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Home > Family Travel > Family Travel Guides > Illinois Travel Guide

 

Illinois Vacations Travel Guide

 

General Information

Baby Equipment Rentals - companies in Illinois that rent baby gear and equipment including car seats, strollers, cribs and more

Family Resorts in Illinois - resorts, hotels and other family friendly lodging

Illinois Bureau of Tourism - things to do, places to stay, maps, calendar of events and more.

 


Zoos

Miller Park Zoo
1020 S Morris Ave
Bloomington, Illinois 61701
Phone: (309) 434-2250
The zoo features a walk through Wallaby exhibit, a rain forest exhibit with free flying birds, the new ZooLab exploration center, which includes an indoor butterfly and birds exhibit (butterflies from April-October), sun bears, snow leopards, red wolves, Sumatran tiger, and a new Children's Zoo.

Brookfield Zoo
3300 Golf Rd
Brookfield, Illinois 60513
Phone: (708) 485-0263
Brookfield Zoo is home to animals representing more than 400 species. This magnificent collection inhabits nearly 20 naturalistic exhibits within the zoo's 216 acres.

Shedd Aquarium
1200 S Lake Shore Dr
Chicago, Illinois 60605
Phone: (312) 939-2438
The world's largest indoor aquarium. The facility houses nearly 8,000 aquatic animals representing some 650 species of fish, reptiles, amphibians, invertebrates, birds and mammals from waters around the world. Beautifully situated on the shores of Lake Michigan.

Lincoln Park Zoo
2001 N Clark St
Chicago, Illinois 60614
Phone: (312) 742-2000
A premier Chicago attraction, the Lincoln Park Zoo provides visitors with remarkable learning experiences as well as fun and enjoyment. Its intimate setting enables guests, young and old alike, to experience the thrill of gazing directly into the eyes of a lowland gorilla and standing toe to toe with an African elephant.  More than 1,000 animals make their home here. Rare and exotic species, as well as more familiar animals, are exhibited in environments that reflect their habitats in the wild.

Glen Oak Zoo
2218 N Prospect Rd
Peoria, Illinois 61603
Phone: (309) 686-3365

Henson Robinson Zoo
1100 E Lake Dr
Springfield, Illinois 62707
Phone: (217) 753-6217
More than 300 animals from Africa, Asia, Australia, North and South America find refuge at the zoo.  Come and view the naturalistic exhibits that house more than 90 species of native and exotic animals.  Enjoy the relaxing atmosphere of the lagoons and watch mischievous spider monkeys at play on monkey island. Delight at the river otters. Marvel at the grace of the cheetahs and the deceivingly cuddly appearance of the Asiatic black bear. Step into the darkness to visit a variety of animals that enjoy the night life in the nocturnal building. Then take a walk on the wild side with cougars, gibbons, lemurs, and more.

Cosley Zoo
1356 Gary Ave
Wheaton, Illinois 60187
Phone: (630) 665-5534
Cosley Zoo is situated on five acres and exhibits domestic farm animals and native Illinois wildlife. In addition to the animals, visitors will find a gift shop, shaded picnic area, washrooms and seasonal concessions. All paths are paved with bricks and suitable for strollers and for persons with disabilities.  The zoo offers an intimate interactive experience and allows visitors the chance to get "up close" with the animals. You can enjoy sitting by the picturesque duck pond, get close to a 2,000 pound horse, and if you're lucky, hear the coyotes howl.

 


National Parks

Lincoln Home National Historic Site
426 South Seventh St.
Springfield, Illinois
Phone: (217) 492-4241 ex.221
Take a tour of the two-story home of Abraham Lincoln, the only home he ever owned. The house was constructed in 1839 as a 1 1/2-story cottage. Abraham and Mary Lincoln lived here from 1844 until Mr. Lincoln's election to the Presidency in 1861.

Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail
Phone: (402)221-3471
Portions of the trail can be explored by vehicle, by foot, by bicycle, horseback and by boat. The many visitor centers highlight local events and history of the trail. There are many festivals along the trail throughout the year.

