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Strap a mask and flippers onto your imagination and chart a course to Shedd Aquarium. Have you ever seen eye-to-eye with a dolphin? Said hello to a penguin on a stroll to the South Pole? Immersed yourself in a flooded Amazon forest? Or met a friendly beluga whale? You can do it all at Shedd! Photo courtesy of the John G. Shedd Aquarium
Lincoln Park Zoo
Located in the heart of the city, the free Lincoln Park Zoo features an impressive ape house, the Farm-in-the-Zoo, a charming children’s zoo, and rides on an old-fashioned carousel. Catch ZooLights during the holidays, when the zoo features glittering light displays and seasonal family activities. The zoo was one of the locales featured in the film Return to Me.
There's more than 200 beautifully landscaped acres to explore at Brookfield Zoo. Highlights include dolphin shows at Seven Seas, ape encounters at Tropic World and the chance for kids to dress up and play veterinarian at the Hamill Family Play Zoo. The zoo also offers an old-fashioned carousel and a wide variety of shopping and dining options.
Azoosment Park at Santa's Village
Azoosment Park at Santa's Village is an amusement park/petting zoo. Unlimited pony rides and amusement rides with one paid admission.
CITY: East Dundee
Go on a one of a kind country adventure you'll never forget! Become pioneers for a day on a real 1800s farm and village. Miniature train rides, pony rides, petting zoo, pioneer craft demonstrations, and special events. In the Discovery Barn see chickens, sheep, piglets, baby goats and more.
Hardy's Reindeer Ranch
The North Pole has moved to Central Illinois. Try your luck at the 6+ acre corn maze, the Grand Prix style race track, pick a pumpkin or a Christmas tree (depending on season), stop by the fascinating gift shop and, of course, see the reindeer!
This zoo overlooking Lake Decatur is home to animals from around the world, the Z.O.&O. Express train, the Endangered Species Carousel and the Zootique Gift Shop. Family events and activities are offered regularly.
Critter Camp Exotic Pet Sanctuary
Tour Critter Camp Exotic Pet Sanctuary. Animal lovers can learn about, pet, hold and feel some of the 350 rescued animals, comprised of 30 different species. All income supports the rescued animals. Critter Camp is a non-profit, tax exempt, charitable, volunteer operated, no-kill facility that does not buy, breed, sell or exploit any animal.Personally guided tours are available seven days a week year round for up to six people per tour, but all tours are by appointment.
CITY: German Valley
Peoria Zoo at Glen Oak Park
Open year-round, the Peoria Zoo is home to more than 100 species of animals from around the world. Come see our newest members of the zoo family in Africa! From giraffes and rhinoceros to spider monkeys and lions, the Zoo is the wildest family place in town. In addition to family recreational resources, educational programming and conservation-based programs are top priorities.
Fantasea at Shedd Aquarium
Dolphins soar, belugas dance and penguins parade in Fantasea, the aquatic show at Shedd Aquarium. The marine mammal presentations showcase the natural talents and learned skills of the animals—and their trainers.
Phillips Park Zoo
Established in 1915, this free zoo is open daily, year round. Exhibits include bald eagles, wolves, mountain lions, foxes, otters, elk, goats, llamas, turkeys and peacocks.
Wild Reef: Sharks at Shedd Aquarium
See sharks glide through underwater gardens of iridescent corals and garden eels. Wander through a lagoon and mangrove forest, and visit a fishing village where residents saved their reef from destruction.
Linden Hill Farms
Come experience a working dairy farm! Milk a cow, feed the chickens, and just learn what it's like to live on a farm. Located just 8 miles from downtown Peoria. Call today to schedule your tour!
Miller Park Zoo
Miller Park Zoo is the only Illinois zoo to feature the endangered Sumatran tiger. The zoo also offers many exhibits and Zookeeper interaction opportunities that are enjoyed by the whole family. Some highlights include: sun bear, reindeer, Harbor Seals, red pandas, lemurs, Galapagos Tortoise, Bald Eagles, Pallas' Cat, Snow Leopards, gibbons, and Red Wolves. The Zoo features many large indoor and outdoor exhibits such as a Tropical America Rainforest, ZooLab, Katthoefer Animal Building, Wallaby WalkAbout, Children's Zoo, and Animals of Asia.
Abbot Oceanarium at Shedd Aquarium
The Oceanarium immerses you in the vibrant coastal ecosystem of beluga whales, Pacific white-sided dolphins, sea otters and sea lions. You’ll also find the Polar Play Zone for kids, along with marine mammal presentations.
A visit to Wagner Farm affords you the opportunity to take part in and experience first-hand the workings of a genuine American farm. Wagner Farm is an 18.6 acre farm preserved for the educational and recreational enjoyment for all. See how bread was made in a wood cook stove, hear the rooster making time with his crow or milk one of the farm’s many cows. Explore the world of agriculture and rural life as it existed in 1920-1950’s.
Henson Robinson Zoo
The Henson Robinson Zoo is home to animals native to Australia, Africa, Asia and North and South America. Over 90 species of native and exotic animals are housed here among naturalistic exhibits. Special events are held throughout the year and provide many hands-on experiences for children and adults alike. Also, take a "Zooper Edventure" with the zoo’s education programs for children ages 2 to 17. Facilities include a gift shop, concessions and a petting area.
Open August through November, come visit our farm this fall to share in our rustic culture and enjoy a taste of the season. Many varieties of apples to taste. Also available, in season, are raspberries, pumpkins, home-made goodies, and our famous apple cider donuts. Take a horse drawn ride out to the orchard to pick your own apples too. Family tradition starts here! There's a petting zoo too.
CITY: Poplar Grove
Rainbow Ranch Petting Farm
Meet the wide range of animals at this real working farm. Bottle feed kids and lambs. Pet the goats, camels, chicks, rabbits, camels and even two zebras.
Polar Play Zone at Shedd Aquarium
In the Polar Play Zone, kids can slip into a penguin suit and try being a bird in the Icy South play area. From there, head to the Icy North to explore the belugas’ Arctic waters in a kid-sized submarine. Don’t forget to shake hands—or is it arms—with colorful sea stars in the touch pools.
Lambs Farm features a farmyard with a petting area and a variety of attractions like mini-golf, a mini-train ride, cow bounce house and an Old World carousel. There is also a pet shop, the Country Inn Restaurant, a thrift shop, and a country store and bakery that benefit programs for people with developmental disabilities.
Prairie Farm features traditional farm animals such as sheep, pigs, horses, cows, goats, chickens, ducks and geese. Visitors are welcome to pet the farm’s animals in the petting area. Kids both young and old will enjoy crossing the footbridge that spans the farm’s miniature duck pond. Prairie Farm also offers educational programs and private party services. Open Memorial Day through Labor Day; Hours: Daily 1:00–7:00 p.m.; Free! (fee for trolley ride and some programs)
Round Barn Farm and Museum
This 94-acre farm features picnic and recreational areas, antique farm equipment, a petting zoo, pony rides and barrel train rides. In fall find a pumpkin patch, haunted barn and pig races.
Adventure Creek Alpaca & Goldendoodle Farm
Come and visit the Netzel's prized alpaca farm! The alpacas are quiet, stately, regal animals that are friendly to people - especially to smaller children. While there, make sure to meet Quincy, a TV star. Take one of the alpacas for a walk or learn about their lives. Or come down to the farm just to say hello to the alpacas and goldendoodles.