If you’re like most Illinois parents, you don’t mind splurging on fun activities once in a while. However, those freebies you come across on occasion are worth their weight in gold. Unfortunately, finding those opportunities can be tricky. That’s why we put together this list of six free things to do near South Burlington that won’t cost you a dime.

Go to the Park

Spending the day in an awesome local park is a terrific free activity. Your neighborhood play area is the perfect place to plan various outdoor adventures, from climbing the jungle gym to Geocaching. The city of South Burlington maintains two parks, including Community Park on Bridges Drive. At this free destination, your little ones can explore the playgrounds, hit a home run on the baseball field, kick a goal on the soccer pitch, play a tennis match, or spike it over the net on the volleyball court.

Marvin Dunteman Park on Witt Road is the other South Burlington city-managed park. It provides another great outdoor space to enjoy a family bike ride, a romp on the playground, or a picnic on the grass. Your family can rent the covered pavilion for a birthday party or other special occasion.

Explore Kline Creek Farm

A family of sheep cuddling in a farm stall.
Image via Flickr by Wendy Piersall Licensed CC BY 2.0

Step back in time with a trip to Kline Creek Farm. This 1890s working farm at Timber Ridge Forest Preserve gives guests of every age the chance to experience agricultural life in Illinois around the turn of the 19th century. You’ll see volunteers reenacting activities like baking, canning, sheep shearing, beekeeping, and ice cutting.

Hobby horticulturists plant and harvest fruits and vegetables in the kitchen’s garden and tend to the trees in the orchard, while other participants work in the wagon shed or cure meat in the smokehouse. Resident livestock, like horses, sheep, cattle, and chickens, live in the farm’s coop, barn, and pastures.

The Timber Ridge Visitor Center offers seasonal exhibits that depict aspects of the 1890s, specifically surrounding DuPage County’s agricultural heritage. The center also provides modern restrooms and a drinking fountain. Families can tour the original farmhouse on the hour between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. While it is free to explore the property, donations are welcome. You’ll find Kline Creek Farm off County Farm Road in West Chicago.

Play Trivia at the Arboretum

The Arboretum of South Barrington is a 600,000-square-foot open-air shopping center on West Higgins Road. Join the center’s Jim Jensen for free Family Game Night on select Thursdays. It’s a mix of all the best TV-style game shows like Name That Tune, Family Feud, Wheel of Fortune, and of course, movie trivia.

Each team will have a mix of adults and children, as Jensen will have questions and challenges for everyone. Whether it’s just you and your child, or the whole family of up to 12 people, you must have a team to compete. Test your skills with this fast-paced game that’s fun for all ages. Jensen recommends that you keep checking the Arboretum’s website as he’s always adding new dates. Once you pick one, call to make a reservation because space is limited, and this free event fills up fast.

Check Out Chicago Summer Dance

The Chicago Summer Dance Series returns to the South Barrington area between July 6 and September 17, 2022. This beloved annual event features live music and dancing in neighborhood parks all across the city. If your family loves to dance, this is a terrific way to spend some memorable moments together.

Start your dance party in the heart of downtown Chicago at Grant Park. Its Spirit of Music Garden on South Michigan Avenue touts a 4,900-square-foot open-air dance floor. Organizers invite dancers of every age and skill level to take a free introductory lesson. A professional instructor in Salsa, Polka Hop, East Coast Swing, or even Merengue dance styles will show you the fundamentals.

For example, you can sign up for Ballroom Basics. This all-ages class takes place on Saturday, July 9, 2022, at 1 p.m. at the Buckingham Fountain in Grant Park. Find a Summer Dance in the Parks location near you, including but not limited to:

  • Davis Square Park (4430 South Marshfield Avenue).
  • Douglass Park (1401 South Sacramento Drive).
  • Jackson Park (1700 Columbia Drive).
  • Millennium Park (201 East Randolph Street).
  • Ogden Park (6500 South Racine Avenue).
  • Pullman Park (11101 South Cottage Grove).
  • Welles Park (2333 West Sunnyside Avenue).
  • Willye B. White Park (1610 Howard Street).

See the Animals at Lincoln Park Zoo

Next time you’re looking for something fun — and free — to do, stop by the Lincoln Park Zoo on Fullerton Avenue. It’s an outstanding destination that has been a must-see for every South Barrington family since it opened in 1868. This 35-acre lakefront zoo is home to all your favorite species and activities you’ll love. Watch the trainers feed the seals in the Kovler Pool or meet the gorillas in the Great Ape House. The exhibits are open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Stillman Nature Center

Stillman Nature Center on West Penny Road offers free programs for families that love the great outdoors. Some courses do have age limits. For example, the Sunday Morning Birdwalks with guide Mike Levin is best for children ages 8 and up. However, Thursday Trekkers is fun for all ages. This free hour-long guided walk travels around the lake and through the woods on the first Thursday of the month at 9:30 a.m.

Join Mark Spreyer, a licensed bird bander, to weigh and measure the center’s resident and migratory birds. You’ll like out on the trails where the critters live, so come prepared. This seasonal event runs on the first Sunday of the month between April and June, from 9 a.m. to noon.

Well, there you go! Crème de la Crème of South Burlington shared this guide to six completely free activities you can do with the kids. What do you think of our ideas? Let us know if we forgot your family’s favorite budget-friendly activity. Send us a note so we can add your ideas to our next guide.