With fall beginning in a week, here are the best scenic byways in IllinoisWhile temperatures are still warm throughout the state, changing leaves are a sign that fall is on its way.

Illinois offers numerous ways to get out and enjoy the fall season, from taking in breathtaking views along the Great River Road to enjoying vineyards and river cruises near Galena.

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Illinois park of the month: Giant City State Park

Even though kids are heading back to school, there are still some good weather days left this summer to visit one of Illinois’ magnificent parks.

One park you definitely want to see is Giant City State Park, an outdoor enthusiast’s dream where scenes from the popular movie “Gone Girl” were filmed.

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DicksonMoundsFor centuries, the Illinois River valley was populated and developed by a series of Native American cultures and communities.

Today, the Dickson Mounds Museum, a branch of the Illinois State Museum and a site on the National Register of Historic Places sits amongst a large complex of burial mounds and ancient village sites.

Visitors are greeted with historical artifacts ranging from ancient cookware, arrowheads and canoes.

Also, interpretive exhibits help patrons better understand the community structures, belief system and interactions with other Native Americans and European explorers.

Starting in 1927, property owner and local chiropractor Don Dickson began excavation of the site.

For many decades, Dickson ran a private museum.

Beginning in 1972, the property was transferred to the State of Illinois and became a part of the Illinois State Museum.

Today, Dickson Mounds Museum is a state treasure that should be visited, learned from, and cherished.

FullSizeRenderThe Illinois State Fair Butter Cow has long been a celebrated fair tradition. For over 90 years, the fair has featured this staple item. The butter cow uses 500 pounds of unsalted butter and can take up to 120 hours of work.

For the last 20 years, Sharon BuMann has been the artist behind the sculpture. This year, however, will be her last. The sculptor’s farewell piece features a grandfather showing his granddaughter about life on the farm alongside the main attraction, the cow. The inspiration for BuMann’s art comes from her family farm.

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Park of the month: Rock Cut State Park

If you are in northern Illinois this summer, consider going to Rock Cut State Park to unwind and enjoy the outdoors. You won’t leave disappointed.

Located in Loves Park, Rock Cut State Park is known for its bodies of water that offer opportunities for recreation and fun.

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