Ride a troop train or the Anzio Express; see skirmishes, battles and even sabotage; visit the North Platte Canteen and more, at WWII Living History Days at Illinois Railway Museum in Union, May 19-20.

Events at a Glance: Recreation & Destinations Calendar

There’s so much to do in our region! Here are some exciting recreation events happening this season

Ride a troop train or the Anzio Express; see skirmishes, battles and even sabotage; visit the North Platte Canteen and more, at WWII Living History Days at Illinois Railway Museum in Union, May 19-20.


Northern Illinois LEGO Train Show
March 17-18, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. This group builds trains, skyscrapers, castles, Star Wars, Harry Potter and more, entirely out of LEGOs. $5/$3 GHC members & students. Geneva History Center, 113 S. 3rd St., Geneva, (630) 232-4951, genevahistorycenter.org.

Welcome Home, Cranes
March 18, 3-4:30 p.m. Learn about the sandhill cranes as they arrive this spring – their journey north, their life habits and why they nest in McHenry County. Lyons Prairie & Marsh, 7500 Hickory Nut Grove Road, Cary. Register: (815) 479-5779, mccdistrict.org.

Searching for Sandhills
March 24, 5:30-7 p.m. Indoor presentation followed by a carpool to the marsh to try to see cranes. Dress for outdoor hiking. Lost Valley Visitor Center, Glacial Park Conservation Area, 6316 Harts Road, Ringwood, (815) 479-5779, mccdistrict.org.

St. Charles Home Show
March 24-25, 10 a.m. All local remodeling, renovations and repair experts under one roof. Free adm./parking. Kane County Fairgrounds, St. Charles, (630) 584-6926, chicagohomeshow.net.

Long Grove Ice Meltin’ Blues
March 24-25, Two days of soul-warming music with talented musicians in venues all over town. Historic Long Grove, (847) 634-0888, longgroveonline.com.

Mrs. Illinois America Pageant
March 25, 6 p.m. This is the only nationally televised pageant for married women, focusing on the versatility of the contemporary American married woman. Tickets/info: (630) 325-4305, [email protected]. Hemmens Cultural Center, 45 Symphony Way, Elgin.

Chicagoland Antique Advertising, Slot Machine & Juke Box Show
March 30-April 1, 9:30 a.m. Over 300 booths with jukeboxes, pinball & arcade games, slot machines, neon signs, Coke machines and signs, circus and carnival items, more. Pheasant Run Resort, 4051 E. Main St., St. Charles,. Info: (815) 353-1593, chicagolandshow.com.

Bison Feeding in Lords Park
March 31, April 28, 7-8:30 a.m. Meet at the museum for a short introduction, then head to Lords Park Zoo to assist in feeding the bison, deer and elk. Limit 12; register early. Elgin Public Museum, 225 Grand Blvd., Elgin, (847) 741-6655, elginpublicmuseum.org.

Annual Egg Hunt/Geneva
March 31, 10 a.m.-noon. Over 5,000 eggs dispersed in the soccer fields with designated hunt area for ages 4 and under and one ages 5 and up. Begins promptly. Free. Stephen D. Persinger Recreation Center, 3507 Kaneville Road, Geneva, (630) 232-4542, genevaparks.org

Easter Egg Hunt
March 31, 10-10:30 a.m. The annual event at Pottawatomie Park, 8 North Ave., St. Charles, (630) 513-6200, stcparks.org.

Blackberry Farm 5K Spring Gallop
March 31, 8:30-10 a.m. CARA-certified run/walk along the paved Virgil Gilman Trail and around picturesque Lake Gregory. Blackberry Farm, 100 S. Barnes Road, Aurora, (630) 966-4527, foxvalleyparkdistrict.org.

Kane County Flea Market
March 31-April 1, Sat. noon-5 p.m., Sun. 7 a.m.-4 p.m. Up to 1,000 dealers display and sell antiques, collectibles and more. $5. Kane County Fairgrounds, St. Charles, (630) 377-2252, kanecountyfleamarket.com

Morton Arboretum 2012 Spring Garden Party
March 31-April 1, 8:30 a.m.-4:15 p.m. Lunch with keynote speaker; workshops from garden and design experts. Morton Arboretum, 4100 Ill. Rte. 53, Lisle, (630) 968-0074, mortonarb.org.


Veteran Acres Fishing Derby
April 14, 9-11:30 a.m. For beginners of all ages; must touch worms or be with someone who will. Poles, tackle, bait, prizes provided. Over age 16 need valid fishing license. Rain or shine. Free; advance registration req. Veterans Acres Pond, 431 N. Walkup Road, Crystal Lake, (815) 455-1763, crystallakeparks.org.

Watch Out for Waterfowl
April 14, 8-10:30 a.m. Search for migrating waterfowl and other birds at Lost Valley Marsh, then share notes and refreshments at the Powers-Walker house. All levels of experience welcome. Glacial Park Conservation Area, 6316 Harts Road, Ringwood, (815)479-5779, mccdistrict.org.

Bubble Wonders
April 14, 2-3 p.m. Bubbleologist Geoffrey Akins creates bubble caterpillars, ice cream cones, snowmen, a volcano, dancing bubbles, a bubble merry-go-round, even puts an entire kid in a bubble. Morton Grove Public Library, 6140 Lincoln Ave., Morton Grove, (847) 929-5102, webrary.org.

Living History Open House
April 15, May 20, noon-4 p.m. Visit the restored 1854 Powers-Walker Greek Revival house and learn about the Powers’ sons and their contributions to the Civil War from volunteers in historical attire. Glacial Park, Ringwood, mccdistrict.org.

