I have had the pleasure of experiencing Starved Rock Lodge many times throughout my life. In fact, I had my first date and got engaged to my husband right here in the park. However, I had yet to experience all the wonders of this amazing place through a family adventure. So, today, we did just that. My husband, 3 year old daughter, and sister (who just flew in from Arizona) joined me for an adventure.
We hiked to Ottawa Canyon; the trails were still fairly muddy from the rain so I decided to carry Zoey in the baby bjorn, and I’m so glad I made that choice. She had a blast getting to see the sights without having to do any of the work. She loved shouting “Cocka-doodle-doo!” in the canyons so she could hear her echo.
We then drove her to Buffalo Rock to see the buffalo as she is quite the animal enthusiast. She was smitten, and didn’t want to leave. I saw another family had packed a picnic to enjoy at the park and made a note to do the very same thing next time. The playground area would make it the perfect place to enjoy a couple of hours.
After lunch on the Veranda, I let her choose one stuffed animal from the Gift Shop and she quickly chose the stuffed husky dog and it is now her most prized possession.
We simply had to indulge in some homemade ice cream from the Cafe. Zoey wanted a cone, but as I was hesitant to embrace myself for the mess, Bobette happily offered to put the ice cream in a dish and put the cone on top. A win-win… thanks, Bobette! I owe ya.
I couldn’t let Zoey go without a souvenir smashed penny from the machine, and she told me “This was my favorite adventure. This was OUR adventure.”
As I walked them to the car I showed her some of the art in the park along the way. She was delighted to get to see “more animals!”
Although this was a full day of fun, I still didn’t check off all of the things I had on my list. “More than just a day trip” proved to be true. There are so many aspects of Starved Rock Lodge to enjoy for days. This was my favorite adventure. This was OUR adventure.
-Kirby Heward, Digital Media Coordinator