Masks are required inside the Interpretive Center,
regardless of your vaccination status.

This is in accordance with guidelines set by the IDPH and the CDC.

open hours & special Events


                                                                        May to October                                               November to April

                                                        Wednesday through Sunday                                            Saturday

                                                                         9 am - 5 pm                                                              9 am - 4 pm

Admission is free, but donations are always appreciated.

2021 Events Calendar

April 4 - Easter Sunrise Service - 7 am

Celebrate Easter with a special service given during sunrise in the Apple River Fort! On the 1830's frontier, many settlers, regardless of denomination, relied on traveling circuit clergy for their religious and spiritual needs. The service at the Fort will be presented by the United Methodist Church in Elizabeth, IL, and will be followed by a breakfast in the church basement. All faiths are welcome and everyone is encouraged to dress warmly. In case of inclement weather, a change of venue or cancellation is possible. 

May 1 - Summer Hours Begin  

Beginning on Friday, May 1st, the site will begin its summer hours. The site will be open to the public from 9 am to 5 pm on Wednesday through Sunday. Summer hours will run through the end of October 2021.

July 4 - Fourth at the Fort - Noon to 2 pm

Looking for something to fill the day before the fireworks start? Then come celebrate the Fourth of July at the Apple River Fort! Play a game of town ball (the precursor to baseball), cool off with a water race, and listen to speeches, toasts, and petitions, and more! Bring a blanket and a picnic lunch, or take out from your favorite restaurant, and enjoy the fun.

October 23 - Guided Tour of the Elizabeth City Cemetery - 2 pm to 3 pm

Before evening falls and the Fright at the Fort begins, join Fort staff on a guided walking tour through the Elizabeth City Cemetery. You'll visit all the stones of those who helped to defend the Fort, as well as other notable figures including Civil War veterans, politicians, and more. Visitors will also learn how to "read" a headstone, decipher common iconography, how to safely "take a stone home," and basic techniques to headstone preservation.

Special note on parking—please park carefully along S. Apple River Road or on the paved roads in the cemetery! Avoid parking on the grass within the cemetery so you don't hit or drive on a grave!

October 23 - Fright at the Fort - 4 pm to 8 pm

Visit the Fort for an evening of spooky fun! How would you keep a witch out of your house? Cure a case of cholera? Learn about 1830s mourning and funeral customs and find out why it matters which way the deceased is carried out of the house. Meet the ghost of John Gray, and hear the story of his life—and death—on the Illinois frontier.  Kids can make the popular 19th century optical illusion toy—the Thaumatrope—and hear a selection of spooky stories around the fire.

November 1 - Winter Hours Begin

Beginning on Sunday, November 1st, the site will begin its winter hours. The site will be open to the public from 9 am to 4 pm on Fridays and Saturdays. Winter hours will run through the end of April 2022.

December 4 - Christmas at the Fort - 11 am to 3 pm

Celebrate Christmas—the 1830's way! Visit the Apple River Fort and take part in historical Christmas celebrations. Experience a typical frontier German Christmas, complete with a decorated fir tree. Meet Mrs. Juliette Kinzie, wife of Ho-Chunk Indian Agent John Kinzie of Portage, WI. Play with historical toys and hear how Christmas is the "Day the World Turned Upside-Down." Visit the trading post to barter for the best goods on this side of the Mississippi. Don't forget to check out the Fort's gift shop, where you'll find unique items for everyone on your shopping list.

Check back regularly for updates about current and upcoming events!