The quality of life in Danville is enhanced by the beauty of nature and the unlimited indoor and outdoor activities available year around for all ages. Danville's parks and indoor recreation facilities offer the opportunity to participate in many activities, including basketball, tennis, horseshoes, baseball, soccer, picnic areas and shelters, camping, canoeing, hiking, swimming, boating, and fishing. Many craft shows, carnivals and festivals are held throughout the year at various parks in Danville and the surrounding areas.
More than 500 acres comprise Danville's 18 city parks that provide a peaceful environment for fun and recreation amid the bustle of a busy city. Several of the parks have refreshment stands open during league sporting competitions.
Lincoln Park's 21 wooded acres feature playground equipment and picnic areas, as well as a softball diamond and lighted basketball and tennis courts. An outdoor basketball league plays at Lincoln Park in the summer. In addition to the four lighted public tennis courts, Lincoln Park also has four indoor and six outdoor courts for the Danville Tennis Club. The southeast corner of Lincoln Park also houses Friendly Town, which educates children on the rules of the road for pedestrians and bicyclists. Lovers of the arts can visit the park for the annual Arts In The Park exhibit, or listen to the toe-tapping Municipal Band as it plays weekly outdoor concerts in Lincoln Park's permanent bandshell during the summer.
Eight soccer fields comprise the Danville Area Soccer Complex at Carmack Park, in addition to sand volleyball courts, tennis courts, little league and softball diamonds. The 26 acres of Winter Park have several lighted softball diamonds, a playground, and is one of the home fields for the city softball league sponsored by the Danville Recreation Department. It also features the AMBUCS Playground for Everyone, a 30,000 square-foot handicap-accessible play area. It is the only one of its kind in the region. The annual Little Vermilion Fall Festival and Septemberfest with flea market tables, craft booths and a food court are held on Ellsworth Park's 50 acres. Ellsworth Park also features a lighted softball diamond, playground and picnic areas. The city parks also include: Douglas, Garfield, and Meade.
The Danville Stadium is the home baseball field for Danville High School, Schlarman High School, Danville Area Community College and Danville Post 210 teams. The Danville Dans, sanctioned by the NCAA and sponsored by the Major League, plays at Danville Stadium during the summer.
Kickapoo State Park's 2,842 acres offer plenty of outdoor fun for young and old alike. For fitness or communing with nature, walking trails, running and mountain bicycle trails of varying difficulties wind through the park. Several competitive running and mountain biking events are held throughout the year.
Kickapoo's 22 deep water ponds ranging in size from less than an acre up to 57 acres are accessible for boating, fishing, and canoeing. For the fishing enthusiast, the lakes and river contain large and small-mouth bass, channel catfish, bluegill, crappie, and rainbow trout to name a few. Facilities are available for picnicking and camping in tents or trailers. Electrical hookups, showers, and a sanitary dump station are available amenities for campers.
The Harry "Babe" Woodyard State Natural Area provides a home to more than 12 types of threatened or endangered plants and animals. The 1,043-acre area is located three miles east of Georgetown, but limits public access to ensure protection of the plants and animals.
Designated as the only National Scenic River in Illinois, the sparkling clear Middle Fork River winds through rocky bluffs and steep banks, providing canoeists and hikers with a spectacular view of nature all year around. This 3,015-acre area is an excellent wildlife habitat. Fishing and game hunting is permitted in accordance with the Federal and State of Illinois Game Regulations. Thirty-five miles of trails for horseback riding wind through this scenic area.
Beautiful in any season, the 2,500-acre Kennekuk County Park contains three nature preserves and access to the Middle Fork National Scenic River. It is the headquarters for the Vermilion County Conservation District. The park's 160-acre Lake Mingo is stocked regularly with a variety of fish, and is considered to be one of the best fishing lakes in the area. Paddle boats, canoes, johnboats and a pontoon boat are available for rental in season. Swimming is permitted at Stephen's Beach during the summer months. During the winter, many come to the park for cross-country skiing, sledding, ice skating, and fishing.
The park has several shelters that can be reserved for large parties and picnics. These areas have tables, grills, fire rings, horseshoe pits, and playground equipment.
Kennekuk's Visitor Center features a natural history museum, a 1,000-gallon aquarium and a Native American display. The park's Bunker Hill historical pioneer settlement area includes Vermilion Chapel (1868, original site), Red Oak School (circa 1920's, then rebuilt due to fire, relocated), Neff Store (1905, relocated), Atwood Home (circa 1890's, relocated), and Oakwood Barber Shop (relocated). Several other buildings are scheduled for relocation in this area.
Named to the Illinois Historic Register, Collins Archaeological Complex is the site of an old Native American village and burial mound. Collins Site is located on the flood plain of the Middle Fork River and includes the Woodland Indian ceremonial site, Windfall Prairie and Woods Trail Nature Preserve, and the Horseshoe Bottoms Nature Preserve. These areas are used by visitors and researchers interested in studying their attributes.
