No trip is complete without having stopped at the visitor center and Starved Rock visitor center is no exception.
At the entrance of the center there is a slice of the trunk of one of the largest American Elm trees in the U.S. that grew at Starved Rock . There is also 400-gallon aquarium that holds fish that are found in the Illinois River which runs along the visitor center grounds. Other displays within this building are Indian wigwam with lifelike figures, display of stone tools used by Native Americans, timeline outlining the development and growth of the park, some native mounted birds and mammals as well as a theater and a gift/souvenir /sandwich/ice cream shop.
Outside the visitor center one can find an area with birdhouses and feeders as well as the Starved Rock Lock & Dam. This particular lock and dam was built in 1933. It is one of five original navigation lock and dam structures that are part of the Illinois Waterway, and one of three that are on the Illinois River. Many people use this area, as well, to fish for Channel Catfish, Large mouth Bass, Walleye, and White Bass.
While drones are currently illegal to use in the state parks, according to the IDNR (Illinois Department of Natural Resources) due to the fragile ecosystems in the state parks and nature preserves as well as wildlife disturbance, I did find a video showing what Starved Rock looks like when everything has turned green.