You’ve been to the pool every day this summer and are getting sick of the smell of chlorine and the daily rinsing and drying of swimsuits and beach towels. If you don’t find something new to do with the kids, you’re all going to go crazy! But everything is so expensive! Or is it? One of the many benefits of living in Elmhurst and the surrounding communities is the proximity to Chicago and to many local suburbs with a great deal of free or low-cost attractions.
Museum Adventure Pass
Did you know you can get free passes or discounts for local attractions through the library? Simply check out the Museum Adventure Pass at the Elmhurst Public Library. There are limitations, of course, like date restrictions and a one-pass-per-family rule. Check out the rules online. Your Adventure Pass gets you these great deals:
- Air Classics Inc Museum of Aviation, Sugar Grove – buy one, get one free
- Bronzeville Children’s Museum, Chicago – buy one, get one free
- Brookfield Zoo – 2 people get in free
- Cantigny Park, Wheaton – 1 car gets in free
- Chicago Botanic Garden, Glencoe – 1 car at half-off per pass
- The Children’s Museum, Oak Lawn – buy one, get one free
- Illinois Railway Museum, Union – buy one, get one free
- Lake County Discovery Museum, Wauconda – 2 people get in free
- Legoland Discovery Center, Schaumburg – buy one, get one free
- Naper Settlement, Naperville – buy one, get two free
- And more!
Passport to Adventure
Check out the Passport to Adventure program. Passports provide details about local museums and attractions. They can be picked up at the library. Children can have their passports stamped and will receive prizes from some of the participating locations. The passport provides details about the venues, including hours and costs. Many of the locations are free and many others simply request a small donation.
Free Places to Go
- Bartlett Depot Museum. This museum is a great destination for young train enthusiasts. In addition to learning more about trains through hands-on activities and exhibits, children can also play with the train table, read railroad books, and assemble train puzzles.
- Red Oak Nature Center, Batavia. Located in a forest on the Fox River, the nature center features exhibits about local plants and animals, including live animals and a new turtle pond. Use the hiking and biking trails to reach Devil’s Cave.
- Elmhurst Historical Museum. The museum is currently featuring Shutter to Think: The Rock & Roll Lens of Paul Natkin, the music scene from the 1970’s to today. Check out the air guitar mini-stage, kids’ activity guide, and more.
- Elmhurst Art Museum. This award-winning modern museum has art galleries, an education center, and outdoor sculpture. Only Fridays are free.
- The McDonald Farm, Naperville. The Conservation Foundation offers a free self-guided tour of their educational site. They feature water, butterfly, and rain gardens, rain barrels, and rainwater harvesting systems to model onsite sustainable landscaping and water-conservation techniques.
- Fullersburg Woods Nature Education Center, Hinsdale. End your hike through the forest preserve in the child-friendly, hands-on exhibit area featuring DuPage County wildlife.
- Sumner House Museum, Roselle. The Sumner Houes features a general store, barbershop, blacksmith shop, old toys, military room, and Children’s Discovery Room.
- Hickory Knolls Discovery Center, St Charles. This nature area features hiking trails, an indoor turtle pool, interactive murals, and live animals.
- Creek Bend Nature Center, St Charles. End your hike through the trails at the discovery area where children can assemble puzzles, read books, and put on puppet shows.
- Centreville School, West Dundee. Show the kids what it was like to go to school in 1884 by visiting this restored one-room school house.
- William L Gregg House, Westmont. Recreate the toys from years past at this interactive historical site.
Free Days for Chicago Atttractions
- Art Institute of Chicago. Free for Illinois residents from 5 to 8pm on Thursdays. Kids 13 and under free any time.
- Chicago Children’s Museum. Free for kids 15 and under from 5 to 8pm on Thursdays and the first Sunday of every month.
- Chicago History Museum. Free July 4, 2013.
- Museum of Contemporary Art. Free Tuesdays 10am to 8pm. Children 12 and under free every day.
- Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum. Free to Illinois residents every Thursday. Children under 3 free every day.
Put the swim suits and beach towels away for a day and see the sites before the kids are back in school! And check out LW Reedy’s Community Links for links to all the sites in Elmhurst.