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Category - Great Outdoors

Photo copyright Christopher Jordan

While visiting the east coast this past December, my family took an evening drive to a “Winter Wonderland.” For $18, we were able to drive through three miles of outdoor light displays. Holiday tunes played in time to the light display. The displays were made of silver, blue, red, green and gold lights welded to metal frames in the shapes of larger-than-life castles, horse drawn carriages, poinsettias, wreaths, snowmen, St. Nick, the Grinch, pine trees, leaping deer, dinosaurs and exploding volcanoes! 


Ice skating is the one outdoor activity that always reminds me of Christmas. This may be because one of my all-time favorite Christmas movies is The Bishop’s Wife. There is a wonderful part in that film where Cary Grant and Loretta Young’s characters go ice skating. It was with that scene in mind that I decided to check out the Ice Skating Plaza at Deep River Waterpark, imagining that I would be as graceful as Cary Grant and Loretta Young were.


We’ve had our first snow and expected to get more this weekend! Will you be building a snowman, Christmas shopping, or curling up on the couch to binge-watch Netflix? If you’re feeling adventurous take a look at these ten, great spots to enjoy sledding, cross-country skiing and ice skating this season.


Thanksgiving week is full of activities between cooking, eating and starting your holiday shopping. But if you’re looking for more to do this week – either for grown up fun or just something to keep the kids busy during the long weekend – we got you covered!


It’s iffy whether or not you’ll see a wild turkey during a walk in the woods at this time of year. But it’s a surefire bet that you will see the striking, turkey tail fungus. For that, I’m always grateful. 

Turkey tail, Trametes versicolor, is one of the most common fungi growing on the sides of logs or trees.  It is a stalkless mushroom, called a shelf fungus, which looks much like a fan with scalloped edges.


Halloween decoration is in full swing. Ghosts, witches, and spiders are popping up everywhere. The prairies of Kankakee Sands seem decorated for the upcoming holiday too. All around are spider webs that glitter with the dew on these chilly fall mornings.

The most common spider that I see at Kankakee Sands during the months of September and October is Argiope aurantia, otherwise known as yellow and black garden spider, corn spider, zipper spider, writing spider, or black and yellow argiope.


On a lazy afternoon, I wandered down to Jeorse Park and Beach located on the shores of Lake Michigan in East Chicago. The City has been working diligently on a $15.5 million makeover to the Park and Marina and it’s absolutely amazing! I was greeted by colorful, painted murals lining the entrance to the Park, which sits next to Ameristar Casino


Photo credit: Tall coreopsis with an orange sulfur butterfly, taken by Jeanette Jaskula.

Yellow does for September what orange does for October. It makes you feel that all is well and right, and that summer is coming to a close. The end-of-summer prairie is filled with many different hues of yellow. My favorite yellow is that of tall coreopsis (Coreopsis tripteris), now in bloom at Kankakee Sands.



Plan your visit along the South Shore with these tour itineraries. Choose one or all of the activities to make the most of your fall in Northwest Indiana!



When you have a four-legged companion during your stay in Northwest Indiana, you'll want to make sure he has enough exercise. Gabis Arboretum is the perfect place to let your dog stretch his legs. Hike through four miles of trails or enjoy the quiet gardens, woodlands, prairies and wetlands. Look for native and hybrid plants, flowers and trees during your visit and view Gabis's variety of formal gardens.