Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Garfield Park Conservatory and Gardens

  The conservatory was built in 1955 and was the first aluminum framed building in the United States. It houses a rain forest with palms, orchids, ferns, cacao, vanilla, bananas, coffee trees and other plants that thrive in a hot, moist environment.
  The garden was designed in the style of classic European display gardens with fountains, brick paths, and rows of hedges and flowers – tulips in the spring and annuals in the summer.
  Paved paths meander through the rest of Garfield Park. The park and gardens as a whole are small and it doesn’t take very much time to see everything. 
  The conservatory is accessible. The garden and park have hills so wheelchair users may need assistance.

The parking lot at the north end of the conservatory is large enough for RVs. Gardens  39.73256, -86.14113


Sunday, October 17, 2021

Vermilion County Museum

  The exhibits in this small museum cover natural history, Native Americans, early settlers, coal mining, farming, and local history with donated artifacts. There’s a special exhibit on Abraham Lincoln that includes a replica of the office that he used from 1847 – 1859 while practicing law in the Eighth Judicial District.
  The museum is accessible with an elevator to the second floor however the entrance is a bit awkward due to sloped sidewalk  and a door that opens outward

   The parking lot is large enough for small RVs. Larger RVs can be parked on the side streets. Museum  40.12726, -87.63583

Saturday, October 16, 2021

Champaign Sportsman's Club

  We stopped in Mahomet, Illinois to visit our good friend, Laura. Her apartment doesn’t have parking for large vehicles so we were very happy to find a spot at this quirky little private campground.

  The Sportsman Club is a membership campground that is open to the public. Many of the sites are occupied by permanent or seasonal units but everything is well cared for. There isn’t reservation system - first come/first serve. The sites are not numbered so an employee with a golf cart guides you to your site. Letters are used to designate areas of the campground.

  We were assigned a spot on one of the gravel pads but asked to move onto the grass to be in the shade. This is a very casual place so moving wasn’t a problem. Sites are either full hookup or electric only with water available at numerous faucets and one dump station. Campground  40.19988, -88.37438

Friday, October 15, 2021

McLean County Museum of History

  Housed in a beautiful old courthouse, this museum has exhibits about Abraham Lincoln’s  work as an attorney in McLean County; galleries covering the arrival of immigrants and how they made the county their home; exhibits on the history of McLean County’s courthouses; and a hands-on area for kids.
  The four immigrant galleries focus on individuals and their families, giving museum visitors an in-depth look at the challenges faced and opportunities found as they and their decedents settled into their new homes. Each gallery covers a different experience - living, working, farming, and creating community from the 1820s to the present time.

 The museum is accessible.

  Parking is on the street, free,  and easy to find. Check the signs. Some spaces are limited to 90 minutes. Museum  40.47995, -88.9943

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

The Sawmill Museum

Between the 1850s and 1900, huge rafts of logs, harvested from the seeming endless forests in Wisconsin and Minnesota, were floated down the Mississippi River to the lumber mills in Lyons and Clinton, Iowa. By 1900 the forest were depleted and the mills began closing.

  Four lumber barons, pictured above, entertain museum visitors with a spirited conversation. They along with 11 more residents became millionaires. The museum has an extensive history of the lumber mills with many great photographs. Unfortunately the photographs are small and the displays have boring statistics and paragraphs of tiny text. This museum would be so much better with larger photographs and displays with descriptive titles and short paragraphs.

  Equipment from the mills is on display. There’s also a work area where demonstrations are occasionally held.

Half of the museum is dedicated to hands-on exhibits for kids including a water table with toy boats to float down the river and a kid size logging camp. Museum  41.87008, -90.17529

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Q Casino

  We tried following the signs for oversized parking but construction barriers made it confusing so we stayed on the edge of the main lot. This lot is large enough for any RV.

  We did not visit the casino. Casino  42.51691, -90.64595

Monday, October 11, 2021

Nat'l Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium

The museum explores all aspects of life in and on the Mississippi from the headwaters to the Gulf of Mexico. Two large exhibit buildings – east and west - are connected by a walkway that parallels two outdoor exhibit areas – a boatyard and an aviary with raptors.  Aquariums in both buildings house fish and animals that live in and around the river. A complete 19th-century belt-driven machine shop and hands-on exhibits are in the west building. The east building has historical dioramas and Native American artifacts. Many exhibits highlight conservation, preservation, and restoration projects.

  A small wetlands and a huge dredge are also on the property. The dredge, the William M. Black, is a steam-propelled, sidewheel dustpan dredge that operated on the river from 1934 to 1973. It’s 277 feet long, and 85 feet wide at its widest point. Both decks and the pilot house are opened to tour.

  There’s a lot to see so plan on spending four or five hours at  least.

 The main museums are accessible. The walkway connecting the main museums is accessible. The boat shop, located along the walkway, is accessible.The boatyard is surfaced with loose gravel and is very difficult to push through even with assistance. The wetlands and the dredge can be accessed by the exit doors of the east building that are closest to the wetlands. The boardwalk in the wetlands is accessible. The boardwalk to the dredge is accessible but the ramp down to the boat is steep. The first deck has steep ramps for access. The second deck and pilot house are not accessible. Museum  42.49692, -90.66091

Sunday, October 10, 2021

Diamond Joe Casino

The lot of the casino is not very large but there is enough room for RVs on the end farthest away from the entrance.

  We did not visit the casino so I don’t know about the accessibility. Casino  42.49747, -90.66103

Saturday, October 9, 2021

Effigy Mounds National Monument

  850 to 1,400 years ago the Effigy Moundbuilders constructed small hills shaped like animals along the Upper Mississippi River. They were most likely used during seasonal ceremonies. Many of these low profile mounds were destroyed or damaged when settlers began plowing the land. Fortunately, the Effigy Mounds were preserved when the site became a national monument in the late 1940s. The site has grown to include 2,526 acres with191 known mounds, the largest concentration of mounds in the US.

  The monument has a small visitor center and about 10 miles of trails.

The visitor center is accessible. A short trail leads to a small mound. A one mile round trip boardwalk travels through forest and wetlands. The rest of the monument is not accessible due to hilly terrain.
  The parking lot has long RV spaces.  Monument  43.08885, -91.18693