Things to do in Illinois with kids

Illinois is a state seeped in history, excitement and adventure. It was also the state that Abraham Lincoln chose to call home, so that makes it pretty special! (You can even visit his home at the Lincoln Home National Historic Site!) 

The Prairie State has thrills and spills ahoy with Pirates Cove Children’s Theme Park, and that classic Six Flags Great America!  There are animals a-plenty with attractions like Brookfield Zoo, Summerfield Zoo and Wildlife Prairie Park, and great adventures perfect for those little kids with Safariland!

Museums are never far away featuring an incredible range of exhibits from the Geology Museum and the Chanute Aerospace Museum, to the Monticello Railway Museum and the historic Tinker Swiss Cottage Museum.

Active kids - you will have a field day with attractions such as American Obstacle adventure park, and the very exciting K1 Speed racing!

Illinois has small towns with charm, and big cities with excitement.  It’s the heart of America with endless places to visit with kids. Enjoy it, and don’t forget to get your kicks because Illinois is the start of Route 66!

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  • 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

    Hands-on fun for kids aged 3 years to 12, with interactive exhibits in this children's museum to teach them about science, the arts, and more!

  • 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.

  • Caterpillar Visitors Center

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    Peoria

    Self guided experience exploring the history of the brand's development which includes a motion simulator ride, heritage gallery, vintage vehicles and future concepts.

  • Firehouse Ministries Fire Museum

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    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!

  • Edwardsville Children's Museum

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    Edwardsville

    All things fun and play in this colorful Illinois children's museum, with hands-on exhibits perfect for those little ones to learn through play.

  • Fort Wayne Museum of Art

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    Fort Wayne

    It's an art attack in Fort Wayne with the Museum of Art, featuring every changing exhibitions that introduce kids to the wonderful world of art.

  • Volo Auto Museum

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    Volo

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

  • 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!