National Parks / Natural World in JOLIET with kids

The world has some incredible natural wonders, and luckily for you, Joliet 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 Joliet, 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 Joliet 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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    (20 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.

  • Marquette Park

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    (26 miles) Chicago

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

  • 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!

  • Burnham Park

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    (32 miles) Chicago

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

  • Grant Park

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    (34 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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    (36 miles) Chicago

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

  • Douglas Center for Environmental Education

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    (42 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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    (53 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!

  • Klehm Arboretum and Botanic Garden

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    (73 miles) Rockford

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

  • Potato Creek State Park

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    (89 miles) North Liberty

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

  • Silver Beach County Park

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    (92 miles) St. Joseph

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

  • Lake of the Woods Forest Preserve

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    (92 miles) Mahomet

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

  • Kennekuk County Park

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    (94 miles) 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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    (94 miles) Danville

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

  • Kickapoo State Park

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    (97 miles) 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 ...

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

  • DuPage Childrens Museum

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    (18 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!

  • Exploration Station

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    (28 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.

  • DuSable Museum of African American History

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    (31 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 ...

  • Mexican Fine Arts Center Museum

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    (31 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.

  • Museum of Science and Industry

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    (32 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 ...

  • The Field Museum

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    (34 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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    (34 miles) Chicago

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

  • 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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    (35 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 Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum

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    (36 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.

  • Kohl Childrens Museum of Greater Chicago

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    (42 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 ...

  • Lake County Discovery Museum

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    (51 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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    (54 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 ...

  • Volo Auto Museum

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    (56 miles) Volo

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

  • Midway Village Museum

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    (70 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 ...

  • Tinker Swiss Cottage Museum

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    (73 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 ...

  • Burpee Museum of Natural History

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    (73 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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    (73 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, ...

  • Hesston Steam Museum

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    (74 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.