Historical Attractions in Illinois with kids

You’ve heard the saying “History can be fun”…well, we think history IS fun (especially in Illinois!)

Illinois is filled with history, and what better way to learn about it with children than to experience the many places to visit in The Prairie State  that can actually take you back in time!

Historical attractions come in all shapes and sizes. There are landmarks where iconic events happened. There are homes of historic figures filled with treasures and artifacts from their amazing lives. There are historic buildings whose walls are filled with stories from Illinois’s past. 

The best way for kids to learn about history, is to actually visit the places where history happened. It makes sense! Kids can use their imagination as they read and hear all about events, people and places, and feel like they have gone back in time.

There are plenty of things to do with kids in Illinois when it comes to history, so what are we waiting for - let’s GO! 

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  • Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library

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    Springfield

    A fascinating, historical and educational day with the whole family as you walk through the life and times of Abraham Lincoln.

  • Blackberry Farm

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    Aurora

    A surprisingly entertaining historical attraction including museums and exhibits but also rides, traditional craft demonstrations and a great deal of scenic open space to run about in.

  • Lincoln Home National Historic Site

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    Springfield

    A historic attraction for kids where they can explore the home where Abraham Lincoln lived before becoming president. A trip back in time!

  • Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site

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    Collinsville

    A fascinating UNESCO site of what was once one of the greatest cities in the world!

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

  • Tinker Swiss Cottage Museum

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    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 ...

  • Burpee Museum of Natural History

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    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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    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, ...

  • Illinois Railway Museum

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    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 ...

  • Adler Planeterium

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    Chicago

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

  • Museum of Science and Industry

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    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 ...

  • DuSable Museum of African American History

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    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 ...

  • Mexican Fine Arts Center Museum

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    Chicago

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

  • Museum of Contemporary Art

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    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!

  • The Field Museum

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    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!

  • The Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum

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    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.

  • Chicago Childrens Museum

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    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.

  • Kohl Childrens Museum of Greater Chicago

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    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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    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 ...

  • Dickson Mounds State Museum

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    Lewistown

    The Dickson Mounds Museum, a branch of the Illinois State Museum and a National Historic Site, is one of the major on-site archaeological museums in the United States. It offers a unique opportunity ...

  • Lakeview Museum of Arts and Sciences

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    Peoria

    The museum features exhibition galleries, Planetarium, Illinois Folk Art Gallery, Discovery Center, valuable collections of fine arts, folk arts and natural history, and educational programming for ...

  • Geology Museum

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    Macomb

    A museum part of the University to allow the general public to understand, learn about and be enriched by Earth Sciences. A fascinating and educational experience for the kids and the parents in ...

  • Johnny Gruelle Raggedy Ann and Andy Museum

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    Arcola

    The Johnny Gruelle Raggedy Ann & Andy Museum opened to the public in May of 1999, in Arcola, Illinois. We are the only officially licensed Raggedy Ann & Andy museum in the world!

  • Monticello Railway Museum

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    Monticello

    A great museum for train lovers, with rail cars on display, exhibits on the history of trains and railroading, as well as weekend trains rides May to October! Choo Choo what a fun family day out in ...

  • Chanute Aerospace Museum

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    Rantoul

    For those aerospace and aviation loving families, this Illinois museum is a great family day out option for you! With real aircraft that kids can get up close to, it's a fascinating look at the ...

  • Orpheum Children's Science Museum

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    Champaign

    A fun, creative and hands-on science museum in Champaign, Illinois where kids can learn and play through interactive exhibits. A great family day out!

  • Illinois State Museum

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    Springfield

    The Illinois State Museum promotes discovery, learning, and an appreciation of Illinois' natural, cultural, and artistic heritage. The Museum's extensive collections and research activities provide ...

  • National Great Rivers Museum

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    East Alton

    This 12,000-square-foot facility is the result of a collaboration of the Corps and the nonprofit Meeting of the Great Rivers Foundation and tells the story of the Mississippi River. The Museum ...

  • Midway Village Museum

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    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 ...

  • Childrens Museum of Illinois

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    Decatur

    The Childrens Museum of Illinois is a hands-on, interactive museum for children ages three to twelve! Its exhibits and activities complement and enhance childrens educational opportunities, ...

  • Discovery Depot Children's Museum

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    Galesburg

    Diverse exhibits encouraging hands-on learning at this children's museum in Illinois, perfect for those inquisitive minds up to 12 years!

  • SciTech Museum

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    Aurora

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

  • Exploration Station

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    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.

  • Lake County Discovery Museum

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    Wauconda

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

  • Childrens Discovery Museum

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    Normal

    3 vast floors full of interactive experiment and hands on learning experiences designed to reinforce love of thought and exploration in all ages. Serious fun.

  • Peoria Riverfront Museum

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    Peoria

    An interdisciplinary extravaganza blanding art, history, science and achievement to an educative thrill that will get everyone seriously thinking. Plus 3D Giant Screen Cinema and Dome Planetarium.