National Parks / Natural World in ELGIN with kids

The world has some incredible natural wonders, and luckily for you, Elgin has some incredible places to visit with kids right on your doorstep….and you won’t want to forget your camera!

The national and state parks in and around Elgin, Illinois offer an incredible variety of experiences for children.  Some parks protect a unique and diverse wilderness, teeming with wildlife which is always a thrill for kids!

Some parks protect incredible fascinating and significant historical sites, where the family can go back in time through American history…who says the learning as to stop on a family day out!

Even the city of Elgin itself has smaller parks perfect for a quick trip into nature.  You don’t even need to leave the city to have that park experience - and kids LOVE them!

Shut those televisions off and put those computer games away….the great outdoors is calling and it’s calling YOU!

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  • Morton Arboretum

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    (19 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.

  • Garfield Park

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    (31 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!

  • Lincoln Park

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    (34 miles) Chicago

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

  • Marquette Park

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    (35 miles) Chicago

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

  • Grant Park

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    (36 miles) Chicago

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

  • Burnham Park

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    (40 miles) Chicago

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

  • Klehm Arboretum and Botanic Garden

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    (45 miles) Rockford

    Come and get back to nature by exploring a beautiful botanical garden at Klehm Arboretum in Illinois!

  • Douglas Center for Environmental Education

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    (61 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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    (68 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!

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

  • Lake County Discovery Museum

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    (18 miles) Wauconda

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

  • Illinois Railway Museum

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    (18 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 ...

  • DuPage Childrens Museum

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    (19 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 ...

  • SciTech Museum

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    (20 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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    (21 miles) Volo

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

  • Kohl Childrens Museum of Greater Chicago

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    (24 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 ...

  • Mexican Fine Arts Center Museum

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    (34 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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    (34 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.

  • Museum of Contemporary Art

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    (35 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!

  • Chicago Childrens Museum

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    (36 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.

  • The Field Museum

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    (36 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!

  • Adler Planeterium

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    (37 miles) Chicago

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

  • DuSable Museum of African American History

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    (39 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 ...

  • Midway Village Museum

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    (40 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 ...

  • Museum of Science and Industry

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    (40 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 ...

  • Burpee Museum of Natural History

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    (45 miles) Rockford

    Welcome! Burpee Museum is a natural history museum specializing in paleontology, geology, biology, and Native American life. We have three floors of exhibits.

  • Discovery Center Museum

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    (45 miles) Rockford

    The amazing Discovery Center Museum is full of over 250 exciting hands-on exhibits spread over a two-floor area. Out in the museum's backyard, visitors can explore Rock River Discovery Park, a giant, ...

  • Tinker Swiss Cottage Museum

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    (45 miles) Rockford

    A step back in time at one of only a handful of Swiss-style homes remaining in the USA from the 1800s. Filled with Victorian Era furnishings and artifacts, it also has a fascinating Indian Burial ...

  • Exploration Station

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    (65 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.

  • Firehouse Ministries Fire Museum

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    (75 miles) Rock Falls

    Take a look into the history of Rock Falls Firefighting at this fun fire museum in Illinois - great for kids who love big trucks and learning!

  • Kline Creek Farm

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    (12 miles) West Chicago

    A fascinating look back in time at an 1890s DuPage Country Farmstead. Costumed interpreters and cute animals ready for those kids!

  • Cosley Zoo

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    (14 miles) Wheaton

    Under 200 animals at this sweet Illinois zoo - AND all kids under 17s get in FREE!

  • Brookfield Zoo

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    (27 miles) Brookfield

    216 acres of beautifully landscaped grounds with lots of beautiful animals waiting for families to visit them! An animal-tastic family day out in Chicago - both fun AND educational!

  • Summerfield Zoo

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    (31 miles) Belvidere

    From the Alligators to the Zebra, this sweet Illinois zoo and farm has family fun, education, and entertainment! Great for those personal animal experiences!

  • Lincoln Park Zoo

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    (34 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!

  • Shedd Aquarium

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    (36 miles) Chicago

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