LET TRAVELKATZ PLAN YOUR ILLINOIS VACATION PACKAGE
Travelkatz will put together an Illinois Vacation Package custom tailored just for you. We handle all aspects of your trip so you can sit back, relax and enjoy. We provide three options for every state in the USA. If you have any questions or concerns please don’t hesitate in contacting us.
PLACE OF INTEREST
Matthiessen State Park
Illinois’ very own Matthiessen State Park combines canyons, streams, prairie and forest to delight visitors. Located in central LaSalle County, approximately 4 miles south of Utica and 3 miles east of Oglesby, Matthiessen is a paradise for those interested in geology, as well as recreation. Visitors can expect to see beautiful rock formations in addition to unusual and abundant vegetation and wildlife. All of this, along with park and picnic facilities, make Matthiessen State Park a popular choice for an outing.
Picnicking: The Dells Area of the Matthiessen State Park provides a perfect setting for picnics and an afternoon of relaxation. This area has picnic tables, water fountains and playground equipment, as well as a large parking lot and toilet facilities. An added attraction is the restored fort representative of the fortifications the French built in the Midwest during the 1600s and early 1700s. The main trail to the Cascade Falls area originates in this area. To the south, at the Vermilion River Area, additional picnic shelters, picnic tables, grills and drinking fountains provide convenient picnic facilities. Alcohol is prohibited Jan. 1 through May 31 in the picnic area.
Trails: Matthiessen State Park has 5 miles of well-marked, well-surfaced hiking trails for a relaxing walk or a vigorous hike. Large trail maps are located at all major trail intersections, so visitors can choose a variety of routes. The upper area and bluff tops are easy hiking paths for the novice, but the trails into the interiors of the two dells may be difficult to negotiate, particularly during spring and early summer. Hikers must stay on marked trails, as steep cliffs and deep canyons can be dangerous. Hikers will marvel at the plant and animal life along the trails and have an unparalleled view of geological wonders as they travel through the park. Alcohol is prohibited on all trails.
Cross Country Skiing: There are 6 miles of cross-country ski trails with ski rental available weekends from December through March.
Horseback Riding/Equestrian Camping/Mountain Bikes: The park provides 9 miles of multi-use mountain bike/ horseback riding trails for those who own their own horse or mountain bike. The trails are color coded and marked with the yield order triangle which symbolizes that all users yield to horse riders. An equestrian campground for horseback riders and their horses is located west of Route 178 between Route 71 and the Dells Area entrance. Alcohol is prohibited in all campgrounds. The horseback riders camping, and multi-use trails are open from April 15 (weather permitting-determined by park staff) to October 31.
Hunting: For details on hunting programs, check with Travelkatz for information for Matthiessen, Starved Rock, Sandy Ford and Mitchell’s Grove.
Other Activities: A field archery range with a sight-in area and four separate targets is in the northwestern portion of Matthiessen State Park near Deer Park Country Club just off Illinois Route 71. A radio-controlled model airplane field is located at the Vermilion River Area. Hobbyists and visitors will enjoy flying or watching as these crafts are maneuvered around this open field area.
We recommend flying into Peoria Airport from Tampa, rent a car and drive to Utica where you and your family can enjoy Matthiessen State Park as well as several others in Utica’s area. Just give us a call at 352-277-7300 and we will make a fun filled vacation for you and yours.
Illinois State Capital: Springfield
Originally called Springfield for the nearby Spring Creek, the city was briefly renamed Calhoun in the 1820s, for politician John C. Calhoun. But the name never caught on with the city’s residents, who continued to call the city Springfield, either out of distaste for the politician or simply out of habit. Eventually, giving in to local pressure, the city was officially re-named Springfield in 1833. This Illinois Vacation Package that follows is an ideal way to visit this state.
Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum: This is a wonderful state of the art museum! With two shows, one with holographs and the other is a 4D Theater! There is a room full of toys, dress up clothes and wonderful imagination sparking objects for the little ones in your group. This museum is a moving tribute to one of our finest Presidents. The addition exhibits are breathtaking. Ghosts of the Library and the Union Theater will be your favorite. The movies are complete with holograms, sound effects, and motion; the lifelike figures; and the actual memorabilia that President Lincoln owned. The historical video presentation in the Union Theater is titled “Through His Eyes” and tells Abe’s story. Hold onto your seats as the video, sound and light effects are over the top. The static displays that intertwine everything are great also. His Top Hat, Cane, Mary’s Necklace, everything explained and then some. You’ll learn more about him than you even knew and why he was such a great president. 4 hours is a perfect time.