Lake Vermilion County Park's public boat ramp allows access to the 1,000-acre lake for a variety of water sports, such as jet skiing, water skiing, sailing, power boating and annual fishing tournaments. The park also has a picnic area, shelter, and concessions.
The Forest Glen County Preserve is a 1,800-acre park that ranks third botanically in the State of Illinois. The park includes a 40-acre restored tall-grass prairie, a 20-acre tree research area, a 72-foot observation tower, and a pioneer homestead that is a reproduction of a log home, barn, and kitchen herb garden. A 25-mile trail system includes a Beach Grove Handicapped Trail, paved for easy wheelchair access. Many schools visit the preserve to educate children on plant and animal habitats.
For golf enthusiasts, the Danville area includes several public and private courses. Harrison Park Golf Course & Pro Shop provides a 6,313-yard, 18-hole course open to the public year-round. Carts are available. The Back Nine, a 2,971-yard, 9-hole course is open to the public and available for walkers or cart users. Blue Needles Golf Course & Pro Shop is an 18-hole course featuring three lakes and watered fairways. Hubbard Trail is a 9-hole course north of Danville, open to the public. The Danville Country Club has a private 18-hole course, and offers many other activities for its members, including tennis and swimming. Turtle Run Golf Club has an 18-hole course open to the public in northeast Danville. Wolf Creek Golf Club is a 9-hole course open to the public in southeast Danville.
The local YMCA's 70,000 square-foot facility includes a pool, fitness center, two gyms, an indoor running track, racquetball courts, and outdoor tennis courts. Many activities and fitness classes are available, and new programs are continually being developed to encourage development of strong character and family values in the youth of the Danville community. The YWCA offers co-educational health club programs, swimming, fitness classes, volleyball leagues, basketball, and much more. In addition to the fitness facilities, the YWCA also provides educational seminars and workshops, support groups, counseling and crisis intervention programs. Several private fitness facilities also operate in the area.
The David S. Palmer Arena provides entertainment from concerts, ice shows, circuses, and even monster truck and tractor pull competitions. Many well-known entertainers and music groups perform to crowds up to 4,500 capacity. During the winter months, the Arena's hockey-regulation size ice skating rink is home to the Danville Wings hockey team. Public skating is permitted during designated hours in season. Skates can be rented for a nominal fee. A portable basketball floor can also be set up for special games and performances. Conventions, private parties and special annual events are held at the Arena, utilizing its meeting rooms and the 85' x 185' arena floor.
The excitement of Illinois thoroughbred and harness racing is captured at Off-Track Betting (O.T.B.), Danville's off-track wagering facility. Off I-74 at Lynch Road, O.T.B. has 100 television monitors to follow the races.
Illini Skateland is one of the area's roller skating rinks. In addition to regular skating sessions, Illini Skateland hosts all-night skates. Illini Skateland has arcade games and is also available for parties.
Danville is also home to bowling alleys with open bowling sessions, youth leagues, mixed leagues, and WIBC and ABC sanctioned bowling tournaments.
"Collections and connections" describes the services at the Danville Public Library, located at 319 North Vermilion Street in downtown Danville. The library offers books for children and adults; magazines; featured films and nonfiction videos; recordings and books on tape; local newspapers on microfilm dating from 1834; CD-ROM titles; and "eBooks." Books in large print as well as recorded books open the world for library users with vision or physical hindrances. The archives collection offers local history and genealogy information about Danville and Vermilion County. The children's department offers traditional story hours, craft programs, and summer activities to bring children and books together. Programs for adults include monthly book discussions, film programs, demonstrations, and special performances.
The computerized card catalog offers access to all the titles owned by the Danville Public Library as well as those in other libraries throughout Illinois with access to databases across the world. As a member of the Lincoln Trails Library System, the library receives daily deliveries of materials requested by its patrons. The library also provides a fax service to the public.
The library offers Internet stations for the public to explore additional informational resources. The Children's Department computer center offers CD-ROM programs, word processing, and basic desktop publishing. The Reference collection includes CD-ROM titles as well as traditional resource books. The library's website at www.danville.lib.il.us includes links to reliable sites on a variety of topics.
The library's Outreach Department connects the library with patrons who are unable to come to the library. The library is designed to be completely accessible by the handicapped and offers equipment that magnifies and that reads aloud the printed word.
Browsing areas, study rooms, and study tables in an attractive setting encourage quiet research and leisure reading. A large meeting room on the first floor seats 90, and a small conference room on the second floor seats 14. Both rooms are actively used by community groups and agencies to conduct business, explore hobbies, plan projects, and educate the public on issues of the day.
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