Rockton Pelican Fest: free family fun


Photo: Andrea Van Briesen

The third annual Rockton Pelican Fest, sponsored by Audubon Council of Illinois, will be held May 20, 2023 from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. in downtown Rockton and at Nygren Wetland Preserve. Rockton Pelican Fest is presented by the Village of Rockton, JR Finally Art Studio & Gallery, Natural Land Institute, and Sinnissippi Audubon Society

The free family oriented event gives people of all ages the opportunity to learn about and celebrate the return of the American White Pelican to the Rock River and the nearby Nygren Wetland Preserve.

Families and individuals will be able to spend time together exploring historic downtown Rockton, local businesses, restaurants, and outdoor vendor booths, participating in activities, attending lectures about birds and other wildlife, and attending guided nature hikes at Nygren Wetland Preserve. Lectures will take place at Talcott Free Library and Rockton Village Hall, across the street from each other at Main Street and Blackhawk.

At Rockton Village Hall, an 11 a.m. presentation by Hoo Haven Wildlife Rehabilitation & Education Center will feature a live American white pelican. 

New this year: the Illinois Natural History Survey’s Traveling Science Center featuring informative and engaging exhibits on biodiversity and natural resources.

Throughout the festival, Stateline Mass Transit District (SMTD) will be providing free shuttle bus service from downtown Rockton to the Nygren Wetland Wildlife Overlook, at 3714 W. Rockton Rd.  Visitors will be met by a knowledgeable volunteer to talk about birds and other wildlife. Free guided walking tours of Nygren Wetland will start at the overlook at 11 a.m., 12:30 p.m., and 2 p.m.

Especially for birders: don't miss the Early Bird Walk at 7:30 a.m., meeting at the Nygren Wetland Wildlife Overlook, presented by Sinnissippi Audubon Society.

For more information visit

Natural Land InstituteSinnissippi Audubon Society, and the Rockton Pelican Fest Facebook page.

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