Immerse yourself in the natural beauty of Illinois and explore its diverse range of native trees. From towering oak varieties to hidden arboretums, the state is a haven for nature enthusiasts.
One of the state’s hidden gems is the Starhill Forest Arboretum located in Petersburg, IL. Owned by the Sternberg family since 1976 and now serving as the official arboretum of Illinois College, this 50-acre private arboretum boasts over 2,300 woody plants. It is especially renowned for its impressive collection of oak varieties, with more than 750 oaks of different species dating back as far as 1850.
The arboretum offers guided tours, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in the native flora and learn about the fascinating world of trees. Admission is free, although donations are appreciated. With its stunning landscapes and rich history, Starhill Forest Arboretum is truly a must-visit destination for anyone seeking a peaceful and educational adventure with nature.
Piney Creek Ravine – Southern Illinois’ Hidden Gem
If you’re a nature lover or history enthusiast, Piney Creek Ravine in southern Illinois near Ava is a must-visit destination. This hidden gem offers a truly breathtaking hiking experience, showcasing picturesque landscapes, stunning waterfalls, and the largest collection of Native American Rock Art in the state of Illinois.
The hike at Piney Creek Ravine spans a little over 2 miles and takes you through moderately rugged terrain, including rolling hills, rocky conditions, creek crossings, and slippery surfaces. It’s important to stay on the designated trail at all times to ensure safety and avoid any hazardous situations.
Piney Creek Ravine holds immense historical significance and is dedicated to preserving its cultural and natural treasures. Vandalism is strictly prohibited, and the area is heavily monitored by surveillance cameras and frequently patrolled. As you explore, you’ll have the opportunity to immerse yourself in the beauty of nature while learning about the rich history of the region.
The Oak Park Conservatory – A City Escape in Historic Oak Park
The Oak Park Conservatory, located in historic Oak Park, Illinois, is a community gem and one of the top historical sites in the area. With three indoor Conservatory showrooms showcasing Mediterranean, Tropical, and Desert plants, as well as outdoor gardens representing native Illinois ecosystems, this hidden oasis offers a rich atmosphere of flora and fauna. Visitors can enjoy the sights and sounds of nature, taking in the fresh air and exploring the beautiful surroundings. The Conservatory is free to the public, but donations are appreciated. Managed by the Park District of Oak Park, it welcomes visitors to immerse themselves in the tranquility of its urban outdoor gardens and discover the diverse plant life that thrives in Illinois. The Oak Park Conservatory offers a peaceful escape from the bustling city, providing a serene environment to reconnect with nature.