Trophy fisherman Walter Krause, who has 15 years' experience on the Illinois Muskie Tournament Trail and the Pro Musky Tournament Trail, takes up to two anglers aboard his private boat for a guided trip through two fish-filled Illinois lakes. Whether plumbing the depths of Cedar Lake for striper or pursuing Kinkaid Lake—one of the top trophy-muskie lakes in Illinois—for oversize bass, muskies, and walleyes, participants benefit from Walter’s 46 years of experience and on-board depth finders and GPS. During the course of each customized trip, visitors learn how to track fish movements, how to properly hold rods, and how to train a wall-mounted singing fish to bait other fish with its seductive crooning. Walter provides each angler with life jackets, bait, tackle, and rods, although participants must bring their own fishing licenses, lunches, and weather-appropriate clothing.
StarView Vineyards is home to both native and French-American hybrid grapes that flourish on the vine during breezy, sunny summers. Seven varieties emerge from those vines, resulting in 12 signature wines, from the semi-dry, citrusy vignoles to the Red Star, a semi-sweet chambourcin. Stop by the tasting room to sip samples of these blends?along with wine slushies and sangrias?or head to the cafe to snack on grilled chicken sandwiches and pasta salad.
Although it's home to more than 50 species of exotic animals, Lazy L Safari Park doesn't have much in common with your average zoo. At this family-run agritourism and ranch operation, visitors don't just stare at animals from behind a glass barrier; instead, they interact with animals such as deer, antelope, and more. Whether they're admiring a powerful Burmese python, staring into the eyes of a Ring-tailed lemur, or feeding a flock of cheery parakeets, visitors get up close and personal at their own leisure.
It's fitting that Perryville Pumpkin Farm caters to families since the farm itself has been a part of the Koenig family's history since 1892. And though the farm has changed a lot since the days when its fields were used to raise cows, chickens, and hogs, it's still managed to remain a tried-and-true family operation since transitioning to a pumpkin farm in 2001. Take Jarod Koenig, for instance, who designed and built the farm's mini golf course himself, and who also designs the one-acre corn maze every year. Meanwhile, Ryan Koenig and his mother Dianna hand-pick every pumpkin sold at the farm stand, leaving the rest for adventurous guests who prefer to peruse the vines themselves. Even family friends contribute to the fun, providing the handmade jellies and jams sold in the farm's shop.
Besides welcoming guests to tour the farm or get lost in the twisting stalks of corn, Perryville Pumpkin Farm hosts a whole slew of autumn activities. Kids can climb on a straw bale fort, crawl through a straw tunnel, or practice their aim with the pumpkin sling. Animals also play a big part in the fun here, and guests can feed the goats and chickens, or even try their hand at milking a cow with a little help from local dairy farmer, Dan. Of course, the main event is the wagon ride out to the massive pumpkin patch where guests can pick a perfect specimen to take home and carve into a jack-o-lantern or a slightly smaller pumpkin.
• For $35, you get one round of golf for two on the championship course with cart rental Monday-Friday (up to a $74 value). • For $45, you get one round of golf for two on the championship course with cart rental Saturday and Sunday (up to a $94 value).