Stuck in Chicagoland in need of some inspiration for the upcoming holiday weekend? With so much to do in the city, it isn’t hard to find a way to entertain your family, but if you’d rather escape the traffic, heat and crowds, consider one of these five tips.
All locations are very kid friendly, and won’t break the bank. Got your own favorite you’d like to share? Leave it in the comments section!
Legoland Discovery Center
The Legoland Discovery center is located in Schaumburg – it is an all-indoor location, so you’ll want to pick this if you need a way to escape the heat or the rain. Despite the impressive name, the center isn’t really entertaining enough to occupy you all day, so be sure to plan some other activities in the area (Woodfield Mall, Gameworks, Pirates Cove theme park)
Attractions at the Discovery Center include the Dragon Quest ride, the Technicycle carousel and various model building stations. Tickets are $19 per person, but you’ll find a pack of discounted season passes at Chicagoland Costco stores – $25 for two “platinum” season passes.
Admission: $19 (adults) and $15 (kids)
Address: 601 N. Martingale Road, Schaumburg, IL 60173
Web site: legolanddiscoverycenter.com
Illinois Railway Museum
Located about an hour from Downtown Chicago is the Illinois Railway museum. This museum is home to the largest collection of rolling stock in the country, and operates its own five mile track offering rides on antique trains.
On the way to the Railway Museum, you’ll pass the outlet mall at Huntley, which is a great place for the grown ups to stock up on cheap apparel.
Addres: 7000 Olson Road, Union, Illinois, 60180.
Web site: irm.org
Jelly Belly factory tour
This is another trip that won’t take up all day, but can easily be combined with other local attractions. This facility does not actually make Jelly Belly products, but it does store the inventory for the entire Midwest and eastern side of the country.
The factory tour lasts about 20 minutes, and all riders get a free bag of assorted Jelly Belly’s. The factory store has a massive selection of Jelly Belly products, as well as large bins of “belly flops,” misformed Jelly Belly’s that are sold at a huge discount.
Address:10100 Jelly Belly Lane, Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin 53158
Web site: www.jellybelly.com
Donley’s Wild West Town
Donley’s is one of the few remaining wild west towns in the country. At the town, you’ll find everything you’d expect from a cowboy village – live shows, horse rides, a working jail, stores and more. The whole place is rather cheesy, but surprisingly entertaining, and all the staff are extremely dedicated at keeping things as realistic as possible.
Admission: $15 (kids under two are free)
Address: Route 20 & South Union Road, Union, Illinois 60180
Web site: www.wildwesttown.com
The Morton Arboretum is not where you take your kids when you want rollercoasters and fairground food, but their 1700 acre gardens are a fantastic place to unwind and take in nature. The complex is home to a large variety of gardens, garden mazes, water features and more. A discovery center and restaurant are available at the end (or beginning) of your long walk.
Admission: $11 Adults (18–64) / $10 Seniors (65+) / $8 Youth (2–17)
Address: 4100 Illinois Route 53, Lisle, IL 60532
Web site: mortonarb.org
[Image from Flickr user Willowbrookhotels]