19 answers

Looking for Fun Things to Do with My 18 Month Old

I just moved to Elmhurst from Phoenix, AZ. Does anyone know of any fun activities around here to do with my 18 month old daughter? I was thinking of going to the Shedd Aquarium this weekend, but would like some ideas closer to home as well. Thanks in advance!

T.

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How about the Brookfield Zoo? My kids were raised on it and love it till this day. There's a petting zoo inside, everything you need to eat or drink nd the largest assortment of animals in one place you can imagine. Have a ball.

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How about Pirates' Cove in Elk Grove, IL? Actually not sure how much longer they are open this year, but it is like an outdoor amusement park for little ones. Not too big, lots of rides for younger kids. It is $9/kid and parents are free.

Indoors, I think there is a DuPage childrens' museum (I've not been to it) and we really like the Kohl Childrens' Museum in Glenview. They have all these activity areas, and in each one there is a special area sectioned off for younger babies. We have enjoyed going there since our daughter was about 1, we have the membership where you can use your card at a bunch of other museums including Navy Pier and possibly dupage.

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I live in Villa Park (next to Elmhurst) and there is lots to do. I have a Childrens Museum membership which covers Dupage, Kohls, Wonderworks and more - all great for $110 per year, I think. Brookfield Zoo is great. In Elmhurst, I like Wilder Park and Berens (The Hub) has a cute splash pad that closes on Monday. It is only $2 each and really cute at that age. The libraries have lots going on. The park district does too! There is also Jumps N Jiggles in Elk Grove that is a little drive but really cute for that age.

I also organize a local moms group which is fun. Anyone can check it out at www.myplaytimes.com Welcome to the area!

take her to cosley zoo in wheaton...great place!!!

Grab your bikes and go for rides (or even just walks) on the Prairie Path.
Get your daughter a library card & get board books or puppets that you can play with together.
Have a BBQ in the park.
Take her to the Morton Arboretum & teach her about trees and flowers.
Utilize your park district facilities (parks, pools, etc.)
I could go on for days! :)

We became members of Brookfield Zoo when my daughter turned 2. I live in Villa Park, one town over from you so it's only 15-20 mins away. Not only does my daughter love to see the animals, but there's a carousel and parks she can play on. We only stay for about 2 hours, which is nice about the membership - you don't feel like you have to stay for hours to justify the entry and parking costs. She absolutely loves it. In the wintertime, I take her to Pump It Up in Elmhurst (off Lake St. where Rt. 83 intersects). She loves that too - there's also Monkey Island in Melrose Park, which is a similar concept as Pump It Up (indoor inflatables) only this one is much larger with a climbing gym and there are no hour limits (at Pump It Up, you can only go to "Open Jump" T-W-Th from 9:30am - 11am.). You could try the Morton Arboretum but my daughter didn't really take to that very well. Finally, Elmhurst has fantastic activities with their park district for toddlers. I signed up my daughter for their baby gymnastics class but they have art and music classes and the facilities are really wonderful. Lastly, you could also join your local YMCA - we belong to the one in Glen Ellyn (though there is one in Elmhurst) and my daughter has been attending swim class since she was 6 months.

I hope that helps!

How about the Brookfield Zoo? My kids were raised on it and love it till this day. There's a petting zoo inside, everything you need to eat or drink nd the largest assortment of animals in one place you can imagine. Have a ball.

Kohl's Children Museum in Glenview IL

There is the DuPage County Children's Museum in Naperville. It's just north of the downtown area on Washington. Lots of hands on activites and fun for kids. My son just turned 2 and has been dozens of times and has fun each time. Here is their website: www.dupagechildrensmusuem.org. There is also the Cosley Zoo in Wheaton on Gary Ave (www.cosleyzoo.org). Definitely not as large as Brookfield Zoo or Lincoln Park Zoo but fun for younger kids. The other suggestion, a farther drive from Elmhurt, is the Kohl's Childrens Museum (www.kohlchildrensmuseum.org) up in Glenview. Very hands on and just wonderful for young kids. I feel it's worth drive and is a little bit better than the DuPage County one.

Good Luck!

T.,

Welcome to the area! I second all of the close-by ideas from everyone. I am a big advocate for exploring nature early with kids. I LOVE Shedd Aquarium - they are closed a few days next week but have a great program called Tots on Tuesdays - programs normally offered for general guests get a TOTS spin on Tuesdays. Starting on Sept. 5th there will be a new play area that promotes exploring the outdoors in an indoors setting with lots of live animal encounters.

May I also suggest some FREE opportunities - check out th Forest Preserve District of DuPage County's website (www.dupageforest.com) for nature centers in the area. Two of our favorites are Fullersburg Woods (in Oak Brook Terrace - just north of Ogden avenue - take York Road south) and Willowbrook Wildlife Center (in Glen Ellyn - take Roosevelt Road west to Park Ave - a mile east of Rte.53). Both centers have great trails for stroller walks. FBW has a visitors center with a big tree and birds nest to play in. WWC has opportunities for live animal encounters and fosters an early sense of care for animals (they are a rescue/rehab facility for many native animals).

Have fun!

