National Parks / Natural World in CHICAGO with kids

Did you know that there are 570 parks in the city of Chicago? So if you want that nature filled day out, you don’t even have to leave the city!

A park is a fun, classic way to spend the day with the family. Kids can run around, the family can enjoy a picnic, yet they are so much more than just a park!

The largest park in the Windy City is Lincoln Park, at around 1,200 acres, so there is PLENTY of room for the family to spend time enjoying nature.

Parks like Marquette Park not only have great attractions such as basketball and golf courses, but a fascinating history that kids can explore during your time there.

Head to Garfield Park and you can explore a grand conservatory and lagoon, and come summer Grant Park is buzzing with food festivals and musical performances including the famous Chicago Jazz Festival!

The great outdoors of Chicago doesn’t just stop at the incredible parks within the city. Nope! Head to Morton Arboretum and you can enjoy an enormous open air facility that offers children’s gardens, interactive play zones, tram rides, nature trails, and even storytelling tree houses!

When you start to explore the great outdoors of Chicago, you will never look at the city again!

Grab those hats, and walking shoes, and let’s get exploring. Mother Nature is calling!

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  • Grant Park

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    (1 miles) Chicago

    Visit one of the first parks in Chicago with Grant Park, filled with museums, planetariums, festivals, events and park fun!

  • Lincoln Park

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    (3 miles) Chicago

    A huge park in Chicago filled playgrounds, sports, nature, wildlife, and even a zoo!

  • Garfield Park

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    (4 miles) Chicago

    Nearly 200 acres of park space in Chicago with tennis courts, playgrounds, a fishing lagoon and even baseball fields...just to name a few!

  • Burnham Park

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    (6 miles) Chicago

    600 acres of park fun on Chicago's lakefront with playgrounds, a bird sanctuary, and prairies!

  • Marquette Park

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    (8 miles) Chicago

    Over 300 acres of Chicago park fun with gardens, sports activities, playgrounds and programs for kids!

  • Morton Arboretum

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    (23 miles) Lisle

    Enormous open air facility offering global plant life, storytelling tree-houses, children's garden interactive play zone, open air tram ride and miles of nature trails.

  • Douglas Center for Environmental Education

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    (27 miles) Gary

    Hike the Miller Woods Trail and through the unique ecosystems of the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore in the summer; attend award-winning environmental education programs year round; and when you get ...

  • Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore

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    (33 miles) Porter

    15 miles of Lake Michigan shore line as well as wildlife, sandy beaches, hiking trails, wetlands, and prairies - and an amazing outdoor adventure for the whole family in Indiana!

  • Silver Beach County Park

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    (61 miles) St. Joseph

    Beach fun in Michigan perfect for kids, with playgrounds, sports, fishing, and special events!

  • Potato Creek State Park

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    (70 miles) North Liberty

    A beautiful state park in Indiana, with outdoor activities, year round fun, a 327 acre lake, diverse landscapes and fascinating history!

  • Potawatomi Wildlife Park

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    (91 miles) Tippecanoe

    The Park preserves both prehistorical and historical indian encampments, the Steven Ben-nack Potawatomi village, a portion of the Goshen-Logansport trail, and the Tippecanoe River ford where several ...

  • Outdoor Discovery Center - Macatawa Greenway

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    (98 miles) Holland

    Michigan's Outdoor Discovery Center is a beautiful place for the whole family to get lost into nature, with over 4miles of beautiful trails winding through a variety of landscapes.

  • Check out other fun things to do below...

  • The Field Museum

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    (1 miles) Chicago

    Travel back in time across 4.6 billion years, where kids can come face to face with a T-Rex, explore an Egyptian Tomb and shrink down to the size of a bug! Great Chicago fun!

  • Museum of Contemporary Art

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    (1 miles) Chicago

    Explore the world of art as it has been since 1945, with paintings, sculptures and even performance! A very cultural day out for kids in Chicago!

  • Adler Planeterium

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    (1 miles) Chicago

    Great fun in Chicago - and space! - at the Adler Planetarium, with three theatres and a number of fascinating exhibits.

