(StatePoint) With winter upon us, adventurous Illinoisans are embracing the season to partake in frosty fun.
No matter if winter sports like skiing, snowboarding and snowmobiling get you moving, or if you prefer exploring other pursuits and cultural events during the chillier months, there are a host of captivating winter activities for adventurous Illinois souls.
Bald Eagle Watching, Winter Sports & More in the QC
Where do Bald Eagles soar when winter is celebrated? QC, that’s where! QC, as the Quad Cities area is known to locals, is is a family of communities and cities in Iowa and Illinois on the Mississippi River, shimmering with activity during the cold weather. Celebrate the season with the arrival of the Bald Eagle and with events that add warmth to the winter chill. Bald Eagles migrate south from Canada, making the QC their winter playground in picturesque wooded bluffs. It`s also a great time to visit Snowstar Winter Sports Park for skiing, snowboarding, tubing and more, along with the fantastic exhibits at more than 20 museums in this historic region. Check it all out at www.visitquadcities.com or by calling (800) 747-7800.
Cruise Down the Chicago River in Comfort
Take a premier brunch, lunch, or dinner cruise on the Chicago River with City Cruises. Winter guests can enjoy a glass-enclosed boat with panoramic views of Chicago’s architecture. The brunch and lunch adventure pairs signature upscale dining with ambient music between narrated architectural highlights. At night, enjoy an elegant, three-course plated dinner while you gaze up at Chicago’s incredible sights. This is a truly special dining cruise experience including chefs’ menus prepared fresh on-board, sommelier curated wine and cocktail lists, and the amazing views! The vessels are climate-controlled, so cruises depart year-round. A cruise on the Chicago River is perfect for any celebratory occasion. Private charters for parties, weddings and other social events are available for up to 550 guests. For more information, visit www.cityexperiences.com/chicago/.
Embrace the Joy of Winter and Festival Fun in DeKalb County
Embrace winter in the Midwest with a visit to DeKalb County. There are four giant sled hills available. Find them at Russell Woods in Genoa, Sycamore Park District Community Center in Sycamore, Hopkins Park in DeKalb, and at the Sannauk Forest Preserve in Somonauk. There are three ice skating rinks: two in DeKalb, and one in Sandwich. All sled hills and ice rinks are free. Ice skates, snowshoes, and other winter equipment can be rented from NIU Outdoor Adventures on weekdays from 3-6 p.m. On Feb. 5, the DeKalb Park District will host its free, 7th annual, POLAR-Palooza. Try out winter sports, skate with the NIU Men`s Hockey team, and watch a snow sculptor bring a block of snow to life! Learn more at dekalbcountycvb.com/dccvb-event/polar-palooza/.
Explore Beautiful Country Trails in Freeport
It’s rare you experience a trail like this. Located in beautiful Northern Illinois country, Oakdale Nature Preserve offers groomed cross-country ski, fat-tire bike and snowshoe trails through 133 acres of oak and hickory woodlands and restored prairies. Over four miles of winding trails are great for heart-pumping action or serene reflection. The park is open daily from dawn to 10:30 p.m. at 4433 S. Cranes Grove Rd in Freeport. Skiing and snowshoeing are low impact workouts that offer recreation for all ages and skill levels. The fat-tire bikes trails provide an exciting off-road experience to increase your endurance. Cross-country skis and snowshoes are available to pick up and drop off at the Park District Administration Center by calling 815-235-6114. Visit freeportparkdistrict.org for more information.
Photo 4 Credit: (c) Freeport Park District