When you are looking for an adventure for your family, a day trip is the perfect option. You and your family can connect with nature, honor their community, and engage with learning within a couple hours’ drive from Lincoln Park, Illinois. Maybe you’ll find a new favorite place to visit! Here are the eight best places to day trip from Lincoln Park.
Pullman National Monument
Image via Flickr by puroticorico
The Pullman National Monument, or Pullman Historic District, is a thriving neighborhood in Chicago. It was founded by George Pullman in 1880 as the first planned industrial town to draw skilled workers to build railroad cars. The District houses a helpful visitor information center, the National A. Philip Randolph Pullman Porter Museum, the Promenade, and Hotel Florence. Your family will be in awe of the beautiful architecture while learning about planned communities and African American labor history. The Pullman District can also help your kids develop a relationship with history that happened in their backyard.
While the Visitor Center at 11141 S. Cottage Grove Ave. is only open on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., you can visit the Pullman Historic District throughout the week.
Chicago Botanic Garden
The Chicago Botanic Garden at 1000 Lake Cook Road in Glencoe is a living museum on 385 acres. It’s home to 27 separate gardens, including a children’s garden, bonsai collection, Japanese garden, Nature Play Garden, and English walled garden. They offer classes and special events, as well as a mobile app that shows you what plants are in bloom, an interactive map, and a plant guide to use at home. The Chicago Botanic Garden is open every day from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. You must register for entry, which costs $25 per car.
The Morton Arboretum at 4100 Illinois Route 53 in Lisle, Illinois, is a 1700-acre tree museum dedicated to the science of tree health, conservation, and the relationship between humans and nature. This museum has a children’s garden that spans 4 acres and 16 miles of trails, add the expansive maze garden is built from 2,400 hedges and gates that allow the staff to change the path to keep it interesting for repeat visitors. Your family can also follow one of three audio tours voiced by the experienced tram guides through the Arboretum. Join the Troll Hunt for six 15-foot to 30-foot tall trolls that live on the grounds, just within three-quarters of a mile from the main parking lot. These giant sculptures were designed by Thomas Dambo from reclaimed wood and are said to protect the land.
Adult admission is $15, children 2- to 17-years-old are $10, and children under the age of one are free. And be sure to secure a timed-entry reservation when you plan your trip.
Des Plaines State Fish and Wildlife Area
If you really want to get out of the city and into the great outdoors, the Des Plaines State Fish and Wildlife Area is 5,000 acres of beautiful prairies, farmlands, wetlands, swampland, and shoreline. This wildlife area is the perfect place to connect with nature and learn about fishing and hunting. Your kids will love boating on the Kankakee River or learning archery. Enjoy a family hiking trip and picnic along the river shore. You and your kids can also fish if you have a permit. Plus, there are horseback riding trails for any aspiring equestrians in the family.
The Discovery Center Museum
The Discovery Center Museum is situated in the Rockford Museum Complex at 711 North Main Street, near the Rockford Art Museum and the Burpee Museum of Natural History. The Discovery Center Museum is a hands-on children’s STEM museum with more than 300 permanent exhibits, including a planetarium, the science of sports, weather, flight, agriculture, and art. The museum also features traveling exhibits, special events, and engaging classes for children of all ages.
Every exhibit is wheelchair-accessible so everyone in the family can enjoy the museum. Visitors pay $9 per person, but children younger than one are free. Timed museum sessions are available Wednesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
Holland, Michigan is a vibrant town about 155 miles from Lincoln Park that celebrates its Dutch settlers. There are several replica buildings, including the Nelis’ Dutch Village that showcases Klompen dancing, a one-room schoolhouse where your kids can dress up in traditional Dutch costumes, rides like a Ferris wheel and trains, and a petting farm where you can walk a goat. You can also visit the Holland Museum, which explores civic responsibility and Holland history, and the Degraaf Nature Center.
Holland is also home to The Windmill Island Gardens, which features the De Zwaan Windmill, the last mill that the Netherlands allowed to be shipped. The windmill is still in operation and open for costumed tours. The flour milled in the de Zwaan Windmill is also available for purchase, so you can take some home with you. The Gardens are renowned for their spring tulips, antique carousel, replica 14th-century inn, and Little Netherlands Village Display.
Indiana Dunes National Park
Indiana Dunes National Park at 1100 N. Mineral Springs Road in Porter, Indiana, is a vast national park with 15 miles of shoreline along Lake Michigan. In addition to hiking, swimming, horseback riding, and guided tours, your family can enjoy more than 60 historical sites. Check out five Century of Progress homes from the 1933 Chicago World’s Fair, the Bailly Homestead, and the Chellberg Farm. The Indiana Dunes National Park also features geocaching, where participants use a geocaching mobile app or GPS to find containers that have been hidden by other geocachers. The park also hosts several EarthCaching sites for an interactive nature experience!
Day trips give you and your kids an opportunity to experience new locations, explore different natural environments, and build a relationship with communities and history. At Crème de la Crème of Lincoln Park, IL., we help develop every child’s love of civic responsibility and appreciation of diversity through our whole-child education programs. Do you have a favorite day trip you don’t see listed? Let us know in the comments, and we’ll be sure to add it to our list!