National Parks / Natural World in Illinois with kids

The world has some incredible natural wonders, and luckily for you, The Prairie State 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 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!

The state of Illinois 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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  • Klehm Arboretum and Botanic Garden

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    Rockford

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

  • Ballard Nature Center

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    Altamont

    Nature Trails and a kids' fishing pond in Illinois, with fun interactive displays, and bird and squirrel watching indoors! Nature fun with handicapped accessible features too.

  • Morton Arboretum

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    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.

  • Lake of the Woods Forest Preserve

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    Mahomet

    900 acres of wooded parkland featuring opportunities for fishing, boating, hiking, picnicking, cross-country skiing and sledding, plus the Hi-Tower Observation Deck.

  • Kickapoo State Park

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    Oakwood

    A paradise for nature enthusiasts, water sports or boating fans and all kinds of wildlife lovers, plus a great adventure playground, and in winter one may try cross-country skiing, sledding, ice ...

  • Kennekuk County Park

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    Danville

    Grass prairie areas, oak and hickory forests, lakes, 3 nature preserves and the 170 acre Lake Mingo. The visitor center offers a 1000 gallon aquarium, natural history museum and American Indian ...

  • Forest Glen Nature Preserve

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    Danville

    Canoe the Vermilion River, climb the observation tower, camp, picnic and explore using the River Ridge Back Pack Trail.

  • Douglas Hart Nature Center

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    East Mattoon

    The Visitor Centre offers some live exhibits, plus interactive exhibits, multi sensory displays and a birdhide and observation area.

  • Lincoln Park

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    Chicago

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

  • Burnham Park

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    Chicago

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

  • Grant Park

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    Chicago

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

  • Garfield Park

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    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!

  • Marquette Park

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    Chicago

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

  • 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 ...