Spring Canoe Trip on the Fox
April 21, 8-10:30 a.m. Learn about this riparian habitat and visit a heron rookery. Canoe equipment provided; BYO binoculars, drinking water. Not suitable for beginners. Hickory Grove Riverfront, 500 Hickory Nut Grove Lane, Cary. Registration: (815) 479-5779, mccdistrict.org.

Earth Day at Peck Farm
April 21, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Rain barrels for sale, bicycle tune-ups, Geneva Green Market, a Bicycle Rodeo, free paper shredding, green education, electronic recycling, local merchants, more. Free admission. Peck Farm Park, 4038 Kaneville Road, Geneva, genevaparks.org.

Arbor Day 10K Run
April 22, 8 a.m. Challenging USATF-certified course follows the east side main route through rolling terrain of Morton Arboretum. $33/$28 member; $38 on race day. Register online. Morton Arboretum, Lisle, mortonarb.org.

Antique & Collectible Toy & Doll Show
April 22, 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Antique/collectible toys, dolls, memorabilia, holiday items from 600 exhibitors. Kane County Fairgrounds, St. Charles, (847) 800-3009, chicagotoyshow.com.

Earth Day at the Nature Center
April 22, 1-5:30 p.m. Fun activities; 4 p.m. guided hikes with planned trailside activities. Free. Tekakwitha Woods Nature Center, 35W076 Villa Marie Road, St. Charles, (630) 232-5980, kaneforest.com.

Midwest Bird Expo
April 28, 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Vendors, demos, seminars by avian experts like vet Karen Shaw Becker; trainer Barbara Heidenreich; Brookfield Zoo curriculum designer and educator Jason Crean; parrot behaviorist Robin Shewokis. Presented by The Avicultural Society of Chicagoland. Kane County Fairgrounds, 525 S. Randall Road, St. Charles. Info: (630) 985-8146, tasc-chicago.org.

A Celebration of Wildflowers & Art
April 29, noon-4 p.m. Hike the woodlands to see the spring wild flowers and witness local plein air artists painting “in the open air” along the trails. Finished works for sale 3-4 p.m. Children’s activities, guided wildflower hikes at 12:30 & 2 p.m., info on native plants; storytelling, food, music, more. Free. Coral Woods Conservation Area, 7400 Somerset, Marengo, (815) 479-5779, mccdistrict.org.


Long Grove Chocolate Fest
May 4-6, events daily. Chocolate treats, live music, great food, distinctive shopping, chocolate demonstrations, workshops, wine pairings, children’s activities. Historic Long Grove, (847) 634-0888, longgroveonline.com.

14th Annual Bob Blazier Run For The Arts
May 3, 7 a.m. This CARA-registered 5K run, one-mile walk/run & kids 50-yard dash in downtown Crystal Lake benefits the Raue Center for the Arts. Race: Raue Center, 26 N. Williams St., Crystal Lake, (815) 356-9212, rauecenter.org.

Spring Bird Migration Walk
May 6, 13, 8-10 a.m. Group hike with acclaimed bird artist Peter Olsen to learn about birds. Prairie Oaks Forest Preserve, 7535 Cherry Valley Road, Kingston, (815) 895-7191, dekalbcounty.org.

Birding Blitz
May 12, 7-9:30 a.m. A steady hike through wood- and grasslands to spot species and share notes. BYO binoculars. Lost Valley Visitor Center inside Glacial Park, Ringwood, mccdistrict.org.

Civil War Days
May 19-20, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. More than 300 Civil War reenactors, 2:30 p.m. battle each day, 19th century medical demonstrations, historical figures, food, Sutler’s Row. Naper Settlement, 523 S. Webster St., Naperville, (630) 420-6010 napersettlement.org.

WWII Reenactment Days
May 19-20, 10 a.m. Ride The Anzio Express and a troop train to the North Platte Canteen. See realistic camps, skirmishes and battles created by WWII reenactment groups. Illinois Railway Museum, 7000 Olson Road, Union (815) 244-7245, irm.org.

Chicago Drum Show
May 19-20, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Largest/longest running vintage & custom show; exhibits, clinics, demos, entertainment. Kane County Fairgrounds, St. Charles, (989) 463-4757, chicagodrumshow.com.

Spring Hike on Marengo Ridge
May 20, 1-3 p.m. A 3-mile hike through the woodlands to observe spring birds and blossoming wildflowers. Uneven terrain. BYO binoculars. Marengo Ridge Conservation Area, 2411 S. Rte. 23, Marengo, (847) 479-5779, mccdistrict.org.

Butterfly Release Party
May 25, 3-4:30 p.m. Registration req: (630) 232-4542. Peck Farm Park Interpretive Center, Geneva, genevaparks.org.

Bystricky Prairie Wild Orchid Walk
May 25, 5:30-7 p.m. Once-a-year public tour of this private nature preserve, with the largest concentration of white lady’s slipper orchids in McHenry County. Registration: (815) 479-5779, mccdistrict.org. Directions mailed to confirmed registrants. Date may change depending on bloomings.

36th Elgin Valley Fox Trot
May 26, 8 a.m.-noon. CARA-endorsed, 10-mile/5K run/2-mile fun walk with cash prizes. Proceeds benefit Elgin Recreation Youth Scholarship Fund. Registration: cityofelgin.org/foxtrot, (847) 531-7005. Civic Centre Plaza, 150 Dexter Ct., Elgin.

Fair Diddley Craft Show
May 20, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. This popular annual event features more than 300 artists and crafters. All proceeds benefit county agencies concerned with mental health services. Historic Woodstock Square, Woodstock, (815) 385-5745. ❚