Blog

All Aboard for Winter Fun at the Chicago Botanic Garden!: Model Trains, Chicago Landmark Miniatures, and Much More

Looking for some indoor winter fun with the kids? If so, you should check out the Chicago Botanic Garden’s Wonderland Express. It's an annual holiday extravaganza that features model trains journeying around and above dozens of Chicagoland’s major landmarks—from Wrigley Field and the Baha’i Temple, to Sears Tower and The Bean—all lovingly created with the … Continue reading All Aboard for Winter Fun at the Chicago Botanic Garden!: Model Trains, Chicago Landmark Miniatures, and Much More

Advertisements

Nature Photographer Discusses His Love of Lake Michigan and What We Can Do to Protect It

Lake Michigan plays an integral role in the life of Chicagoans and other Midwesterners. Our beautiful lake, its sandy beaches, wildlife, and the sky above are an ever-changing collage of colors and motion: fiery orange and red sunrises and sunsets, crashing waves, migrating birds in the air and on its shores, and fish and other creatures … Continue reading Nature Photographer Discusses His Love of Lake Michigan and What We Can Do to Protect It

Need Gift Ideas for the Holidays and Beyond? I Have Some Talented Friends

I HAVE SOME TALENTED FRIENDS. I didn't just realize that, but it's always important to celebrate achievement in visual art, music, and writing since it is so difficult to attain. As a poet, essayist, frustrated short story writer, and amateur visual artist, I know how much work it takes to make something that is interesting … Continue reading Need Gift Ideas for the Holidays and Beyond? I Have Some Talented Friends

Thanksgiving Day: On Escaping Chicago, Spending Time with Family, and Enjoying a Fire and the Stars

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. Of course, it's a time for gratitude for good things such as one’s family, but I also love Thanksgiving because it allows me to escape densely packed Chicagoland with its 9 million+ people rushing to somewhere or nowhere, honking drivers, packed expressways, and light pollution, which makes it more likely … Continue reading Thanksgiving Day: On Escaping Chicago, Spending Time with Family, and Enjoying a Fire and the Stars

Why I Garden…And Thoughts on My Italian Ancestors, Farming, the Seasons, and What Not  

I COME FROM A GARDENING FAMILY. My Italian grandfather was a landscaper on the north shore. His vast yard in Kenilworth was a sea of vegetables, flowers, and other greenery. Unlike most people’s yards, not a patch of dirt was to be seen. Every inch of real estate was covered by grass or some type … Continue reading Why I Garden…And Thoughts on My Italian Ancestors, Farming, the Seasons, and What Not  

REI Puts Employees Ahead of Profit and Encourages People to Get Out Into Nature

For the third straight year, outdoor gear and sporting goods retailer REI has announced that it will close its 151 stores in the United States on Black Friday (November 24, the biggest shopping day of the year), process no online sales, and pay its employees to head out to enjoy the great outdoors. In a … Continue reading REI Puts Employees Ahead of Profit and Encourages People to Get Out Into Nature

More Than 20 Halloween-Related Events Available for Kids in Chicagoland Forest Preserves, Parks, Zoos, and Other Nature Areas

Local parks, forest preserves, botanical gardens, zoos, arboretums, and national parks in Chicagoland offer a variety of Halloween activities this weekend through October 31 for kids. They range from scary hikes, spooky stories, hay rides, encounters with fearsome animals such as spiders and bats, pumpkin-carving, and Halloween parties. A small fee is required for some … Continue reading More Than 20 Halloween-Related Events Available for Kids in Chicagoland Forest Preserves, Parks, Zoos, and Other Nature Areas

A Personal Ghost Story, Ghosts of Chicago’s Southwest Suburbs, and 11 Spots for Post-Ghost-Tour Fun

I don’t need Halloween to make me feel frightened. We have our own horror movie running in the White House right now. The administration is slashing regulations that protect the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the soil in which our food is grown. But this blog post takes a break from nature … Continue reading A Personal Ghost Story, Ghosts of Chicago’s Southwest Suburbs, and 11 Spots for Post-Ghost-Tour Fun

Little Red Schoolhouse Nature Center: Not Your Parents’ Little Red Schoolhouse

This blog often focuses on unique or off-the-beaten-path nature destinations, but there’s nothing secret, but a lot that’s special, about today's blog destination. The Little Red Schoolhouse Nature Center (LRSNC) in Willow Springs, Illinois, has been a school field trip destination for decades, and tens of thousands of people visit each year. But the LRSNC … Continue reading Little Red Schoolhouse Nature Center: Not Your Parents’ Little Red Schoolhouse

New Book Spotlights 111 Off-the-Radar Destinations in Chicago

YOU WON'T FIND DEEP DISH PIZZA PLACES (okay, there’s one, but it’s a gem), Navy Pier, beef-sandwich joints, and Willis Tower (or Sears Tower, as it is still referred to by many lifelong Chicagoans) in 111 Places in Chicago That You Must Not Miss, by Amy Bizzarri. And that’s a good thing. I cringe when … Continue reading New Book Spotlights 111 Off-the-Radar Destinations in Chicago