Ottawa: Fun for History Buffs in March!

If you are looking for something to do this weekend, check out Ottawa, Illinois and Heritage Harbor where we have a nice variety of activities year-round. Once you come here, you’ll always be coming back for more! We’re just 90 minutes away from Chicago, which makes us convenient, but we’re far enough away, so it seems like a world away from the big city. You and your family will grow closer as you get away from all the distractions, and enjoy what our beautiful town and land has to offer.

Photo via Reddick Mansion.

The Reddick Mansion tour is affordable and educational. Photo via Reddick Mansion Association Facebook page.


The Reddick Mansion

In downtown Ottawa is a historic treasure just waiting to be discovered. The Reddick Mansion is a pre-Civil War mansion that witnessed the first of the Lincoln-Douglas Debates in Washington Square across the street. The Reddick Mansion is open for tours Wednesday through Monday from 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM. The last tour of the day starts at 2:15 PM. The cost is $8 for adults, $4 for youths, and kids four years old and under are free, making this an affordable and educational outing for the entire family.

When you take your family to the Reddick Mansion, you’re getting a glimpse back through history–right back to the era before and during the Civil War. This mansion is the pride of Ottawa, which everyone should see at least once. Your little ones will be fascinated by the history–and you will be too!

Ottawa Historical and Scouting Heritage Museum

Do you have a child in Scouts? Maybe you or your spouse was a Boy Scout back in the day? Ottawa is the home to the Historical and Scouting Heritage Museum. William Dickson Boyce, one of the founders of the Boy Scouts of America, lived right here in Ottawa. This museum holds the Loan Scout Memory Lodge collections as well as the extensive English Scouting collections of Robert Baden-Powell.

Not so interested in the collections?  There are hiking trails for adults and kids alike as well as a geocache trail. Geocaching is hot and with a GPS, you can go on a scavenger hunt for the geocaches. Everyone in your family will love discovering the buried treasure. The cost is three dollars for adults and two dollars for youth. They’re open Thursday through Monday, 10 AM to 4 PM. You can find out more and get information here.

Trolley tours are a great way to see the area!

Trolley tours are a great way to see the area! Photo via Starved Rock State Park Facebook Page.

Insert photo of trolley. Caption: Trolley tours are a great way to see the area! Under caption: Photo via Starved Rock State Park Facebook Page

Trolley Tours

Sit back and enjoy a trolley tour! Starved Rock trolleys, Ranger and Bella, make it easy for adults with small children and those with restricted mobility to see the best of the area during their first time to the Starved Rock Lodge. Historical and seasonal tours are offered. Don’t miss the Waterfalls and Canyon tours this spring! Special event tours can be arranged on the Bella trolley, set up for 22 guests and a platform for bride and groom photos. Call (815) 220-7386 for tickets and schedule information.

Starved Rock Photography Club

The Starved Rock Photography Club will help you get in touch with your creative side.   Snap away with a group of fellow photographers, both amateur and professional, at this monthly photography walk. Enhance your skills and brainstorm new ideas during informal conversations with other members. Beginners are welcome. Club leader, Jack Pienta, meets with the group every 4th Saturday of the month at 9am at the rear of the large Starved Rock Lodge parking lot. Hikes will involve a hike in one of three area parks and carpooling may be necessary. Annual memberships are available at $25 and include the annual cookout and a club t-shirt. Call (815) 220-7354 for additional details.

As you can see, Ottawa has plenty of activities for both the adventurous and the comfort seekers. While you’re at it, don’t forget to check out Heritage Harbor. Located about an hour from Chicago and minutes from Starved Rock, Heritage Harbor offers riverside vacation rental cottages, vacation homes, a marina, and a restaurant. It is the perfect base camp for a vacation or second home.