Mama M. in Lombard

I would absolutely recommend Brookfield Zoo. We got a membership as a Christmas gift and went about every 2 weeks for a while. My son was 6 months old when we started going and enjoyed it from the start!
Cosley Farm and Willowbrook Wildlife Center (Glen Ellyn)are good options too.
WonderWorks in Oak Park is ok, but be prepared that it's not exactly like a museum you'd expect..They have a stage and dress up clothes, a train table and lots of different kinds of blocks, an art room (may not be age appropriate here), a farm to market section- lots of pretend food toys and a conveyer belt thing that they can turn, and a tree play area. It's in walking distance for us, but I would definetly think twice if I had to drive there.
If you want to go all the way downtown, the children's museum there is great, as is the Shedd and the Museum of Science and Industry might be an option, but I haven't been there in years. Have Fun!

Hi T., and welcome to the neighborhood! I actually asked this same question a couple months ago, because some of my friends at church had started a Big Brother / Big Sister -type program for the children of single parents, and new to the area themselves, they asked for suggestions. You've received alot of great suggestions, many of which I take my grandchildren to frequently (we live very close to Cosley Zoo, and we absolutely love Morton Arboretum!). One of the suggestions I received when I was looking was to check out www.oakleesguide.com. It's got some incredible recommendations!

Have fun!

There is a wonderful park in Westmont (only about 15 min from Elmhurst) It is Ty Warner park, they have a splash pad for the kids and a sand play area, water fountain, fields, playgrounds, icecream stand. It is huge and so much fun. It is free except the splash pad is $4.00 for kids and free for adults. It is in an industrial park area near the corner of Cass ave an Ogden ave behind the jewel on the northeast corner, there is a website too! My daugher loves it!

Cathy

Morton Arboretum in Lisle has a wonderful Children's Garden. They have a website. It's right of of 88 so not too far from you.

*Brookfield Zoo
*Cosley Zoo in Wheaton
*DuPage Children's Museum in Naperville
*Last Fling is going on in Naperville this weekend(there's a website that can tell you more about it)
*Ty Warner Park in Westmont has a great Splash Park and Playground

Personally I'd avoid any of the downtown attractions...too many tourists and long lines on a holiday weekend!

If you go to town center, in Elmhurst at Elmhurst bank as far as I know of, they have lists of things to do in your area. They have little local papers. Maybe someone could direct you to these. (I bank there and pick them up). Elmhurst is a family oriented community and there are really a lot things going on. I don't know where you live in Elmhurst, but the town center is by Schiller street and York road. There are a lot of little shops there and they are very nice. Hope you enjoy our area!

Welcome, T.! A Brookfield Zoo membership will be a great investment. In the winter I used to go a couple of times a month with my toddler and just hang out in the Family Play Zoo.

I also like Wonderworks, as someone else recommended. It's not flashy and exciting like some of the big children's museums but kids love it.

Millennium Park is also nice in the nice weather - there are lots of activities for kids, and of course the fountains to splash in (don't forget a suit or change of clothes.)

The aquarium is great, but it's kind of a hassle to go if you don't have a membership because the lines can be long. But you probably don't want to buy a membership now because their oceanarium renovation is starting next week. If you do go this weekend, get there before opening time to avoid long lines. The Field museum is also nice and they have a new children's area that's free with admission.

Welcome to Elmhurst! We moved to Elmhurst two years ago and our kids love it.

You will love the Children's Garden at the Mortum Arboretum. I was just there with my girlfriend and her two kids and we had a great time.

I agree that a membership to the Brookfield Zoo is worth the investment. I also have a membership to the Dupage Children's Museum in Naperville. There is the Kohl's museum in Glenview as well.

There is Kiddieland - I think it is Melrose Park but I am not sure.

The Elmhurst Park District has a ton of stuff. A couple times of week (usually Tues and Friday) they have this great open gym that my son loves!

Sept 6th there is a yearly event "Touch a Truck" The village brings in a ton of vehicles, machines and the kids climb all over them and have a blast. My son can't wait.

The Elmhurst library has a fabulous kids section and a ton of kids events. We are there a lot.

Again, welcome. Get out and enjoy the many, many parks in Elmhurst too. They are very well maintained.

There is a program called Bear Foot Fun and Fitness, I think it is through the Elmhurst Park District. It is like a little Gymnastics gym for tots. There are open hours and I would guess there are structured classes. I took my twins when they were about 20 months and they loved it

Hi T.,

You've already received great recommendations for many of my favorite places. My particular favorite is the Morton Arboretum - fabulous! For ongoing ideas of things to do with your daughter, please check out my website, www.kidwinks.com. We have an events calendar, a restaurant calendar to find out where kids eat free on each day, as well as ongoing activities (museums, pools, etc.), shops and services. We include everything from library and park district activities to museums and amusement parks. Members write reviews and rank the businesses, too, so you can read what other moms think about many of the places. Kiddieland is also a really great place. In fact, kidwinks.com is going to be running a series of contest drawings through the month of September to win 2-4 tickets to Kiddieland! We also send out a twice-weekly email to our subscribers with links to upcoming events. This email has been VERY positively received by moms who love that we do the research for them on "What should I do with my kids today?". Check us out! Membership and newsletter subscriptions are free!

There is a "museum" in Oak Park on North Ave. I think it is around Ridgeland. It is called Wonderworks. It is aimed toward the toddler age and pretty inexpensive.

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