A metropolis with a weird backstory, Zion was established on the flip of the twentieth century as a non secular group by the rich religion healer John Alexander Dowie.
Practically all land and enterprise in Zion was owned by his church, which dominated each facet of the populace’s lives, even right down to their alternative of marriage companions.
The church’s demise got here in 1942 when Dowie’s successor, a sworn flat earther, confessed to embezzling church funds, however not earlier than he had oppressively dominated the congregation for nearly 4 a long time.
You can discover out about this curious legacy at Dowie’s Shiloh House, whereas at present’s Zion is a lovely lakefront metropolis, with nice parks and numerous working farms that welcome guests in fall.
1. Illinois Beach State Park
Most of the shoreline in Zion is occupied by this ecologically wealthy state park, including as much as greater than 4,150 acres throughout two models (north and south).
The seashore is the principle draw for guests, with some 6.5 miles of shoreline, and you may attain the 2 sections alongside the Zion Bike Trail.
Away from the sand and pebble seashores, the park has astonishing biodiversity, in black oak savanna, wetlands, dunes and prairie.
More than 650 plant species have been recorded within the dunes alone, and for a glimpse of those ecosystems there are looping trails in each the north and south sections.
2. Dungeon of Doom Haunted House
By Illinois Beach State Park, the previous Briquette Factory is the setting for one of many nation’s most acclaimed haunted homes.
Dungeon of Doom is open on weekends, often from mid-September to Halloween, and has pushed the envelope for what haunted home sights may be.
When you’re not scared out of your wits you’ll marvel on the extraordinary stage of talent and artistry that goes into every part, from the units to performing, make-up, ideas, ambient sound and props.
Dungeon of Doom takes a harrowing hour to get by means of, and after we wrote this text was celebrating 1 / 4 century of scares.
3. Edge of Escape Rooms
At the identical location, the workforce behind Dungeon of Doom Haunted House, have channeled their experience right into a transformative escape room attraction.
With the identical excessive consideration to element, Edge of Escape Rooms gives an immersive, participating and extremely interactive expertise, enhanced with first-class service.
As nicely as real looking props and situations, the 2 rooms right here have puzzles that even veteran escape room gamers received’t have encountered earlier than.
At the time of writing the 2 rooms have been Time Machine and Tunnels Under London, each for 2-9, with an adjustable problem stage and with a steampunk aesthetic.
4. Shiloh House
If you need to get your head round Zion’s curious beginnings the apparent place to begin is the restored 24-room mansion of its founder, John Alexander Dowie (1847-1907).
The evangelist and religion healer commissioned Chicago Architect Paul Burkhardt to design this property, which blends parts of the Queen Anne type with a Swiss chalet.
Dowie lived right here from 1903 till his dying in 1907, and since 1967 the landmark has been the headquarters for the Zion Historical Society.
Objects of curiosity together with volumes of Dowie’s writings, ornamental arts, his images, his pulpit/lectern, his workplace furnishings, Scottish lace made by the church-owned manufacturing unit and a costume belonging to Dowie’s spouse, are on present all through the constructing, which is open for excursions.
5. Shiloh Park
West of Dowie’s mansion is a sweeping, 132-acre park with a number of recreation facilities inside its boundaries or shut by.
Remarkable for its stately boulevards, Shiloh Park is Zion’s important venue for out of doors group occasions, the biggest being the 4th of July Festival, with carnival rides, youngsters’s actions and naturally, a powerful fireworks show.
There are additionally household occasions within the park at Halloween and Christmas, so it’s value staying in contact with the Zion Park District Website.
Sports-wise, Shiloh Park has basketball courts, 4 tennis courts, two baseball diamonds and a number of other smaller softball fields, in addition to a youngsters’s playground. Close by there’s Shiloh Park Golf Course, the Zion Park District rec heart and Port Shiloh Pool, open in summer season.
6. Kroll’s Fall Harvest Farm
Visiting this farm in Waukegan has been a fall custom for native households for generations. Kroll’s Farm is frequently named among the many finest pumpkin patches in Illinois, and even the nation.
The fall season kicks off in mid-September, and for the following seven weeks there’s a small world of sights, together with a corn maze, hayrides, a petting farm and naturally, pumpkins.
These are pre-picked, coming in each form, dimension and shade, and are offered together with corn stalk bundles, straw bales, Indian corn and gourds.
On choose days in summer season, Kroll’s Farm additionally places on out of doors film nights, when you’ll be able to meet and feed the farmyard animals, seize one thing from one of many meals vehicles and settle right down to a basic film in a bucolic setting.
7. Hosah Park
Hiding between the Illinois Beach State Park’s two sections, Hosah Park is an unfrequented lakefront sanctuary, composed of dunes and wetlands, and designated a Ramsar web site.
Hosah Park’s ecological significance comes from the distinctive ecosystems created by the wealthy soils within the damp depressions between the dunes.
