Pop quiz, hotshot. Our state of Illinois, while nowhere near the tourism capital of the United States, still managed to draw how many visitors in 2016? If you just shouted "110 million!" at your monitor--congrats. You nailed it.
Thanks to a pretty lame movie of the same name, the "Bucket List" is something we often hear about, and maybe even have one of our own. For those who've been too busy living their lives to pay attention to trendy phrases, a bucket list is simply a number of things that one wishes to do or experience before they die--or, "kick the bucket."
That might not be a bad slogan to use to draw fishermen (and women) to the waterways here in the Land of Lincoln to do some fishing, and spending of their tourism dollars. It doesn't hurt to have a guy in Carbondale with video proof that it happens, either.
In spite of it's global reputation as a violent city, Chicago ended up setting a new record for tourist visits last year with 31 major conventions, the NFL Draft, and of course, the World Champion Chicago Cubs drawing folks from all over. And, although they came for the Windy City, many tourists are opting to take a ride out to Rockford, too.
Maybe you read the name Amsterdam in the headline, along with the words swing it, and thought that this has got to be a piece on legalized marijuana. Nope. It's about a swing. A really, really high-up-in-the-air swing. A swing that I think might be pretty cool in downtown Rockford.
As a kid, I saw a lot of museums. I've said before that I've seen most of this country from the back seat of my parents car, but we did stop the car occasionally, and when we did it was often in front of a museum of some sort. If you want museums, Illinois is your spot.
This Thursday morning at 9:00, I'm heading over to Anderson Japanese Gardens to read to a group of kids attending Anderson's "Garden Explorers" program. Like many of you, I look forward to visiting the beautiful grounds of AJG whenever I can.