Fun Things to Do in Illinois

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Illinois is packed with fun things to do for families  in almost any direction you look. Whether your spending a day in Chicago or exploring the suburbs, Illinois is ready for you!

Free Fun

The Lincoln Park Zoo (http://www.lpzoo.org/) in downtown Chicago is open free to the public all year long. Chicago parking comes at a premium price, so consider using public transportation options if you wish to use this free entertainment option. Illinois is packed with rural free fun, including apple orchards and pumpkin patches. Most of these are free to enter, but you will need to pay for some of the activities. Playgrounds and petting zoos, however, a staple on these farms, are usually free.

Educational Fun

For educational fun outside of the Windy City, consider a trip to Rockford and the Discovery Center Children’s Museum (www.discoverycentermuseum.org), rated as one of the top 10 museums in the country by the National Geographic Society. Next to it is the Burpee Museum of Natural History (http://www.burpee.org/) which houses dioramas and dinosaur fossils, including Jane, a juvenile t-rex. The Chicago Children’s Museum (http://www.chicagochildrensmuseum.org/) and the DuPage Children’s Museum (http://www.dupagechildrensmuseum.org/) are two other options. Of course, if your travels bring you to Chicago, you will want to spend some time at the world famous Museum of Science and Industry (http://www.msichicago.org/) and the Field Museum of Natural History (http://www.fieldmuseum.org/).

Environmental Fun

While a city may not seem like the place for environmental fun, Chicago has two museums dedicated to environmentalism. The Shedd Aquarium (http://www.sheddaquarium.org/) lets kids get up close and personal with underwater creatures, while the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum (http://www.fieldmuseum.org/) houses all types of nature exhibits, including an enclosed butterfly habitat you can walk through. For outdoor nature fun, head to Starved Rock State Park, which is famous as a habitat for a flock of bald eagles (http://www.starvedrockstatepark.org/).

Seasonal Fun

The Macy’s store in Chicago has one of the best Santa’s in the region. Your kids can get some one on one time with the big red guy, and then you can stroll down Michigan Avenue to look at the lights and window displays. Rural Illinois is packed with pumpkin patches and haunted houses for fall fun. In the summer, head to Rockford to play at Magic Waters, an outdoor water park, or visit Six Flags Great America (http://www.sixflags.com) for amusement park thrills and an included water park.

Just for Mom Fun

When you need to rejuvenate, head to Galena and the Wild Clover Day Spa (www.wildcloverdayspa.com) for a full line of spa services and a quiet atmosphere. For shopping, the Woodfield Mall (http://www.shopwoodfield.com/) is known for its excellent collection of shopping options.

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