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Winter is a beautiful time to visit Starved Rock Lodge and State Park in Utica, IL. Comfortable Lodge rooms are close to the on-site dining room and the Great Hall still offers a peaceful ambiance by the fireplace. The indoor pool complex has a hot tub, two saunas and a gated children's pool. Outside, the beauty of the season abounds.
"Discover the Eagle Trolley Tours" run throughout January and February on Monday, Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday (except Jan. 22 and 23). Winter Wilderness Weekend takes place on Jan. 15 and 16. Free, guided tours depart from the Visitor Center at 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. both days.
Visitors will enjoy outdoor sled dog demonstrations on Jan. 16 and Feb. 20 (at the Visitor Center) and indoor educational presentations (in the Lodge). Learn about the fascinating characteristics that made the Siberian Husky an irreplaceable team member on Iditarod teams. The premiere event of winter is the "Eagle Watch Weekend" on Jan. 22 and 23 (9 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days). Trolleys run for just $1 and loop from the Lodge to the IL Waterway Visitor Center for eagle viewing.
The IL Audobon Society hosts interesting exhibits. Free lectures are presented on "Birds of Prey" by the World Bird Sanctuary, where live eagles and falcons fly over your head as you learn about these amazing birds. This is quite an impressive show for seniors and youngsters alike! Not to be missed is the 3rd annual "Artists of the Valley" and Native American Drum Circle on Sun., Feb. 27. Here you can listen to Ojibway tribal songs and stories in a drum circle led by Ron Kanutski (Mushkiki-Gizhi-baa-sense-Kwaa). Bear clan, piano and flute lecture to follow. Suggestd donation: $20 per person/$35 family.
The public is also invited to visit the free art show in the Starved Rock Room by local artists called "Artists of the Valley." Starved Rock has an extensive collection of woodcarvings and outdoor sculptures called "Art in the Park," which are wheelchair and stroller-friendly.
Cross country skiing is available when snowfall permits at nearby Matthiessen State Park. On-staff massage therapists are waiting for your return! For more information and events, please visit starvedrocklodge.com, starvedrockstatepark.org and starvedrockseniors.com.