Warrenville, Illinois, residents are lucky to live near a variety of major attractions. Whether your family is full of outdoor enthusiasts or you’re more indoor folks who prefer the tranquil hall of a museum, there’s something for you close to home. We put together this guide of the five best local entertainment venues that are appealing to kids — and parents, too!
Image via Flickr by davidwilson1949 Licensed CC BY 2.0
Warrenville is a quintessential American small town with friendly Midwest locals and plenty of rural charm — despite its proximity to the Windy City. You might not imagine an innovation leader in the middle of town, but there is. Fermilab is a particle physics and accelerator company with a laboratory on Kirk Road and Pine Street in Batavia. It’s one of the area’s coolest educational destinations.
Visitors are welcome to tour the facility and experience the incredible power of science. Its Lederman Science Center is open to parents and children 10 and up on weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The center’s hands-on exhibits and activities include technology and science labs where you can learn about topics like the size scale of the universe or quarks and neutrinos.
After you and the kids fill your brains with knowledge, enjoy the expansive outdoor areas. Explore the wonders of nature at this designated National Environmental Research Park. Remember to attend the annual Family Outdoor Fair each June. This festival offers dozens of activities highlighting the diverse plant and animal life found on the ground’s 6,800 acres of open prairie land. You can also visit Fermilab’s website anytime for a long list of available virtual programs you can do together at home.
Blackwell Forest Preserve
The town of Warrenville sits on the banks of the DuPage River’s west branch, making it an ideal place for nature lovers of all ages to explore. The 1,366-acre Blackwell Forest Preserve on Butterfield Road is one of the most popular stops for hiking, picnicking, archery, fishing, boating, tubing, and camping.
Pitch your tent or park your camper on Friday and Saturday nights between May and September. Reserve one of 60 wooded spaces, each with electricity, a fire ring, and a picnic table. There are also portable toilets and running water nearby.
Once your campsite is all set up, wander down 9 miles of scenic turf and limestone trails on foot, two-wheels, cross-country skis, or horseback. The preserve’s gently rolling terrain features woodlands and grasslands that attract native wildlife. You might spot turkeys, deer, coyotes, and red foxes.
The path around McKee Marsh features two observation decks, a bird blind, and interpretive signage that details the history and ecological significance of the wetland. Keep an eye out for Northern leopard frogs, wood ducks, and sandpipers near the water. Don’t forget the family dog, either. There’s an off-leash area where Fido can play.
The Robert R. McCormick House
Robert R. McCormick was one of Warrenville’s most renowned residents. A surgeon of the British Royal Navy, this doctor was also an Arctic explorer, naturalist, and publisher and editor of the Chicago Tribune. He settled in the town after inheriting the property from his grandfather, Joseph Medill.
Warrenville’s local history buffs can learn about this colorful character’s life and expansive career with a guided tour of the home. This museum is open to the public daily and features examples of McCormick’s work and beloved possessions. Last year, the facility underwent a significant renovation and reopens with a new look in 2022.
The home sits on the ground of Cantigny Park on Winfield Road. McCormick named the estate after the French village where he fought in World War I. The land served as an experimental farm where the former surgeon tested new agricultural theories until he died in 1955. Today it’s an inviting 500-acre community park.
The Illinois State Capitol
Like most Warrenville parents, having access to a list of free kid-friendly activities is worth its weight in gold. Well, did you know that your family can tour the Illinois State Capitol for no cost? State officials allow the public to watch our government’s legislative and executive branches in action. When in session, guests can sit in the balcony-level area and observe political change as it happens.
This beautiful Renaissance Revival and Second Empire Victorian-style building has a stunning 405-foot dome on top, and our state’s leaders held the first legislative session under its roof in 1877. Warrenville is just a half hour’s drive from the Capitol building located on South 2nd Street.
Cerny Park is one of Warrenville’s best city parks. It’s located on South Forest View and Warren Avenue and offers everything an outstanding community space should. You’ll find a basketball court, sand volleyball court, and baseball field.
There’s also a tot lot for your little ones and a playground Parks and Recreation designed for kids ages 6 to 12. The large open grass play area is perfect for a picnic and an afternoon game of Frisbee. Rent the covered pavilion for your family’s next special occasion, and remember to check the city’s calendar for a host of summer events that take place here, like the annual, two-day Independence Day extravagance.
Join your friends and neighbors at Cerny Park to celebrate the nation’s birthday on July 3, 2022. The party kicks off with a talent showcase of Warrenville’s School and Park District dance troops, bands, and singers. Local scouting troops will lead the parade, and there’s a 5K race for runners and walkers. In addition, there’s face painting, sack races, and a hula hoop contest for the kids.
Wow! How about that? Crème de la Crème of Warrenville shared this awesome list of five major family attractions that are practically in your backyard. What do you think of our picks? Did we miss your favorite destination? Let us know if we did! Drop us a line so we can share your ideas with other Illinois parents.