Olney, IL
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Relax & Enjoy
Olney's recreational facilities offer fun for the whole family.

When it comes to offering a variety of recreational choices to residents and visitors alike, Olney is second to none. With three lakes surrounding the city, the area is a prime location for fishing, swimming, boating and camping, and there are many parks and recreational areas both inside and outside city limits.

The Olney City Park
The Olney City Park is located on Route 130 and offers a wide variety of recreational activities and facilities for residents and visitors alike.

For sports enthusiasts, the park contains five baseball fields, two softball fields, six lighted tennis courts, a sand volleyball court and four horseshoe courts. There are also two playgrounds at the park: one for older children and Kiddie Land for younger children.

For barbeques, reunions and family outings, the park features open picnic spots and six covered picnic shelters, as well as an air-conditioned community building that can accommodate 120 people and contains kitchen and restroom facilities. The Olney City Park is also the location for several special events during the year.

Bower Park
Located on Whittle Avenue, Bower Park was originally named Tower Park for the 125-foot brick water tower that was built on the site in 1880. When the water tower was demolished in 1941, the park was renamed, and a fountain was placed in its center.

Senior Citizen Park
Located in the heart of downtown in the 300 block of East Main, the Senior Citizen Park is a great place to relax and enjoy a break from shopping and viewing the sites of the community.

Kiwanis Park
Kiwanis Park is situated in close proximity to the boat docks on East Fork Lake, providing the perfect spot for boaters to enjoy a casual picnic or barbeque before heading out onto the lake or upon their return from a fishing or leisure boating experience. Along with boat slips for parking, Kiwanis Park contains two covered picnic shelters, the larger of which is wired for electricity. The park also offers a playground, ball diamond and restroom facilities.

Miller's Grove
Located on the south side of East Fork Lake, Miller's Grove offers area residents three covered shelters, electricity and restroom facilities, as well as several choice fishing spots.

Bird Haven and the Robert Ridgway Memorial Arboretum and Bird Sanctuary
Robert Ridgway naturalist, scientist, artist and author of Birds of Middle and North America and Color Standards and Color Nomenclature was a Smithsonian contributor and renowned ornithology authority. Ridgway bought 18 acres near Olney in 1906 as a site for his family's summer cottage. This tract of land, located near Miller's Grove, now bears his name and is a favored spot in the area for bird watchers and nature lovers of all ages.

Alvin Musgrove Park
One of the newest and most popular additions to the Olney landscape, Alvin Musgrove Park was created when Alvin and Wenonah Musgrove, both long-time Olneans, donated 20 acres of land on Silver Street to the city of Olney to be used as a park in the mid 1990s. The park has expanded rapidly since then with the opening of the Musgrove Aquatic Center in 1997 and the recent creation of the Wenonah Musgrove Recreation Area, featuring a soccer field, a playground area, a shelter and lighted basketball courts.

Musgrove Aquatic Center
Musgrove Aquatic Center, which replaced the older community pool at the City Park, is located at Alvin Musgrove Park and is a popular gathering place for summer fun as well as a state-of-the-art swimming area for the entire community to enjoy from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend.

The Aquatic Center is complete with a 190-foot water slide; a water umbrella; a diving well area with two 1-meter diving boards; a bathhouse with lockers and showers; an eight-lane, 25-meter competition area; a concession stand; picnic tables and umbrellas; and a professional, certified staff.

Special events and programs at the Aquatic Center include lap swim times and family night; swimming lessons are available through the City of Olney Summer Recreation Program. The Aquatic Center is also available for private parties and is home of the Olney Tiger Sharks swim team.

Vernor Lake
Located just over a mile north of Olney, Vernor Lake was built in the early 1900s as Olney's original water source, but it is now used only for recreational purposes. It is surrounded by privately owned homes and also has a small wooded area for picnicking and fishing. The Richland County Country Club is located on the north side of the lake.

Borah Lake
In 1955, the City of Olney built Borah Lake to replace Vernor Lake as a water source. Since the building of East Fork Lake, Borah Lake has become a popular recreational spot and is the only city-owned lake used for swimming as well as for fishing and boating. The swimming area is roped off from the boating areas and is open to the general public free of charge.

East Fork Lake
Constructed in 1970, East Fork Lake is used both as a recreational spot and as a primary water source for Olney. Boating and fishing are prime here. East Fork Lake covers 934 acres and is designated as Olney's largest, as well as newest, lake.

Golf Courses
Ideal for the golf-enthusiast, the Richland Country Club is a semiprivate club adjoining Vernor Lake that offers a swimming pool, clubhouse, tennis courts and an 18-hole golf course that ranks among the finest in southeastern Illinois. A par-three golf course is also located near East Fork Lake for public use.

Edwin Webber Memorial Soccer Fields
Olney is home to one of the premier youth soccer programs in southeastern Illinois. The Ed Webber Memorial Soccer Fields are located at the Olney Central College Soccer Complex and feature three full-size fields (one lighted) and three youth fields. The Richland County Soccer Program celebrates 20 years of serving county youth.

Other Area Attractions
Residents can get fit at the local exercise facility and have fun at the same time. It offers 24-hour key card access, tanning, yoga, fit ball, step aerobics, free weights, cardio and exercise machines along with certified personal trainers. Olney also features an exercise and weight-loss facility exclusively for women.

Red Hills State Park, situated 12 miles east of Olney, is a beautiful stop for anyone who loves the outdoors. Hiking and horseback riding trails wind through 947 acres of wooded land, and sportsmen will find that Red Hills offers some of the best hunting and fishing in the region.