Inexpensive Outings

Updated on March 04, 2009
J.T. asks from Elmhurst, IL
7 answers

Hi girls, the kids are so bored being stuck in the house. Does anymone have any suggestions on where we could take them that's not too expensive. Or if there was some where the kids really, really enjoyed? Mine are 6 1/2, 3 1/2, & 1. Thanks

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answers from Chicago on

I am not sure where you live, but here are our favorites.

My family loves to visit a lot of local park districts’ nature centers. Most are free and some offer special programs (for a fee) occasionally. Many have indoor activity areas perfect for winter use.

Red Oak Nature Center
Batavia, IL
Small animal room, activity (puzzles, books, puppets) room, silly mirror room, underground room, etc. Hike outside to overlook on the Fox River or to the “cave.”

Cosley Zoo
Wheaton, IL
Lots of farm animals and wild animals. Feed the ducks (for a fee) in the spring/summer.

Willowbrook Wildlife Center
Glen Ellyn, IL
Animal exhibits inside and out. Play area inside with coloring, puppets, etc.

Kline Creek Farm
Winfield, IL
Outdoor area to see animals. Highlight is baby lambs in January/February.

Peck Farm
Geneva, IL
Old house has activity room with books, stuffed animals and some small animals. Old silo can be climbed to get a view of the area. Old barn has a video. Summer they have a butterfly house.

Tekakwitha Woods
St. Charles, IL
Nature center has awesome exhibits, books/puzzles, bird watching and bee watching areas, small animals. Neat trails lead to Fox River.

Lakeview Nature Center
Oakbrook Terrace, IL
Nature center with animals and activities. Paddleboats in the summer on certain days. Fishing available by rental. Playground area is shaded for great summer fun.

Graue Mill & Museum
Hinsdale, IL
Cool tours and museum. FEE.

Fullersburg Woods and Nature Center
Hinsdale, IL
Neat nature center with tree house, small animals, bird watching area.

Charlestown Mall
St. Charles, IL
Their carousel is $1 per child (over age 1) and parents do NOT have to pay to ride. The play area in the center is great and since the mall's first floor is pretty empty, it's a great place to let the kids run safely in the winter.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Not sure on what the height limit is but Yorktown mall has a train and little indoor playground for kids. You get 6 rides on the train for $5 or $1/ride. I usually get one card (6 rides for $5) for the two kids and 3 rides each seem to be enough before they want to play in the playground which is free.



answers from Chicago on

Well considering I work at the local bowling center I am going to tell you take them bowling! Everyone can bowl including you. Thursday's are $1 days. $1 for bowling games, shoes, hotdogs, and sodas. Otherwise you can visit and sign up for great money saving coupons. Regardless of weather you can always go bowling.



answers from Chicago on

Well, there is a Kids Expo this weekend at the Renaissance Schaumburg. I believe you can look it up on line at chicago kids expo. I plan to attempt to take mine tomorrow. There is a coupon for $1 off adult admission also. I think kids 3 and up are $5, adults are $10. Another option when it is not too bad out is Brookfield Zoo. Chekc with your public library to see what kind of passes they might have available for Chicago museums. Also, there is Wonderworks museum in Oak Park on North Ave. I think it is something like $5. They too have a website.



answers from Chicago on

The Petco suggestion is right on. You could literally spend an hour in there checking out the different animals.

Another option would be the mall. Inside, isn't cold, should have a play area, totally free, other kids around.

Do this in the morning and follow it up with lunch at a restaurant that does a 'kids eat free' day. Talk about inexpensive!



answers from Chicago on

The downtown museums have a free day each week. Check the websites of the Field, Art Institute, Shedd to find out what day. You should post where you live so we could make some more suggestions about "finds" in our neighborhoods.



answers from Chicago on

Thanks for posting... I hope to get some ideas from here as well.

Recently, I took my kids to a pet store... just your local PetCo/Petsmart. They loved it. You can watch dogs who are in there for grooming. They have all sorts of other pets - Rabbits, guinea pigs, mice, birds, lots and lots of fish and turtles - even a reptile area (we saw some snakes/frogs/etc). It was a lot of fun. You can easily spend an hour or more there. Read up on some animal facts and you can make this a learning experience. My kids want to go there all the time now :)

Enjoy your outings.


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