  • Chicago Childrens Museum

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    (1 miles) Chicago

    Chicago Children's Museum's mission is to create a community where play and learning connect. One of the family places to visit if you're looking for fun things to do in Chicago with kids.

  • Mexican Fine Arts Center Museum

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    (3 miles) Chicago

    offers children (ages 4-12) and families the opportunity to learn about art and culture through our weekend, after-school and summer classes.

  • The Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum

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    (3 miles) Chicago

    An amazing experience in the heart of Chicago, where the family can have a nature and science filled family day out at this Nature Museum.

  • DuSable Museum of African American History

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    (6 miles) Chicago

    The DuSable Museum of African American History is the first museum of its type in the country and is the only major independent institution in Chicago established to preserve and interpret the ...

  • Museum of Science and Industry

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    (6 miles) Chicago

    One of the worlds largest science museums, home to more than 35,000 artifacts - nearly 14 acres of hands-on exhibits designed to spark scientific inquiry and creativity. Great family place to visit ...

  • Kohl Childrens Museum of Greater Chicago

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    (18 miles) Glenview

    - of Greater Chicago is a hands-on learning laboratory for children ages birth to 8. Our 17 hands-on, interactive exhibits are designed to make learning fun for young children. One of the many fun ...

  • DuPage Childrens Museum

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    (28 miles) Naperville

    DuPage Children’s Museum is more than a Museum…we’re a force for early learning! Via interactive exhibits and programs that make learning fun for children and adults playing together, DuPage ...

  • Lake County Discovery Museum

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    (36 miles) Wauconda

    Showcases aspects of local history using intriguing exhibits and hands on features to keep learning fun. Permanent and travelling exhibitions.

  • SciTech Museum

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    (36 miles) Aurora

    SciTech "hands-on" museum boasts over 200 interative exhibits, daily shows, special events and activities. Hours of fun for kids in Aurora!

  • Volo Auto Museum

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    (42 miles) Volo

    30 acres of automobile fun in Illinois, with Hollywood cars, classic cars and a Kids Zone!

  • Hesston Steam Museum

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    (50 miles) La Porte

    History comes alive at the Hesston Steam Museum as real steam locomotives take you on a spectacular two and a half mile journey through deep woods, past lakes and farm fields.

  • Illinois Railway Museum

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    (52 miles) Union

    The Illinois Railway Museum, as you see it today, is the result of decades of effort by a dynamic group of dedicated volunteers. All of the buildings, track, locomotives and cars were assembled here ...

  • Exploration Station

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    (52 miles) Bourbonnais

    A fun interactive museum in Illinois where kids can climb inside a medieval castle, fly a jet plane, and sail on a ship - all part of the hands on discovery experience.

  • Curious Kids Discovery Zone

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    (61 miles) Saint Joseph

    Come to where Learning is Fun! Offering permanent and traveling hands-on exhibits for toddlers to teens. This beach side setting is the perfect place to explore six water exhibits, a climbing wall, ...

  • The Studebaker Museum

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    (72 miles) South Bend

    The Mission of the Studebaker National Museum is to honor and perpetuate the legacy of the rich industrial heritage of the South Bend area, through the display, interpretation, conservation and ...

  • HealthWorks Kids Museum

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    (72 miles) South Bend

    HealthWorks!, a one of a kind place that merges the best of both worlds from children�s museums and health education centers with our own creative spin.

  • Midway Village Museum

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    (75 miles) Rockford

    Interpreters in authentic period clothing bring Northern Illinois history to life in authentic Midway Village and engage students through a variety of hands-on activities--from rope making to ...

  • Hannah Lindahl Childrens Museum

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    (76 miles) Mishawaka

    There�s a place in Michiana made just for you! And this is it - the Hannah Lindahl Children�s Museum! Step inside and you�ll step back in time to a world your grandparents - even your ...

  • Shedd Aquarium

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    (1 miles) Chicago

    Shedd aquarium has over 32,000 animals you can come and see (with plenty you can touch!) Underwater family fun in Chicago!

  • Lincoln Park Zoo

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    (3 miles) Chicago

    Lincoln Park Zoo is a world of wildlife in the shadow of skyscrapers...and it's FREE! Kids can encounter animals from all over the planet, just minutes north of Chicago!