs and other events throughout the year. Take the Historic Bluff Street walking tour to learn more about one of Joliet’s most unique and historic attractions.

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Bird Haven Greenhouse & Conservatory

Outdoor Recreation
Bird Haven Greenhouse & Conservatory sits on three acres of land in Joliet. This Italian Renaissance-style facility features spectacular floral shows with seasonal motifs during the fall, winter and spring. Year-round attractions are offered with a tropical house, cacti room and show house. The greenhouse and conservatory is a great place for a school trip as they provide kids with hands-on learning.

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Bolingbrook Park District

Outdoor Recreation
The Bolingbrook Park District provides opportunities that connect residents and visitors with the Bolingbrook community, themselves and family. The park district has two community centers, an indoor/outdoor aquatic park, golf course, banquet hall and restaurant, two fitness centers, two outdoor skate parks, a sports complex, nature center and conservation area, and 48 parks along with their many playgrounds, picnic shelters and more over 1,087 acres of land. Bolingbrook Park ...

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Braidwood Dunes and Savanna Nature Preserve

Outdoor Recreation
Braidwood Dunes and Savanna Nature Preserve protects a diversity of habitats, including prairie, savanna and wetland. A unique feature of the site is its crescent-shaped sand dunes, which formed when the area was the shoreline of the ancient glacial Lake Wauponsee. Wildlife found at the preserve includes more than 30 bird species, in addition to amphibians and reptiles such as the tiger salamander and the six-lined racerunner. The preserve is also home to a variety of plant ...

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Buffalo Range Shooting Park

Outdoor Recreation
Buffalo Range Shooting Park is centrally located near the Illinois River and historic Starved Rock State Park. Buffalo Range is Illinois’ largest outdoor public shooting range that includes a 100 yard, 50 yard, trap, pistol and unique plinking pit. Buffalo Range Shooting Park is a family friendly establishment that offers a variety of shooting ranges to meet your needs. The shooting park also offers concealed carry classes and defense training. There is plenty of open green spaces ...

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Buffalo Rock State Park

State Park
On the bluffs of the Illinois River, Buffalo Rock State Park stands majestically on the north bank, and affords a magnificent, sweeping view of the Illinois River. The State Park is approximately 3 miles west of Ottawa, Illinois, and has long been a favorite picnic area, as well as a nature lovers’ delight. This State Park offers the ideal terrain for the beginner hiker. Mounds representing five earthen sculptures molded from Illinois clay, known as Effigy Tumuli, invite visitors ...

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Catlin Park

Community Park
Catlin Park is a county park located in LaSalle County, Illinois. Catlin Park has 333 acres and is home to 14 distinct trails plus numerous connector trails. These trails course throughout the park’s habitat, including its various streams and ponds. The park’s horse trails are perfect for the novice horse riders and challenging enough for the more seasoned riders. The horse trails are recognized as some of the best in the Chicagoland area. The park is also home to an obstacle ...

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Forest Preserve District of Will County

Outdoor Recreation
The Forest Preserve District of Will County owns or manages land in 70 forest preserves, including 10 designated as Illinois Nature Preserves for their rare natural features. Many preserves offer amenities such as picnic shelters, campsites, canoe/kayak/boat launches, fishing access, ice skating ponds, playgrounds, and sled hills. The Forest Preserve District offers more than 116 miles of trails for biking, cross-country skiing, hiking, horseback riding, in-line skating, running, ...

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Fossil Rock Recreation Area

Outdoor Recreation
Each year, campers make Fossil Rock RV Park and Campground their family vacation destination. Conveniently located 55 miles from Downtown Chicago and 50 miles from Starved Rock State Park, Fossil Rock RV Park and Campground is the perfect retreat after exploring nearby attractions Route 66 Raceway, Chicagoland Speedway, Joliet Prison and the City of Joliet. Campground activities and close proximity to area attractions is what makes the Fossil Rock RV Park and Campground the premier ...

