Easy Outing: Cantigny in Wheaton

Wednesday, Jun 20th, 2012 by

Cantigny has a military museum, formal gardens and a golf course. It also regularly hosts all sorts of special events and classes, many that appeal to families, such as concerts, an Easter egg hunt, outdoor movies, an Independence Day celebration and more. It also has a playground and tanks that Chicago-area children have been climbing on for generations. However you categorize it, Cantigny is a gem in Chicago’s western suburbs.

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Easy Crafts: Get Creative With Cardboard Boxes

Tuesday, Apr 10th, 2012 by

Thanks so much to my friend Annie at {Kidlist} for sharing this post with me. If you have friends or family members who live in the near west suburbs, make sure they check out her wonderful site. Annie of {Kidlist} made this train for her son’s birthday out of cardboard boxes. Photo courtesy of {Kidlist}.Kids love playing in cardboard boxes. It ignites their creativity and gives them a place to call their own. The problem is, who buys something huge like a stove all the time? I decided to make a cardboard train (pictured here) for my son Elliott’s birthday a couple years ago … yeah, it was probably too elaborate, but I had fun doing it. The kids would have had just as much fun if it was a plain brown box and they had the opportunity to draw on it!  When I started the project I called so […]

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Indoor Play: Hickory Knolls Discovery Center in St. Charles

Monday, Nov 14th, 2011 by

Hickory Knolls Discovery Center in St. Charles features live animal displays, an indoor turtle pond, a giant rabbit, a teepee, canoe, coloring station and a large room that can be rented for special events (and is good for letting energetic kids blow off steam!) The St. Charles Park District offers a number of programs at Hickory Knolls, too, but they do require advance registration. It also hosts birthday parties and a nature-themed preschool.

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Easy Outing: Santa’s Village AZoosment Park in East Dundee

Tuesday, Aug 23rd, 2011 by

Santa’s Village was a theme part that operated in East Dundee starting in 1959. It eventually closed down, but was renovated and re-opened several years ago by a new owner. It now features carnival rides for smaller children; a petting zoo; a walk-through aviary; pony rides; horse sleigh ride; exotic animal show, etc. There is a picnic pavilion and picnic tables throughout the park. Concessions are available at several locations.

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Easy Outing: Fox River Trolley Museum in South Elgin

Tuesday, Jul 12th, 2011 by

The Fox River Trolley Museum is devoted to the electric trolley cars that once connected towns and cities all over the country. The museum owns about two dozen trolley cars and other pieces of railroad equipment, all in various stages of renovation, and as part of your visit, you can take a ride on one of the trolleys.

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Easy Outing: Randall Oaks Barnyard Zoo in West Dundee

Tuesday, May 24th, 2011 by

The Randall Oaks Barnyard Zoo is how I picture the primary setting in “Charlotte’s Web.” There’s a charming red and white wooden barn. The barnyard houses goats, sheep and horses. A massive pig lives in a stall inside the barn – and I’m sure there are a few spiders as well! The barnyard zoo is located in Randall Oaks Park, which is just a lovely, 140-acre park located on Randall Road about 2 1/2 miles north of I-90.

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Easy Outing: Red Oak Nature Center in North Aurora

Tuesday, Jan 25th, 2011 by

The Red Oak Nature Center, part of the Fox Valley Park District, has been around for more than 30 years, and it definitely reminded me of the kinds of places I’d visit on field trips as a kid. Rather than computers or touch screens you’ll find old-school interactive exhibits – like a wall puzzle of a flower’s parts, or a “Touch Table” featuring fur pelts, feathers, turtle shells, pine cones and fossils. It is open year-round, and it offers free admission.

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