 


Museums

SciTech - Hands-on Museum
18 West Benton Street
Aurora, Illinois 60506
Phone: 630-859-3434
Exhibits on weather, biology, sound, physics, astronomy and more.  Fun hands on museum the kids will enjoy.

Lederman Science Center
Batavia, Illinois
Phone: (630)-840-8258
Science adventures, physics games, prairie exhibits and more.

Roberts Armory
Big Rock, Illinois
Roberts Armory is a traveling museum that specializes in the acquisition and display of light armored vehicles and artillery used by the U.S. Army in World War II.

Strickler Planetarium
Bourbonnais, Illinois
Phone: (815) 939-5308

William M. Staerkel Planetarium
Champaign, Illinois
Phone: (217) 351-2446
The Staerkel Planetarium is open year-round, providing science education programs and fascinating light show entertainment to over 30,000 people each year.

Adler Planetarium & Astronomy Museum
1300 South Lakeshore Drive
Chicago, Illinois 60605
Phone: (312) 922-STAR
Astronomy and science exhibits, planetarium, and observatory.

Chicago Academy of Sciences
2430 N. Cannon Drive
Chicago, Illinois 60614
Phone: (773) 755-5100
Natural history, biology and weather exhibits.

Chicago Children's Museum
700 East Grand Avenue at Navy Pier
Chicago, Illinois
Phone: (312) 527-1000
Fun hands on exhibits of all types for children and their parents.

Field Museum of Natural History
1400 S. Lake Shore Dr
Chicago, Illinois 60605
Phone: (312) 922-9410
See Sue, the world's largest, most complete and most famous T. rex.  Step into a lush, enchanting world where butterflies flutter and swirl around you in Living Colors. You can also visit many other temporary and permanent exhibits.

The Hancock Observatory
875 North Michigan Avenue
Chicago, Illinois
Phone: (888) 875-VIEW (8439)
Located atop John Hancock Center, the Hancock Observatory is a "must see" for visitors to Chicago.  Take a tour of the new high-tech one-of-a-kind offerings that will elevate your senses and send your spirits soaring.  The new open-air Skywalk -- 94 floors and over 1,000 feet above the ground -- offers breathtaking views of the city, Lake Michigan and surrounding states.  The new Soundscopes at The Hancock Observatory would impress even Mr. Spock. These new talking telescopes allow visitors to actually hear about the sites that they are viewing in a choice of four languages (English, French, Spanish and Japanese)

International Museum of Surgical Science
1524 N. Lake Shore Drive
Chicago, Illinois 60610
Phone: (312) 642-6502
From scalpels to skulls, the museum collection spans over 4,000 years of surgical history. The museum has collected surgical related artifacts since its opening in 1952 and originally welcomed members of the International College of Surgeons to contribute to the foundation of the collection. To date, there are over 7,000 artifacts including surgical instruments, paintings, murals and statutes that highlight the history of surgery.

Museum of Science and Industry-Chicago
57th Street and Lake Shore Drive
Chicago, Illinois 60637
Phone: (773) 684.1414 / 1-800-GO TO MSI
Exhibits on science, industry, sports, etc. and an OmniMax Theater.

Children's Museum of Illinois
55 South Country Club Road
Decatur, Illinois 62521
Phone: (217) 423-5437
The Children's Museum of Illinois invites you to explore the hands-on interactive exhibits. The all-new museum offers over 10,000 square feet of exhibit space for children and families to discover.

Kohl Children's Museum
2100 Patriot Blvd
Glenview IL 60026
Phone: (847) 832-6600
Kohl Children’s Museum of Greater Chicago is a hands-on learning laboratory for children ages birth to 8. All of our exhibits and programs are aligned to the Illinois State Learning Standards and are designed to make learning fun and interesting for young children.