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Gebhard Woods State Park

Outdoor Recreation
Gebhard Woods is a picturesque park that is bordered on the south by the I&M Canal and to the north by Nettle Creek, which gently flows along the perimeter and through the park. What makes the 30-acre park one of Illinois’ most popular state parks, is the hikers, campers, picnickers and canoeists who frequent Gebhard Woods State Park regularly. Fishing, boating and bird watching are also popular activities at Gebhard Woods. The Shabbona Trail goes through Channahon State Park ...

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Goose Lake Prairie State Natural Area

Outdoor Recreation
Goose Lake Prairie State Natural Area serves as testimony to the prairies that once covered nearly 60 percent of Illinois. The prairie provides important nesting habitat for endangered or threatened species of birds, such as the upland sandpiper and Henslows sparrow. Prairie View Trail takes you to the highest point in Goose Lake and offers a panoramic view of reclaimed mine areas, prairie and prairie marsh. Cragg Cabin at Goose Lake Prairie stands as a monument to the pioneer ...

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Heritage Harbor Ottawa

Outdoor Recreation
The Heritage Harbor Marina offers 32 acres of nearly 8-foot deep harbor, boasts a harbor opening width of 200 feet and hosts 152 boat slips ranging between 35 and 60 feet. Watercraft rentals are also available for you to explore the water at your own pace with options like pontoons, electric boats, jet skis, kayaks, and stand up paddle boards.

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Heritage Quarries Recreation Area

County Park
Lemont owes its existence to the Illinois and Michigan Canal (I&M). Digging of the canal began in 1836 and finished in 1848, and represented a revolution in the transportation of goods and people and set Chicago on its path to becoming a great American city. Today, visitors can enjoy a day at the Heritage Quarries Recreation Area (HQRA). Whether you're walking, running, biking, boating, or fishing, the paths along the I&M Canal and quarries is your location for recreation. ...

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Historic Shabbona Park

Community Park
Picnic areas, open fields, several shelters (many with electricity), and fishing ponds are featured at this county-owned park on the banks of Indian Creek. The 21st-century tranquility sharply contrasts with the bloody, violent clash of cultures that earned the park its place in American history. A monument has been erected in memory of the 16 men, women and children slain by Native Americans in the Indian Creek Massacre. Two teenage sisters who were taken prisoners were released ...

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I&M Canal

Outdoor Recreation
In Illinois, the I&M Canal runs 96 miles from the Chicago River in Bridgeport, Chicago to the Illinois River at LaSalle-Peru. Along the banks of the I&M Canal are numerous state parks, restored historical sites, and abundance of wildlife and distinctive landscapes, ranging from bluffs to rolling hills. If you follow the I&M Canal State Trail starting at Rockdale along the old towpath to LaSalle, you will experience 61.5 miles of breathtaking views of the canal, Des Plaines and ...

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Isle a la Cache Museum

I&M Canal
The Isle a La Cache Museum is part of the Forest Preserve District of Will County in Romeoville, Illinois near the Des Plaines River. Isle a la Cache Museum offers an adventure in 18th century history, when "Illinois Country" was home to French voyageurs and native Potawatomi. The Museum features interactive exhibits of the Great Lakes fur trade of the 1700s, in addition to a replica Native American longhouse. The Museum offers nature and history educational opportunities to ...

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Kayak Starved Rock

Outdoor Recreation
Kayak Starved Rock provides kayak and canoe tours on the Illinois River, Mazon River and I&M Canal. Kayak Morris is less than 1 hour from Chicago, kayak tours last approximately 2 hours. Tours are kept small in size to maintain comfort and pacing. Each tour makes stops along the way to enjoy nature and to take a rest. If you are an experienced kayaker or canoer, it is recommended you try a specialty kayak or canoe tour. Reconnect with your family or friends on a kayak or canoe ...

