Ottawa's more than just kid's stuff - families will have a blast here!
Tour the Ottawa Scouting Museum, where you'll learn about the big game hunter/newspaper publisher W.D. Boyce who launched an influential movement in America called Boy Scouts. The museum was founded to promote and preserve the colorful and proud traditions of Boy Scouting, Girl Scouting and Camp Fire.
From the museum, launch your own safari along Ottawa's Scouting Trail system as you explore the history of the city. Grab a box lunch from Obee's Soups Salads and Subs and enjoy lunch in one of Ottawa's beautifully manicured parks.
Be sure to save some energy for horseback riding and a campfire sing-along this evening at Black Socks stables.
Peddle or paddle along scenic traces. Rent bicycles and follow the towpath along the Illinois & Michigan Canal, which literally takes you off the beaten path and into the lovely Illinois scenery. This well-manicured trail is perfect for a family bike ride because it's removed from highways and motorized vehicles are not allowed on the trail.
Or rent a canoe and paddle down the Fox River, beneath sandstone bluffs that remain much as the early Native Americans must have seen them.
In the fall, wind through the serpentine Land of Oz Corn Maze or visit the pumpkin patch at Our Holiday Farm. Stroll along La Salle Street during the annual Scarecrow Festival and rustle up crafts and sales sure to keep the kids busy and Mom and Dad happy.
Petals and Passageways Tour
Lush gardens complement splendid mansions in this tour. Begin in the backyard herb garden of one of Northern Illinois' most impressive buildings. Reddick Mansion in Ottawa began in 1858 as a private home, then its philanthropic owner bequeathed the building for use as a city library. Treat yourself to tea in the garden as Mrs. Eliza Reddick accompanies you back to the 1870s.
Then stroll in Abraham Lincoln's footsteps through Washington Square, resplendent with bright blooms. You might even meet one of the volunteer gardeners who so lovingly tend "The People's Garden." The square is the gateway to our Old Town shopping and dining district, where delightful treasures await! Savor a taste of history as you relax over lunch in the Row House Café, located in an early-20th Century row house. From here, it's just a short drive to La Salle and the splendid late 20th-century masterpiece known as the Hegeler Carus Mansion. After this tour through the past, return to Ottawa to unwind with a wine-tasting at Beyond the Grapevine, where you can indulge in a broad selection of Illinois wines.
The Row House you visited yesterday was the vision of a local architect, Jason Richardson Jr. To learn more about him and sample other architectural and artistic highlights of Ottawa, pick up a copy of the Ottawa Heritage Tour, your illustrated guide to Ottawa's best! Then, travel the short distance to Streator, where you will be greeted by a patrician host and retired radio personality, Ted Weber, for a personally guided tour through his formal gardens and Tudor-style cottage. Unlike most home tours that feature stories of families long gone, Ted is the toast of his tour, full of stories of the famous fabulous celebrities he's hobnobbed with. Who else can claim that Kukla and Ollie slept in his bedroom?
Ready Set Adventure
Start off your adventure soaring with the eagles as you take off from Skydive Chicago's runway thousands of feet in the air and take the plunge into this extreme sport. Or sit back in a comfortable chair at Genie's Café and enjoy the view as others glide softly to earth.
Step off the beaten path to explore some of La Salle County's unspoiled natural beauty. Safely navigate lesser-known canyons of Starved Rock and Matthiessen State Parks, or venture out to the untrammeled paths of nature preserves such as Mitchell's Grove or Sandy Ford.
Relax that evening with live music or karaoke at Shakers Lounge, then get a good night's sleep at one of our comfortable hotels, because the adventure continues tomorrow!
Kayak the Fox River, gliding past the sandstone bluffs that remain virtually untouched for centuries. After your glide downriver, saddle up for a horseback ride through the Fox River Valley at Black Socks Stables.
Faces Places & Ornamentation Tour
The works of noted architect Jason Richardson Jr., an Ottawa native, defined where Ottawans lived and worked in early 20th-Century Illinois. Several of his masterpieces are featured in Ottawa's Heritage Tour, an illustrated guide to the faces and places in Ottawa. From the Lincoln Douglas Debate memorial in Washington Square to communications pioneer J.D. Caton to Underground Railroad "engineer" John Hossack, you will be introduced to the faces and places that made Ottawa great!
Start your tour at the Ottawa Visitors Center, where you can pick up a copy of the Heritage Tour Booklet. Let the book be your guide in hand, while you let your cell phone be your time-travel machine through our vivid outdoor murals. Ottawa's oldest factory and producer of glass marbles, a great parade, a buffalo hunt all are featured in our wall art.