National Parks / Natural World in SPRINGFIELD with kids

The world has some incredible natural wonders, and luckily for you, Springfield 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 Springfield, 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 Springfield 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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  • Ballard Nature Center

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    (70 miles) 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.

  • Douglas Hart Nature Center

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    (74 miles) East Mattoon

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

  • Lake of the Woods Forest Preserve

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    (74 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.

  • The Earthways Center

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    (85 miles) St Louis

    The EarthWays Home, a three-story Victorian residence built in 1885 at 3617 Grandel Square, was renovated in 1994 to showcase practical demonstrations of energy efficient systems, recycled products ...

  • Missouri Botanical Garden

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    (87 miles) St Louis

    Visit the country's OLDEST botanical garden in continuous operation! An oasis in St. Louis, with 79 acres of beautiful displays and gardens.

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

  • Illinois State Museum

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    (1 miles) 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 ...

  • Childrens Museum of Illinois

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    (39 miles) 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!

  • Dickson Mounds State Museum

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    (46 miles) 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 ...

  • Monticello Railway Museum

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    (61 miles) 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 ...

  • Childrens Discovery Museum

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    (61 miles) 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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    (63 miles) 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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    (63 miles) 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.

  • Lakeview Museum of Arts and Sciences

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    (66 miles) 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 ...

  • National Great Rivers Museum

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    (68 miles) 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 ...

  • Edwardsville Children's Museum

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    (69 miles) 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.

  • Geology Museum

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    (71 miles) 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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    (72 miles) 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!

  • Orpheum Children's Science Museum

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    (78 miles) 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!

  • City Museum

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    (85 miles) St Louis

    This St. Louis museum is one of the most unusual in the country, with multi-level madness, a rooftop Ferris Wheel and 3 stories of creativity - including caves!

  • Saint Louis Art Museum

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    (86 miles) St Louis

    The Saint Louis Art Museum is one of the nation's leading comprehensive art museums, containing more than 30,000 works of art.

  • Chanute Aerospace Museum

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    (87 miles) 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 ...

  • Discovery Depot Children's Museum

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    (89 miles) Galesburg

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

  • The Magic House Museum

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    (93 miles) St Louis

    Hands-on learning experiences in St. Louis that encourage experimentation, creativity and the development of problem-solving skills for kids!

  • Jefferson Barracks Telephone Museum

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    (94 miles) St. Louis

    A trip down memory lane in a beautiful historic building, taking you through the history of the telephone!

  • Henson Robinson Zoo

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    (5 miles) Springfield

    Over 90 species from all over the world at this beautiful Springfield Zoo, giving kids a great day of animal-tastic learning!

  • Scovill Zoo

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    (39 miles) Decatur

    Animal lovers of all ages can visit South African cheetahs, an Australian wallaby, and golden lion tamarins from Brazil, to name just a few!

  • Miller Park Zoo

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    (59 miles) Bloomington

    Offers an extensive collection of well cared for animals, reptiles and birds from around the word, with a daily animal feeding schedule, plus keeper talks and interaction opportunities.

  • Peoria Zoo

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    (65 miles) Peoria

    Explore the animals of Africa, Asia, Australia, yet next leave Illinois! Peoria Zoo features amazing learning opportunities for kids, and great animal fun!

  • Wildlife Prairie Park

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    (66 miles) Hanna City

    2,000 acre of beautiful parkland with a wildlife park home to 150 creatures over 50 species. With a fishing lake, mountain bike tracks and hiking tracks, this really is an outdoor adventure for the ...

  • World Aquarium

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    (86 miles) St. Louis

    Over 10,000 outrageous sea creatures and fun river critters await you at this St.Louis aquarium, with interactive fun for kids too!

  • St Louis Zoo

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    (86 miles) St Louis

    he Saint Louis Zoo has educated, entertained and earned a place in the hearts of St. Louisans for generations. With the Louisiana Purchase Exposition in 1904, there began a long and slow process to ...

  • The Butterfly House

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    (91 miles) Chesterfield

    The mission of the Butterfly House, a division of the Missouri Botanical Garden, is to foster a better understanding and increased awareness of our natural world. This facility presents an ...

  • Bicycle Safety Town

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    (68 miles) Peoria

    4,000 feet of simulated street-life for kids to practice the rules of the road on, plus a toddler playground! Bike fun in Illinois!

  • Wheels O Time

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    (73 miles) Peoria

    In 1979, two guys had many antique and collector autos stored in various places in the Peoria, Illinois area. They started thinking about storing them in one place, such as a building on the north ...

  • Pole Position Raceway

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    (93 miles) St Louis

    High standard indoor karting, for over 48". Arrive and Drive available.