It can be hard to find something fun for the whole family to enjoy. Whether you have kids of different ages and interests or you’re getting tired of activities focused on little ones alone with no fun for the adults, don’t be discouraged; there’s something in Westmont, Illinois, for you. Here are five family attractions you have to experience, all within a 30-minute drive of Westmont’s city center.
Image via Flickr by erikccooper
One of the most popular attractions in the area, the Morton Arboretum has a rich history and tons of opportunities for all ages. Founded in 1922 by Joy Morton, the daughter of the founder of Arbor Day, these 1,700 acres truly celebrate nature and strive to preserve its beauty. With more than 222,000 plants living throughout grounds, there’s much to explore.
The Arboretum operates like an outdoor museum and offers a wide range of sites to see and things to learn. Those interested in history should stop by the Sterling Morton Library, while others more inclined toward science will enjoy The Gateway to Tree Science living exhibition. Hungry family members will appreciate the Gingko Restaurant and Cafe. Visitors who love exercise can enjoy the many miles of running, biking, and hiking trails. There are even races held periodically throughout the year, including a Fall Color 5K Run and Walk.
Get involved at the Arboretum by purchasing a yearly membership and checking out their many programs for different ages. Adults can enjoy nature art and photography, birding, gardening, and wellness programs. Available programs for young children include Forest Explorers’ sensory-learning nature walks and Junior Expedition discovery programs. Hands-on learning is big for children’s education at the Arboretum.
Bemis Woods is one of the forest preserves of Cook County, featuring 480 acres of land and both paved and unpaved trails. The woods are open to visitors all year round from sunrise to sunset. Take the whole family on a fun and easy bike ride through the forest using the 16.4-mile Salt Creek Trail System. Easy hiking trails also weave through the woods if everyone would prefer to stay on foot. Families can enjoy time on the water by canoeing or kayaking down Salt Creek, starting at the carry-in canoe landing in Bemis Woods.
Older children, teens, and adults will love the challenge of the on-site treetop adventure ropes course. This course is run by Go Ape and welcomes all ages to various parts of the course. The easiest Journey course is good for younger kids or those who aren’t big fans of heights. Two challenging Adventure courses are available for ages 10 to 15 and 16 and older. These include several zip lines, obstacles, a Tarzan swing, rope ladders, and spider webs and can take up to three hours to complete.
Lions, tigers, and bears, oh yes! The Brookfield Zoo is an ideal spot for families. Who doesn’t love seeing exotic animals up close? Adults can enjoy the relaxing walk through the zoo and see a wide range of interesting animals while kids marvel at the big cats, fuzzy bears, colorful fish, and much more. Events happen throughout the year at the zoo, so keep an eye out for something that the family might enjoy like the Fall at the Zoo event. Stop by the African habitat area for the unique opportunity to feed a giraffe.
Some of the animals living at the Brookfield Zoo include leopards, polar bears, penguins, seals, rhinos, and gorillas. If you like creepy, crawly things, don’t miss the swamp crocodiles and other reptiles. Stop by the carousel and playground areas along the way to keep little ones entertained. The zoo is open daily, and tickets must be reserved online.
Waterfall Glen Forest Preserve
Another great place for outdoor family adventures, the Waterfall Glen Forest Preserve is great for hiking, biking, walking, and exploring. Enjoy a walk around the preserve using the 9-mile Waterfall Glen trail loop. Along the way, everyone can take in the natural beauty of waterfalls, wildflowers, and wildlife. Go for a swim in the river or around the waterfalls on warm days. The land covers 2,503 acres and includes oak-maple woods, savannas, and prairies. More than 300 species of animals live in this preserve, making it a great place for budding biologists.
At the Enchanted Castle Restaurant and Entertainment Complex, you and your family will have a wealth of options for exciting activities. Got some gamers in your crew? The arcade room features more than 200 games ranging from old school skills games like skee-ball to some of the newest, most challenging video games. Win tons of tickets and visit the Prize Redemption Center to cash in. Choose from prizes like sports memorabilia, candy, board games, oversized plush toys, and even home decor.
For a more blood-pumping activity, enter into an intense game of laser tag. You can play with just your group or join a larger group, depending on the number of people you have. This is ideal for older kids and adults. The little ones will love the Kids Adventure Playland area with loads of climbing obstacles and slides. Get the entire family involved in a game of Black Knight’s Adventure mini-golf at their glow-in-the-dark, nine-hole course.
Other activities at the Enchanted Castle include go-karts, a catapult ride, bumper cars, and a virtual reality ride called Virtual Rabbids. Come by any day of the week from noon to 9 p.m. Enjoy a meal at the restaurant before or after gaming. Their menu is also family-friendly with options like burgers, wings, pizza, and sandwiches. Adults can enjoy a beer or glass of wine with their meal, and kids will love the option for fountain drinks or ICEE frozen drinks.
Don’t miss out on these local opportunities for family fun! Crème de la Crème of Westmont Early Learning Center recommends getting out and enjoying time with the family at these five great spots. We understand the value of keeping your kids engaged and active while also spending quality time together. Find time to visit each of these attractions to make sure you soak in everything the Westmont area has to offer.