Illinois State Museum: The Illinois State Museum has so much to see – plan on spending at least a few hours here. favorite permanent exhibits are the four full-size dioramas detailing lives of pre-historic Archaic, Woodland, and Mississippian Native cultures and historic Indians. Reasonable fees and free to seniors and ISM donors. Parts of the museum are “old-school”/classic museum and others are interactive and especially for youngsters. This museum has an exhibit of natural history of Illinois on the ground floor, and on the second floor there were exhibits of Native American history, Carl Sandburg’s home, and artwork by Illinois residents. Curious about the Civil War or if you want in depth coverage this is the place to go. The displays are all awe inspiring and the personal interact with Abe interesting. Very informational. Kids can dig for fossils, load a jeep, crawl through a cave, and have fun at the Illinois State Museum’s Play Museum – and it’s FREE!
Lincoln Home National Historic Site: A free guided tour by the U.S. Park Service. Besides his home, there are two other houses to visit. One showing how his home was added onto and the other on how the 4 square blocks were preserved. A great snapshot of 1800’s history and where/how one of our greatest presidents lived his adult life. The home still has most of the Lincolns’ actual furnishings. Your guide is very knowledgeable and attentive. He really brings the home and furnishings to life with the anecdotal stories he’ll tell. You could sense his love of the Lincoln family and his respect of all they became. After touring their home, and hearing the stories, you’ll almost feel as though you were invited in by, and spent time with Mary Todd and Abraham Lincoln yourself. Don’t miss the chance to immerse yourself in the history of them in the essence of their belongings.
Dana-Thomas House: This house really is a treasure, and somewhat of a miracle that it exists virtually intact with most of the furnishings, stained glass, and decorative arts that it had when it was built in 1902-1904. You’re able to visit most of the house on guided tours that leave regularly from the visitor’s center that’s in the adjacent coach house. The tour is preceded by a short video on the history of the house, and your guide is friendly, professional, and very well informed. There’s a small parking lot diagonally across the railroad tracks from the house. They ask for donations to help maintain the house, but no set fee is required. The house itself really is a marvel – an amazing example of Wright’s Prairie Style, done for a client with a lot of money, so it’s both large and lavish. The spaces are really quite amazing, especially when the sunlight comes through some of the many stained glass windows. Definitely go to this house if you are a Wright fan, or an arts and crafts fan, or just to see an amazing piece of history and architecture.
Lincoln Tomb & War Memorials: Just because the door is closed doesn’t mean you can’t go in. Just inside you are greeted by an attendant who is very knowledgeable of the history of the monument and tomb, how his was built, rebuilt, additions and Lincoln family burials, including the one that isn’t there. Lincoln’s Tomb is simple but majestic at the same time. Just like he was. The various statues around the perimeter are great also. You can feel the history reeking from the place. Make this your third stop on your own one day tour and it is a fitting way to end it. Be sure to go to your library and get the CD that has the story of Lincoln’s body and how many times it was moved and how the gang tried to steal it.
Illinois State Capitol: Tours of the Capitol include the wacky early years of statehood – including why the Congress of the era wanted to have this state formed ( pay for the Illinois- Michigan Canal that would allow circumnavigation of the then United States). The building itself was the first statehouse after the federal Capitol was completed and it became the model for over a dozen other state capitols built afterwards. Tour it with the official guides, but do it on weekdays – visitors cannot go to upper floors on weekends. This capitol building is simply spectacular! The variety of wood, stone, marble and crystal is staggering. The tour is free and the guide is fun, humorous and very thorough. The guide will answer any questions and let you stay behind and take all the pictures you want. A wonderful experience!
Flights to Springfield are direct from Tampa and lots of choices for hotels. Call TravelKatz – 352-277-7300 if going to Springfield, Illinois is on your state-side to do list…we’ll be happy to create a wonderful vacation for you and your fellow travelers.
ILLINOIS VACATION PACKAGE MADE EASY
Another option for our Illinois Vacation Package is the Natural Wonder. See our selection of choice below to see if it fancies your style. Please don’t hesitate in contacting us with any questions or concerns.
ILLINOIS Natural Wonder: Lake Michigan
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