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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Wildlife Discovery Center
The Wildlife Discovery Center is a special place offering programs for people of all ages who have an interest in wildlife and their habitat. Children's classes, adult programs, and school field trips focus on wildlife conservation, field biology, and ecology. The Center also offers self-guided nature hikes, workshops, eco-based summer camps, wildlife ecology trips, group presentations, traveling animal exhibits and exciting volunteer opportunities. You can visit eye-to-eye with over 150 animals including a bobcat, raptors, Kookaburras, and an assortment of venomous and non-venomous reptiles like crocodilians, snakes, turtles and tortoises. The Wildlife Discovery Center is home to one of the largest public exhibits of rattlesnakes in North America, including four species that are native to Illinois. Indoor exhibits hours are Tuesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 10:00am to 4:00pm. The outdoor exhibits and walking trails are open year round.
This zoo located near the Quad Cities houses more than 900 exotic animals. See the animal exhibits on foot or hop aboard the Mel McKay Express, a miniature replica of an old steam engine that takes visitors around the park. Rise and shine with the wild things during Breakfast With the Animals, held on select Saturdays.
The Tempel Lipizzans
Home of the famous Lipizzan stallions known for their beauty, strength and intelligence. The beautiful rolling hills of Tempel Farms have been home to the Tempel Lipizzan for more than 50 years. For the past 27 years, the farm setting has been backdrop for the 90-minute performances in the tradition of the Spanish Riding School in Vienna. Performances chronicle the horses’ training from the youngest foals to the most highly trained stallions all performing to musical accompaniment. Performances are held on the one Sunday a month July through September and one Saturday night a month July through September. Saturday night performances include a self-guided tour where complimentary hors d'oeuvres, wine and beer will be served as the sun sets.
J-H Bison Ranch
Tours of this family-run bison ranch include baby bison feeding, herd tours, and photos with baby bison, llamas and horses.
Summerfield Farm & Zoo
Summerfield Zoo is home to a large variety of exotic animals, ranging from reindeer and monkeys to camels and mountain lions. We are proud to offer an up close and personal animal experience. While at the zoo, enjoy our education and fun animal encounter presentations. Summerfield Zoo is open selected weekends May through November.
Over 45 exhibits of native Illinois wildlife and domestic farm animals; tree-shaded picnic area - seating for 300; "Exclusive Use" facility rentals; private party room; open year-round.
Arabian Knights Farms
Ten-acre horse farm offers hayrides and riding lessons, plus a petting zoo, exotic animals and even a monthly line dancing event.
Get into the swing of spring at Bonner Heritage Farm! Enjoy a variety of spring-themed activities, crafts and demonstrations. Wagon rides, farm animals, food and entertainment round out the afternoon. Be sure to take a guided tour of the Bonner farmhouse.
White Squirrels of Olney
For over 100 years, Olney has been the home for hundreds of white squirrels. The albino squirrels can be seen at various locations in town, but are most often found in the Olney City Park.
This family-run dairy is located on the edge of Logan County. Call to set up an appointment to visit.
Brown's Oakridge Zoo
Browns Oakridge Zoo is a family owned and operated zoo established in 1990. Beginning with a single pot bellied pig and a few whitetail deer, the number of species housed at the zoo has grown to include five Siberian tigers, several black bears, two lions, and many more exotic and domestic animals. Over the years we have taken in many abandoned animals. A total of 152 lion and tiger cubs, abandoned in captivity have been reared here. Most of our animals have been raised in the house, and have had a lot of human contact. You won’t just get to see the animals here, but you will be able to have hands on contact. Imagine being able to hold a lion, tiger, or bear cub. It brings out the kid in all of us.
Huff's Miniature Horses
Observe a small herd of miniature horses, and even groom the patient ones. Be sure to call and make a reservation.
Just outside of Edwardsville, Bilbrey Farms is home to exotic animals and trained birds. Come feed the animals or stay at the bed and breakfast.
Rock River Miniatures
This miniature horse farm is located in Whiteside County.
Bryant's Miniatures features miniature horses, llamas and George the camel. Children and adults are welcome to enjoy the animals at this hands-on facility.
During Christmas, Sherwood Forest is adorned with decorations and twinkling lights. Any time of year view a variety of animals, including turkeys, rabbits, peacocks, llamas, and miniature goats and deer.
Come visit the quiet, curious and lovable llamas on this working farm.
Lord's Park Pavilion
Home of the Elgin Public Museum, the park includes a petting zoo and the Family Aquatic Center.