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Lockport Township Park District

Outdoor Recreation
The Lockport Township Park District provides park areas and recreation programs in order to enrich the quality of life of the community. The Lockport Township Park District maintains 38 parks or approximately 950 acres. The Park District also maintains 19 facilities located within the District’s boundaries. Some of these facilities include: Prairie Bluff Public Golf Club, an 18-hole golf course that exhibits a full-service pro shop and clubhouse complete with a restaurant and ...

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Matthiessen State Park

Outdoor Recreation
Matthiessen State Park is an Illinois state park located a few miles south of the more famous Starved Rock State Park. Matthiessen State Park is a paradise for those interested in geology, as well as recreation. With a visit to this state park, you can expect to see beautiful rock formations in addition to unusual and abundant vegetation and wildlife. An abundance of activities will be found at Matthiessen including, camping, fishing, horseback riding trails, geocaching, and ...

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Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie

Outdoor Recreation
Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie is located north of Wilmington, IL and is just one hour from Chicago. Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie is 19,000 acres of beautiful picturesque nature and is adjacent to the 4,200 acre Des Plaines Conservation Area. Midewin remains the only federal tallgrass prairie preserve east of the Mississippi River. With the adjacent Des Plaines Fish and Wildlife Area and a number of other state and county protected areas in the immediate area, Midewin ...

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Old Joliet Prison Park

Community Park
“Get Locked Up… At the Old Joliet Prison.” The Old Joliet Prison Park is open from dawn to dusk daily and located just outside Old Joliet Prison. You will arrive to a huge steel and barbed wire entry sign that beckons you to enter, unlike any other. There are 8 informational kiosks that provide insight into the prison’s past and its intimate history. During your tour of the prison, you will learn about some of Joliet’s most famous prisoners and the movies that have been filmed ...

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Pilcher Park Nature Center

Outdoor Recreation
The Pilcher Park Nature Center is your family nature destination for hiking, biking or cross country skiing. The nature center offers a wide variety of scenic trails to take in the beauty of the Illinois Valley area. Picher Park also provides playground areas and picnic grounds. The park has over 640 acres that is home to wildlife and the perfect environment for outdoor recreation. The Pilcher Park Nature Center will make you feel like you escaped the city for an afternoon of ...

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Run Starved Rock Country

Outdoor Recreation
Run Starved Rock Country is a non-profit organization that is bringing long-distance Road and Trail Races to the Starved Rock Country region. Save the date, May 11, 2019, and plan to participate in the Starved Rock Country Marathon and Half Marathon. Starved Rock is a beautiful area for running and offers plenty of scenic views during the marathon and half marathon. The most popular state park in Illinois, Starved Rock State Park, is home to 18 canyons, seasonal waterfalls, natural ...

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Spring Lake Nature Park

Community Park
Spring Lake Nature Park in Streator, Illinois is 37.2 acres of natural land. The park includes two creeks, a sandstone formation waterfall, trails and flora typical of central Illinois. The park is home to a towering cottonwood tree is the one of the largest in Illinois and well over 200 years old. Spring Lake Nature Park offers an abundance of outdoor recreation such as hiking, bird watching, fishing, horseback riding, a natural beauty for photography enthusiasts. Spring Lake ...

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Starved Rock State Park

Outdoor Recreation
Starved Rock State Park is a world apart from anything else in Illinois. From the minute you wind your car through the towering trees, you will feel as if you are away from everyday life. Starved Rock has 13 miles of trails to explore and the Illinois River offers fishing, boating, extraordinary views and great places to relax. Towering canyons are visible all year round with amazing waterfalls that are active in the spring and after heavy rainfall. No matter what the season ...

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Starved Rock State Park Visitor Center

Outdoor Recreation
The Starved Rock State Park Visitor Center is the place to start you Starved Rock State Park adventure, and is located along the Illinois River in the main park. The Visitors Center has several interactive displays, free videos on the park, hiking maps, exhibits and plenty of information on Starved Rock. As you enter the Visitors Center, you will be welcomed by a slice of the trunk of one of the largest American Elm trees in the United States that grew at Starved Rock. To sign ...

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Scenes from Around the Corridor