FLW OPThe Illinois Office of Tourism kicked off National Travel and Tourism Week by unveiling a new Frank Lloyd Wright Trail to celebrate the famed architect’s history and connection to the state.

Wright was known for his uniquely American style of architecture, including several well-known buildings in Illinois. His creative period spanned over 70 years and produced designs for homes, offices, churches, schools, hotels, museums and other structures.

Two new road trip itineraries will feature buildings designed by Wright, who spent the first two decades of his career based in Chicago and Oak Park. This self-guided architectural adventure will feature 13 Wright-designed buildings open to the public throughout Illinois.

One trail goes from Chicago to Springfield, with stops in Kankakee and Dwight, allowing visitors to discover the shining examples of Wright’s signature Prairie style.

Another trail takes travelers from Chicago to Rockford, with stops in Geneva, Hampshire and Belvedere, following Wright’s career from his earliest designs to his biggest innovations.

Both itineraries – which can be downloaded from EnjoyIllinois.com – also suggest other activities along the way, such as Chicago’s architecture cruise, the Oak Park walking tour of Wright-designed homes, and various eateries and tourist attractions.

The creation of the Frank Lloyd Wright Trail was approved by the General Assembly last month. This summer, official Frank Lloyd Wright Trail road signs will be displayed across Illinois.

kiteIt is National Kite Flying month and what better way to celebrate the nice weather than taking the entire family out to fly some kites?

Flying a kite can be a fun activity for the entire family and people of all ages. Below are some special kite events that are happening in the suburbs.

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Park of the month: Cache River State Natural Area

This month, we are featuring a unique conservation area in Illinois’ “Little Egypt” region called Cache River State Natural Area. The park exists to preserve unique wetlands that are home to a wide variety of protected flora and fauna.

The Cache River wetlands sit within a floodplain carved thousands of years ago by glacial floodwater from the Ohio River. Growing throughout the wetlands of the Cache River State Natural Area are large cypress trees, many of which are over 1,000 years old and more than 40 feet in diameter. The Cache River wetlands are home to Illinois’ state champion bald cypress tree, which is noted for its height, trunk girth and thick canopy of branches and leaves.

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eggWith nicer weather on its way, many museums and park districts are preparing for larger crowds. Kids in Illinois will be able to choose from a variety of different indoor and outdoor activities this coming spring.

At the SciTech Museum in Aurora, there will be plenty of opportunities to explore and learn about science. The museum is partnering up with the Aurora Green Fest to celebrate Earth Hour on March 24 from 6:30-8:30 p.m. This event gives families a chance to explore exhibits, participate in yoga, meditation, craft projects and more – all for free.

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GlessnerHouseexteriorNestled in the Near South Side of Chicago, the Prairie Avenue Historic District contains one of the American architectural gems of the 19th century.

The John J. Glessner House was designed in 1885 by architect Henry Hobson Robinson and served as inspiration for renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright. In October 1970, the site was named a historic landmark, and on Jan. 7, 1976, it became a National Historic Landmark.

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