Finding ways to enjoy this weather? You know it will be a L-O-N-G time before we see a stretch like this again so I hope you are taking every possible advantage of it. It’s supposed to stay gorgeous through Tuesday, so there is still time to take those lessons outside, grab a good book (or science class . . .) and picnic at the park, plan a spontaneous field trip, bike ride, or let your kids decide. Of course, lots of schools are off for an extra long weekend, so you won’t have the place to yourself like usual, but you can’t complain when it’s 75 in October in Chicago.
What are you planning or already done to enjoy these days?
If you need a few ideas . . .
- Grab your library card! Not to actually check out books, although that would be fine, too — rather to use the Museum Adventure Pass. These can get you into some great outdoor spots:
Chicago Botanic Garden
With its world-renowned plant collections and displays, it is one of the country’s most visited public gardens and preeminent center for learning and scientific research.
1000 Lake Cook Road
Glencoe IL, 60022
Hours: 8 am – sunset, everyday. Extended hours early June – Labor Day 7 am to 9 pm. Christmas Eve – close at 3pm.
Admits 1 Vehicle – Limited to one car per use. No commercial vans or buses
Brookfield Zoo (Chicago Zoological Society)
A world leader in animal care, conservation, and education, Brookfield Zoo is celebrating 75 years of fun this year!
First Ave. and 31st St.
Brookfield IL, 60503
Hours: Jan. 1: Daily 10 to 5; April 4: Weekdays 10 to 5, Weekends 10 to 6; Memorial Day thru Labor Day: Daily 9:30 to 6 (7:30 pm on Sundays); After Labor Day: Weekdays 10 to 6, Weekends 10 to 6; October 25: Daily 10 to 5.
Admits 2 (Passes are valid for Brookfield Zoo only and does not include parking or admission to any internal exhibits or attractions, such as Dolphin Show, Butterfiles Children’s Zoo, Temporary exhibits, Motor Safari, etc.)
In addition to vast formal gardens and picnic and camping grounds, Cantigny offers two history-rich museums: the Robert R. McCormick Museum and the Cantigny First Division Museum, fascinating for children and researchers alike.
1S151 Winfield Road
Wheaton IL, 60189
Hours: 10am – 5pm (Memorial Day – Labor Day); 10am – 4pm (Labor Day – Memorial Day): Closed December 24, 25 and 31 and all of January.
Admits 1 vehicle – Limited to one car per use.
Two others that are only partially outdoors, but both are situated on land with walking trails as well:
Graue Mill and Museum
An operating water wheel gristmill and homestead dedicated to maintaining a bridge between past and present.
3800 York Road
Oak Brook IL, 60523
Hours: Open in 2010 through November 14. Tuesday though Sunday 10am to 4:30pm. Mill closed for the winter season. Reopening on April 12, 2011 through end of program.
Admits 4 (2 adults and 2 children)
Lake County Discovery Museum
Offers the fun of a big city museum, close to home with its permanent and temporary exhibits including an 11-foot Mastodon and the world’s largest collection of picture postcards.
27277 N. Forest Preserve Road
Wauconda IL, 60084
Hours: Monday-Saturday, 11 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.; Sunday, 1 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Admits 2 (passes are valid for general admission only. Not valid for use during public programs and special events where special admission rates apply)
- Morton Arboretum — We just spent a memorable day here with my parents. Unfortunately it is no longer a part of the museum adventure pass program, but I would recommend it as a field trip, although not a cheap one. We were able to enjoy the day with their annual membership which also got us a free tram ride. I could fill a whole blog post with this great trip. This location used to be for gardeners and tree lovers. Not so anymore. My kids love the children’s garden and could spend all day climbing around the tree fort, the rope “spider-web,” splashing in the streams, getting lost and found in the maze, and chasing bugs. If you go — bring a change of clothes and a maybe even a towel for each of the kids if they are the adventurous sort. Also, this was my first time on the tram ride and really enjoyed it. It is an hour long (don’t know cost . . .) and gives some great tips about what you should be sure to see and do while there. If you take the ride grab a map and take notes during the tour so you will remember all the info the guide shares and where he tells you to come back and when. Great info, but no way I could retain it all.
- Klein Creek Farm: Corn Harvest, Oct. 8-10, 2011 | 10:30 am – 3:30 pm
Help to pick, shock, shuck, shell and store the corn that will feed the farm’s cows and sheep over winter. Activities ongoing. All ages. Free. Registration not required. Call (630) 876-5900.
- Lake County Forest Preserve is having a free Fall Festival: with guided walks, games and wagon rides surrounded by some of Lake County’s loveliest fall color.
Meet at Ryerson Welcome Center.
When: October 9, 2011 1:00pm – 4:00pm Where: Ryerson Conservation Area (Riverwoods)
Ryerson Woods Welcome Center (Riverwoods)
Who: All ages Cost: Free
No registration required.
Hopefully that gives you some inspiration in addition to orchards and pumpkin patches that are always fun (and mobbed) this time of year as well. Whatever you choose, enjoy making the most of these next few days!