What Is Chicagolond Some of the most renowned attractions in Chicago are actually located in area's just beyond Downtown Chicago. Use this interactive map to locate attractions and see where your favorites are located to assist you in your trip planning.

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Summertime Family Fun

9 Things to Do With Your Kids in the Chicago Area This Summer

School's out! It's that time of the year for summer family vacations and weekend getaways, and there's no better place to go for a fun trip with the kids than the Chicago area. Loaded with family-friendly attractions with roller coaster rides and nature trails, the metro area has a number of things to do for you and your family. Here are some of the best things to do in the Chicago area with your kids this summer.

Six Flags Great America1. Six Flags Great America
Located in the town of Gurnee 45 minutes north of Chicago. From coasters to characters to spectacular shows, a nighttime parade and water park fun, Six Flags is a great vacation destination for the whole family. Children can enjoy the park's Camp Cartoon characters such as Bugs Bunny, Yogi Bear and Scooby Doo, and kids and adults can face their fears on 15 thrill-seeking roller coasters or more kid-friendly rides like Buccaneer Battle and the Columbia Carousel. New in 2017, The Joker free-fly coaster sends riders on maniacal twists and turns, or ride Goliath - one of the world's tallest, steepest and fastest wooden coasters or try Justice League: Battle for Metropolis - a 4D interactive thrill ride. Batman fans will enjoy The Dark Knight Coaster, where families can chase the Joker in an abandoned subway or ride the comic hero's signature roller coaster. Six Flags is also home to Hurricane Harbor, an on-site waterpark featuring water slides, a massive wave pool and Skull Island, a large interactive play structure - perfect for a warm summer day!

2. Chicago Botanic Garden
Chicago Botanic Garden
A family favorite, the Model Railroad Garden features 18 model G-scale (garden-scale) trains running on 18 tracks that pass 50 miniature American landmarks and traverse 26 bridges. The garden area surrounding the tracks is home to 5,000 plants (including annuals) in more than 300 different varieties are in this garden. The annual Butterflies & Blooms exhibit is one of the summer favorites year after year. The exhibit allows visitors to step into a butterfly habitat and be surrounded by live butterflies from South America, Asia, North America and Africa. Also popular are the Nature Nights activities like Colors from Nature, Aquatic Adventure, and Ready, Set, Garden. Families enjoy strolling the garden on foot or via tram to view the Japanese Garden, the English Walled Garden, the Waterfall Garden and the Plant Science Center just to name a few. Enjoy an enchanting one-hour musical performance of carillon bells on a warm summer evening and watch lights illuminate Evening Island. The Chicago Botanic Garden is always one of the most popular destinations for families every year, and is open seven days a week, 365 days a year, for activities, nature walks and more.

Arlington International Racecourse3. Arlington International Racecourse
Put on your fancy hats and bowties for a day of live Thoroughbred racing at Arlington International Racecourse in Arlington Heights. Memorial Day through Labor Day, the entire family can enjoy Arlington International with Family Day Sunday. The Junior Jockey Zone is the perfect host for your family with a petting zoo, pony rides, bounce house and more. Don't miss out on an opportunity for your child to Design Their Own Silks - selected winners will be back at Arlington in September to receive their custom silks and watch as a jockey races around Arlington wearing their design.

4. Starved Rock State Park
Starved Rock State Park
Starved Rock State Park is another fantastic natural attraction in the Chicago area. A quick look at the park's variety of activities gives you a pretty good idea why. Visitors can hike the park's 13 miles of trails, many of which cross paths with impressive waterfalls active during the rainy spring season. It's a fantastic place to go birding and view wildlife like deer and rabbits. To extend your visit at this oasis, reserve an overnight stay at the Lodge, a historic cabin-style inn located on its grounds. And why hike when you can horseback through the forest? The park also offers guided tours to trail ride for up to five miles. Regular events at Starved Rock include Friday and Saturday night concerts, historic trolley tours, photography excursions, waterfall tours, and paint and wine classes.

The Morton Arboretum5. The Morton Arboretum
The Morton Arboretum's 1700-acre oasis of magnificent trees and colorful gardens is open 365 days a year with engaging activities, classes and events all year long. Enjoy The Morton Arboretum's many leisure activities such as summer festivals, Wednesday, Woods and Wine, Thursday Family Nights, Theatre-Hikes that combine plays with hiking, concerts, guided tours, 14 miles of hiking trails, or try to find your way to the center of the one-acre Maze Garden, where a 12-foot-high platform encircles a large sycamore tree. Be sure not to miss the awarding-winning Children's Garden - one of the largest of its kind with four acres of trees, shrubs, aquatic plants and play spaces - it is one of the best and most unique outdoor destinations for children in the Chicagoland area. Check the Arboretum's schedule to see special ticketed events happening throughout the year, including Wine Tasting and a Craft Beer Festival.

Richardson Farm6. Richardson Farm
Get lost in a cornfield maze at Richardson Farm, the world's largest corn-maze destination with 33 acres of mazes to explore. Families can split up and compete to be the first one to solve the maze by reaching the exit. Other visitor favorites at Richardson Farm include pig racing, ziplining and orb rides, which send people racing down hills while strapped inside 11-foot inflatable balls. The farm has a number of special events during the year, especially during Halloween and the winter holidays.

7. Dinosaurs in Elgin
Dinosaurs have taken over the Gail Borden Public Library in downtown Elgin! Standing at 33-feet tall, Jobaria, greets guests as they enter the library and creates memories for all dinosaur enthusiasts. The exhibit continues throughout the whole building with interactive displays and educational pieces. Gail Borden Public Library is located right off of the Fox River Bike Trail in Elgin and makes for a perfect stop for trail riders exploring the over 60 miles of nature. During the winter, they even loan out binoculars so guests can watch the eagles soar over the Fox River. Stop in for a day of free entertainment.

8. HITS Chicago Series
HITS Chicago Series
Why wait for the Kentucky Derby to get your thrills with horses? Now you can be a part of history when the first show jumping facility comes to the Midwest. Long gone are the days of harness racing at Balmoral Park. HITS, Inc. is turning the once historic venue into the premier Midwestern equestrian show jumping facility. With 12 competition rings and a schedule that lasts from May - September, HITS Balmoral Park is the place to be to see magnificent creatures put to the test. The equestrian fun doesn't just stop at show jumping. HITS, Inc. will also bring Show Hunting to the Chicago Southland. Show hunters, ideally, show many qualities that were rewarded in the fox hunting field such as manners, fluid movement and correct jumping style. For more information on HITS Balmoral Park, please visit HitsShows.com.

Brookfield Zoo9. Brookfield Zoo
Meet the polar bears and gorillas at Brookfield Zoo, one of the Chicago area's favorite places to visit. The zoo has a noteworthy collection of exotic animals including giraffes, hyenas and big cats. It also offers hands-on experiences like petting tarantulas and snakes (with a trained zoologist, of course). Families can explore the grounds at their own pace, but they can also plan to catch the Dolphins in Action show or other pre-scheduled activities. During the summer, Brookfield Zoo hosts Summer Nights, where the park stays open late and features live music and laser light shows. Check the zoo's calendar to view the upcoming acts. Also coming this summer is a new Festival of Flight bird show and a Hamill Family Wild Encounters three-acre exhibit with a number of opportunities to touch and feed animals like parakeets, wallabies and goats.

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