DuPage Children's Museum
301 North Washington Street
Naperville, Illinois 60540
Phone: (630) 637-8000
The mission of the DuPage Children's Museum is to stimulate curiosity, creativity, thinking and problem solving among young children. Children's familiar experiences are expanded through self-directed, interactive exhibits and programs focusing on the integration of the arts and sciences. It is a safe and inviting environment where both children and adults learn and play together.

Cernan Earth and Space Center
2000 Fifth Avenue
Located at Triton College in Chicago's western suburb of River Grove, Illinois
Phone: (708) 456-0300, Ext. 3372
The Cernan Center houses a 100-seat dome theater that features star-filled planetarium shows, wraparound films, children's shows, and laser light shows, along with a Space Hall and Star Store gift shop.

 


Theme Parks, Amusement Parks & Water Parks

Magic Waters Water Park
Located just off I-90 at the Rockford IL exit
7820 N. Cherryvale Blvd.
Cherry Valley, Illinois 61016
Phone: (800) 373-1679
Water rides, slides and pools fun for the whole family!

Raging Rivers Water Park
100 Palisades Parkway
Grafton, Illinois 62037
Phone: (618)786-2345
Water rides, slides and pools fun for the whole family!

Six Flags Great America
542 N Route 21 (located midway between Chicago and Milwaukee)
Gurnee, Illinois 60031
Phone: (847) 249-4636
Six Flags Great America has not one, not two, but 11 world class coasters! With over 40 amazing rides, plus spectacular shows and attractions.  For the kids there's Looney Tunes National Park, a gigantic area filled with so much for the kids to climb and ride!  Looney Tunes Lodge with an interactive "foam ball combat zone" for kids and parents, featuring thousands of foam balls for shooting, catapulting, throwing, dropping, blasting and more!  And, Looney Tooter, a small-gauge choo-choo train for kids and parents, that passes notable landmarks like Mount Toon-more.

KiddieLand
KiddieLand
8400 West N. Ave
Melrose Park, Illinois 60160
Phone: (708) 343-8000
Kiddieland offers fun and excitement for the entire family. Traditional favorites like the Classic 1925 Carousel and Ferris Wheel.  Thrill rides like the "Pipeline" Water Coaster and the "Log Jammer" flume ride. Kiddieland also offers plenty of kiddie rides just for the little ones.

CoCo Key Water Resort
The Clock Tower Resort
7801 E. State Street
Rockford, Illinois 61108-2721
Phone: (815) 398-6000
One of Illinois’ largest indoor waterparks, CoCo Key Water Resort is located at the Clock Tower Resort in Rockford, IL. CoCo Key offers a giant tube and body flumes, Dip-In Theater, activity pool, indoor/outdoor Jacuzzi, family restaurants, a state-of-the-art video arcade, and more!

 


Family Activities

If you know of a family activity in Illinois, let us know and we will add it here.

 


Summer - Family Vacation Hot Spots (Beaches, Lakes, etc.)

Rockome Gardens
125 N Co Rd 425 E
Arcola, Illinois 61910
Phone: 217-268-4106
Rockome is known for its beautiful gardens and rock formations. The park spans over 200 acres, most of which is comprised of natural prairie and native crops. Nestled in the heart of gentle rolling hills and rivers, the area is teaming with wildlife; from the native flora and fauna to big range stock such as deer, elk and buffalo. You can fish in the pond, have a picnic, go kayaking, horseback riding and more.

Lincoln Home National Historic Site
426 South Seventh St.
Springfield, Illinois
Phone: (217) 492-4241 ex.221
Take a tour of the two-story home of Abraham Lincoln, the only home he ever owned. The house was constructed in 1839 as a 1 1/2-story cottage. Abraham and Mary Lincoln lived here from 1844 until Mr. Lincoln's election to the Presidency in 1861.

The Hancock Observatory
875 North Michigan Avenue
Chicago, Illinois
Phone: (888) 875-VIEW (8439)
Located atop John Hancock Center, the Hancock Observatory is a "must see" for visitors to Chicago.  Take a tour of the new high-tech one-of-a-kind offerings that will elevate your senses and send your spirits soaring.  The new open-air Skywalk -- 94 floors and over 1,000 feet above the ground -- offers breathtaking views of the city, Lake Michigan and surrounding states.  The new Soundscopes at The Hancock Observatory would impress even Mr. Spock. These new talking telescopes allow visitors to actually hear about the sites that they are viewing in a choice of four languages (English, French, Spanish and Japanese).

