Vast open spaces, freedom to roam, and beautiful trails, gardens and nature preserves abound in Springfield, Illinois. Looking for an itinerary that allows for the appreciation of nature and the outdoors? Look no further.
Thomas Rees Memorial Carillion
The Carillon is one of the largest and finest of the world’s carillons, boasting 67 cast bronze bells covering a range of 5½ chromatic octaves. Located in historic Washington Park, the Thomas Rees Memorial Carillon is the site of numerous free public concerts, exciting community events and the world-renowned International Carillon Festival and Festival Fireworks Display, held each June. Click here for information on their free weekly concerts.
Lincoln Memorial Gardens
Lincoln Memorial Gardens represents the landscape Abraham Lincoln would have known growing up and living in the Midwest, containing plants native to the three states he lived in— Kentucky, Indiana and Illinois. Designed by internationally known landscape architect Jens Jensen, this 100-acre site features 6 miles of trails, footbridges, a pond, eight stone council rings and dozens of wooden benches inscribed with Lincoln quotes. The woodland and prairie garden beckons to thousands of visitors year round — families, birdwatchers, photographers, artists, nature enthusiasts and school children — to learn about nature and enjoy the wildflowers, trees and wildlife.
Washington Park Botanical Gardens
Open year round, this is one of Central Illinois major horticultural attractions with 20 acres of land featuring more than 1,800 species of plants in 10 specific garden areas and the Conservatory. The Conservatory is a 50-foot diameter glass dome containing over 150 species of plants. The Botanical Garden also features an additional 9,000 square feet of indoor greenhouse area. Discover tropical Africa, the jungles of Asia and the rainforests of South America. Seasonal displays include Easter lilies, poinsettias, orchid exhibits and Japanese bonsai displays.
Reconnect with nature. Whatever your horsemanship needs, a first time rider looking for a scenic trail ride along the beautiful Sangamon River where Abraham Lincoln traveled or a horse lover wanting to take lessons, Riverside Stables is there to help! The stables can also provide canoe rentals, facilities for private parties or field trips for those looking for a new and exciting way to explore nature. Guided trail rides and riding lessons are available year round.
Biking and hiking trails
Consider taking your group for a morning walk or run to get the day started right! Opening at sunrise, the Springfield Park District manages an extensive trail system that connects Springfield to several surrounding communities. The trails are open to walkers, runners, bicyclists, rollerbladers, strollers, wheelchairs and cross-country skiers. The trails are open year round sun-up to sundown.