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seven wonders of illinois
Nominate 'em: The 7 Wonders of Illinois

By Tara Burghart
Thursday, Feb. 08 2007

CHICAGO (AP) -- Sure, Illinois lacks the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, the  Pyramids of Giza, or the Colossus of Rhodes.

But it does offer visitors the Garden of the Gods in southern Illinois, the
prehistoric archaeological remains of Cahokia Mounds, and a 170-foot-tall water
tower shaped like a giant catsup bottle in Collinsville.

Echoing the ancient seven wonders of the world, the Illinois Bureau of
Tourism plans today [02-08-2007] to launch a "Seven Wonders of Illinois" promotion. It will be announced officially at the Illinois Governor's Conference on Tourism in Chicago.

Visitors to the Web site will be able to make
nominations through this month, said Jan Kostner, the bureau's deputy director.

Those nominations can be for anything residents and visitors consider
wonderful about Illinois -- parks and historic sites, statues and museums,
cheesy roadside attractions and naturally beautiful scenic spots.

The nominees will be placed in "March Madness"-style brackets for each of
seven regions: Chicago, Chicagoland, northern, central, western, southwest and

The public then will be able to participate in online voting for their
favorites starting March 5, with the field being narrowed through the rest of
the month. The tourism bureau will announce one winner for each region on April
30, along with themed travel packages and downloadable videos, Kostner said.

Kostner said the seven wonders idea stemmed from a tourism conference that
emphasized using the Internet for more than just traditional advertising or
booking of trips.

With the popularity of blogs and sites like -- in which
real travelers provide reviews and opinions for others to read -- state and
local tourism officials are realizing they must make their Internet efforts
more interactive, she said.

"We need to be asking people for their input as opposed to us telling people
what they might like," she said.

Kostner said she also hopes the promotion helps with a challenge Illinois
tourism officials continually face: Convincing Chicago-area residents to
consider getaways in other parts of the state as opposed places like Michigan
and Wisconsin.

"We have history other states don't have with (former presidents) Lincoln,
Reagan and Grant. We have wonderful and beautiful rivers for canoeing. We have
wonderful state park lodges," she said. "We have an array of unusual and
interesting and easy trips you can plan."

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The following are some of the sites and attractions Illinois tourism officials
believe might be nominated for the "Seven Wonders of Illinois" contest:

-- The Old State Capitol in Springfield

-- The lodge at Starved Rock State Park

-- The Mississippi River

-- The Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Dana Thomas House in Springfield

-- The Superman statue in Metropolis

-- The giant catsup bottle in Collinsville

-- Bishop Hill

-- The John Deere Pavilion in the Quad Cities

-- Millennium Park in Chicago

-- Jane, the dinosaur fossil at Rockford's Burpee Museum of Natural History

-- The Garden of the Gods in Shawnee National Forest

-- Cahokia Mounds

-- The statue of Robert Wadlow, the world's tallest man, in Alton

On the Net:

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