open hours & special Events


                                                                        May to October                                               November to April

                                                        Wednesday through Sunday                         Thursday through Saturday

                                                                         9 am - 5 pm                                                              9 am - 4 pm

Admission is free, but donations are always appreciated.

2022 Events Calendar

April 11th, 18th, 25th - Black Hawk War Class - 3 pm to 4:30 pm

Trace the history of the conflict between settlers and the Sauk and Fox tribes, led by Black Hawk over the Mississippi River town of Saukenuk near present day Rock Island, IL. This course also examines the tensions and events leading up to the Black Hawk War. This is a three-part course offered through the Highland Community College Lifelong Learning Program and taught by longtime Fort volunteer Allen Reed. Registration required, visit Fee is $37.

April 17 - 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. 

April 22nd, 23rd, 24th - US Grant Pilgrimage (Boy Scout Weekend)

The Fort will offer camping for Boy Scout troops attending the 2022 US Grant Pilgrimage in Galena, IL. Registration is required, click here for more information.

May 4 - Summer Hours Begin  

Beginning on Wednesday, May 4th, we will resume our full summer hours. The site will be open to the public from 9 am to 5 pm on Wednesday through Sunday. 

May 9 - Education Day - 9 am to 3 pm

In partnership with the Jo Daviess Conservation Foundation (JDCF), the Fort presents a day filled with programming designed for local fifth and sixth grade classes. In the morning, students will learn about local flora and fauna, as well about Native American culture courtesy of JDCF. In the afternoon, students descend upon the Fort to experience 1830's skills and pastimes. 

The site will still be open to the public, however special programming is only open to students of participating schools. The road to the Fort will also be closed to all vehicle traffic.

May 21 - Cast Iron Chef - 10 am to 3 pm

Build up the fire and get your cast iron skillet ready! Join us for a day full of historical recipes and cooking methods. Due to health codes, visitors will not be allowed to taste foods, but full recipes and a variety of wonderful aromas will be available to enjoy for free. Allez cuisine!

June 11 - To Have and To Hold - 10 am to 2 pm

You are cordially invited to attend a frontier wedding at the Apple River Fort. See a full wedding ceremony, ooh and ah at the wedding cake, join in on traditional dancing and games, and more. Also, learn about the real couple who fell in love and were married inside the Fort during the summer of 1832.

June 25 & 26 - 190th Anniversary of the Battle of the Apple River Fort - 10 am to 4 pm

Join us as we commemorate the 190th anniversary of the Battle of the Apple River Fort. There will be living history interpreters at the Fort all weekend. Activities include musket and other small arms firing demos, militia life and history, cooking over a fire, and more!

July 3 - 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. 

(Note: this is the Sunday before the holiday. The Fort will be closed on Monday, July 4th.)

October 22 - Guided Tour of the Elizabeth City Cemetery - Noon

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 22 - Fright at the Fort - 3 pm to 7 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 2 - Winter Hours Begin

Beginning on Wednesday, November 2nd, the site will begin its reduced winter hours. The site will be open to the public from 9 am to 4 pm on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays.

December 3 - 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!