Carlyle Lake - Sailing, fishing, swimming and camping.  50 miles east of St. Louis on U.S. Route 50.

Kinkaid Lake - Fishing, swimming and camping.  This 8 mile long lake is located in the Shawnee National Forest off Illinois State Route 3 about 7 miles west of Murphysboro.

Lake Shelbyville - Beach, golfing, fishing, swimming and camping.  Located 67 miles southwest of Champaign, 31 miles south of Decatur.

Lake Springfield - Fishing, skiing, swimming and picnicking.  This 7.3 mile long lake is located in Springfield Illinois off Interstate 55.

Little Grassy Lake - Camping and boating.  Located on the east side of Grant City State Park (which is on the far southwestern tip of the lake). Pine Ridge and Cedar Point Camps lie off the eastern shoreline. This lake is known to have great fishing. Located off State Route 12 and 24 southeast of Carbondale.
 

Zoos, Museums, National Parks, Theme, Amusement and Water Parks listed above.  During summer months the Winter Vacation spots listed below also offer mountain biking, golfing and other activities.  Visit the Ski resort area links below to find out summer activities.

 


Winter - Family Vacation Hot Spots (Ski Resorts, etc.)

Villa Olivia Country Club (Golf, Skiing and Banquet facilities)
Route 20 & Naperville Road
Bartlett, Illinois 60103
Phone: (630) 289-1000
The ski operation currently offers 12 lighted downhill runs serviced by one four-person chair lift and six tow rope lifts. The ski facility offers skiing, snowboarding and tubing.  The Villa Olivia is the ideal family facility for the beginner just learning and also has some areas for the more advanced skier.  The facility has complete ski snowmaking machines, snow grooming vehicles, cross-country trails, ski equipment rentals, a great ski school and clubhouse facility.

Chestnut Mountain Resort
8700 West Chestnut Rd
Galena, Illinois 61036
Phone: (800) 397-1320
17 downhill runs; Longest run of 3,500 feet (more than 1/2 mile); Vertical drop of 475 feet; Two quad and three triple chairlifts; Three surface lifts; The Far Side ski & snowboard park.  They offer a wonderful daycare center called the "Powder Playcare", which features a "romper room", a soothing nap area with cribs, cozy beds, and a central area for registration and play activities.  Advanced reservations are suggested for daycare.  There are also numerous summer activities; click here for the summer website.

Ski Snowstar Winter Sports Park
9500 126th St. W.
Taylor Ridge, Illinois 61284
Phone: (800) 383-4002
Snowstar is a great family skiing facility with 20 acres of skiable terrain designed for various levels of skill, tubing area and ski schools.  Every member of your family or group can find something to enjoy.

Raging Buffalo Snowboard Park
Located on Illinois RT. 31 on the Mc Henry-Kane County border, between Algonquin & Carpentersville, 1-1/2 miles South of RT.62, 3-1/2 miles North of Rt.72. Just 7 miles North of I90, on the bank of the Fox River.
Phone: (847) 836-RAGE
With two rope tows, a half pipe, kickers, table tops and gaps, the "Rage" has the best to offer with weekday, weekend & holiday (full & half) rates to fit any budget. Season passes available also.  A full line of rental equipment to gear up anyone from beginner to expert . And a staff of experienced instructors to get you riding in no time.

 


Helpful websites and services

Chicago O'Hare airport - comprehensive real time flight information on arrivals, departures and delays, terminals and maps, parking, transportation, directions, food and shopping, hotels, etc.

 

If you know of a website or company that is helpful to families traveling to Illinois, let us know and we will add it here.

 


Travel Specials & Vacation Packages

Expedia.com
(specials are updated weekly)

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