You can discover the sanctuary and get onto the seashore by way of boardwalks and paved trails that hyperlink with the state park.
The seashore is among the most secluded items of lakefront within the Chicago space, though swimming will not be permitted on account of offshore drop-offs and riptides.
8. Port Shiloh Pool
A pillar of summertime in Zion, this out of doors pool complicated is one in all a cluster of public recreation amenities round Shiloh Park.
There has been a group pool at this spot since 1955, and the power was utterly reworked in 1993.
Open early June to mid-August Port Shiloh Pool has a zero-depth entry leisure pool, a lap pool with lanes, a physique slide and a tube slide.
Around the complicated there are water play options, a sand play space, in addition to a concessions stand and a spacious garden space.
9. Patch 22
Now deep into its fifth decade, Patch 22 is a working, family-run farm not far-off in Wadsworth. The farm opens to the general public from the primary Sunday in May till Halloween (Sundays solely, then weekends in fall).
During the summer season and fall you’ll be able to carry youngsters for 20-minute pony rides within the farm’s massive pasture.
Then when fall comes, there’s a little bit extra happening, with hundreds of farm-grown pumpkins, hayrides, a petting farm, a spooky hayloft and plenty of fall-themed treats like taffy apples.
10. Shepherd’s Crook Golf Course
The modern course architect Keith Foster laid out this acclaimed public 18-hole course in Zion.
Opened in 1999, Shepherd’s Crook has links-style format, drawing inspiration from fabled programs like Ballybunion and Waterville in Ireland.
The design additionally harks again to the Twenties and 30s, the heyday after all design within the Chicago space, with its bentgrass tees, fairways and greens.
Allow about 4 ½ hours for a spherical, and cease by the clubhouse grill, which has a scenic veranda with views over the ninth and 18th holes.
11. Beulah Park
This park encompasses the peaceable hardwood forest on the banks of Kellogg Creek, which flows into Lake Michigan at Illinois Beach State Park.
Along with its quiet magnificence, what places Beulah Park on the map is a warren of mountain biking trails, to go along with the paved bicycle path that follows the banks of the creek.
At the park’s east finish is a sequence of BMX jumps, whereas on the south facet, away from the paths, is a playground for youths subsequent to Kedron Boulevard.
A few blocks west of the park is the Robert McClory Bike Path, taking pictures north to south by means of Lake County on the route of the previous Chicago North Shore and Milwaukee Railroad.
From the Wisconsin line, the path turns into the Kenosha County Bike Trail, persevering with for just a few extra miles into Kenosha.
12. Jubilee Days
Held for greater than 70 years, the largest public occasion on the calendar in Zion takes place over Labor Day weekend.
Jubilee Days was established to have a good time the harvest, in addition to Zion’s distinctive origins. The pageant has one thing to please all comers, with meals distributors, a queen’s pageant, dwell leisure, youngsters’s actions, fireworks and rather more.
But the massive occasion is the biggest Labor Day parade in Illinois, with a brand new theme every year, and greater than 100 models setting off from Shiloh Park and touring down Sheridan Road.
13. Anderson Farm Orchard
One of the final remaining family-owned apple orchards left in Lake County may be present in Zion, proper subsequent to Shepherd’s Crook Golf Course and a stone’s throw from the Wisconsin border.
Anderson Farm was established in 1979 and opens seven days every week within the fall to promote its pre-picked apples and freshly pressed cider.
Among the varieties cultivated on the orchard are Red and Golden Delicious, Gala, McIntosh, Winesap and Snowapple, and after we wrote this text the farm had simply began producing Rhode Island Greenings, a range relationship again to the seventeenth century.
14. Edina Park
Exiting the prepare at Zion Metra station you’ll be greeted by this inviting 50-acre park, framed by lofty previous timber.
The north part of Edina Park is a tranquil, wooded nature space, whereas the southern part by the station has a playground, two tennis courts and a basketball courtroom.
Something particular about Edina Park is the Zion Bike Trail, which connects the north and south sections of Illinois Beach State Park.
This path runs north to south for a number of miles, beginning at seventeenth Street and taking you all the way in which into the south part at twenty ninth avenue, the place the path has a southern spur for Carmel Park and the Zion Shopping Center.
15. Lake Michigan Fishing Charters
There’s an exceptionally productive salmon and trout fishery in Lake Michigan across the Illinois-Wisconsin border.
And in case you’re up for a fishing journey, Winthrop Harbor’s North Point Marina is little greater than ten minutes from the middle of Zion and is a base for numerous fishing charters.
Typically, the lake trout and chinook salmon season is May by means of September, and with a large choice of corporations to select from, you’re positive to search out the package deal, vessel and captain that fits you.
A couple of names to look out for are Jackpot Fishing, Migrator Charters, Diamond Ghost Charters, Renegade Fishing Charters, Breezy 1 Charters and Son Set Charter Fishing.