All of us here at Starved Rock State Park (Utica, IL) are incredibly honored to be voted Enjoy Illinois’ Facebook Fan Favorite Attraction, capturing 63% of the votes. Having to go up against strong finalists such as the Museum of Science and Industry, Galena’s Historic Main Street and Brookfield Zoo, how did Starved Rock State Park collect the most votes? Perhaps it’s because the park offers a combination of family fun, outdoor adventure, architecture and history – the four original categories in the contest.
The unique park, which is home to the rustic, beautiful, and historic Starved Rock Lodge, is nestled in over 2,600 acres of trees along the banks of the scenic Illinois River. One would not expect to find such picturesque canyons and seasonal waterfalls amidst the rolling hills and fields of Illinois. Chances are if you’ve ever been to Starved Rock, it holds a special place in your heart long after you leave. Starved Rock Lodge and State Park are full of memories that have been accumulating for generations, some dating back 10,000 years. Before your parents or grandparents came to the park on their honeymoon or a family vacation, Native Americans lived here. The tale of two rivaling tribes that fought until one starved to death on top of a 125-foot sandstone bluff was the inspiration for the legendary name, Starved Rock. Stories about Starved Rock have been passed on from generation to generation and one common thread links them altogether – the landscape has remained virtually unchanged for hundreds of years.
Starved Rock State Park is a year-round downstate destination, where fall is transformed with autumn colors; winter with eagles and frozen waterfalls; spring with wildflowers; and summer with a vast array of outdoor adventures. Admission and parking for the park are free and so are many of the events and activities. With Starved Rock being a natural playground for visitors of all ages, it’s no wonder it was voted the Fan Favorite attraction. Over the past 20 years, the park has welcomed an increasing number of visitors, and last year, an all-time attendance record was broken with over 2.1 million guests.
As Marketing Director, I am amazed at the ever-changing nature of nature. It seems to stay the same, but really, it’s always changing. There are different flowers here now which have never bloomed here before. It’s a live-action-attraction that will surprise you, even if you’re here day after day. It’s important to keep exploring because there is always something new to see and do. Unlike with video games and modern technology, Starved Rock allows you to disconnect from the day to day hustle and bustle and enjoy true and natural beauty. Starved Rock State Park is just one of the great destinations that await you in Illinois. From the Shawnee National Forest in Southern Illinois, to the rich presidential history in the Land of Lincoln, to the picturesque landscape along the Mississippi River, there’s always something to explore and enjoy in Illinois.
Director of Marketing
Starved Rock Lodge