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The Midwest’s number-one attraction is the place in Chicago for lakefront fun. Board a sightseeing or dinner cruise boat, and see a live performance at the outdoor Skyline Stage or acclaimed Chicago Shakespeare Theater. Dine at one of Navy Pier’s many boardwalk restaurants and browse the unique shops and stands (a great place to pick up a souvenir).
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
Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum
This museum is one of the most-visited presidential museums in the nation where visitors can experience the entire Lincoln story under one roof, from Abe's humble beginnings in an Indiana log cabin to his days as president in the White House. Be dazzled by two special effects theaters featuring historical ghosts and a Civil War battlefield, life-like vignettes that depict important moments in the president’s life, and artifacts that range from Lincoln’s stovepipe hat to an original copy of the Gettysburg Address.
Livingston County War Museum
Walking through Livingston County War Museum is like taking a tour of the 20th Century, including artifacts, films, books, uniforms and weapons of several wars. The museum does not glorify war, but shows the best attributes of men and women caught up in war. In doing so, we respectfully honor the service of America's veterans, and the men and women from the area who served in the military.
The Field Museum
Discover Sue, the largest and most complete T. rex ever found! At the Field Museum you can also get a bug's-eye view in the Underground Adventure, descend into an Egyptian tomb, be dazzled in the Hall of Gems, come nose to nose with the infamous man-eating lions of Tsavo, and walk among dinosaurs in Evolving Planet.
Museum of Science and Industry
A world of discovery awaits at the largest science museum in the Western Hemisphere. Explore more than 800 exhibits, including the legendary U-505, a German submarine captured on the high seas during World War II; take off on a Boeing 727 airplane for a simulated cross-country flight; descend down a mineshaft for a tour of a realistic coal mine; and witness robots at work in a toy factory. Take a seat at the museum’s Omnimax Theater and watch awesome 3D flicks on a giant screen.
Caterpillar Visitor's Center
Opened in October 2012, this new visitor's center celebrates the long history of the Caterpillar Company. Visitors can explore the past by taking a journey back in time via historic photos and antique equipment. Visitor favorites include a 24-foot tall 797 mining truck that doubles as a movie theater and a product floor complete with simulators to explore its world-famous product line.
Illinois Route 66 Hall of Fame and Museum
See the finest memorabilia associated with the history of the Mother Road in Illinois. Among the artifacts, you’ll find the bus and van of Route 66 icon, Bob Waldmire—a true legend of the Mother Road. During your visit, you’ll likely spot Bob’s brother, Buz Waldmire, sharing stories of his late brother’s famous travels up and down Route 66. Be sure to step around back for a great photo op in front of the World's Largest Route 66 shield and other great murals. Admission is free.
Art Institute of Chicago
The second-largest art museum in the United States is home to more than 300,000 works of art, including “American Gothic” by Grant Wood, Edward Hopper's “Nighthawks” and more. Renowned for its rare master works, at The Art Institute visitors can experience one of the world’s most notable collections of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist art. With the addition of its Modern Wing, the museum now features an impressive showcase for its contemporary artworks.
Lincoln's New Salem State Historic Site
Step back in time and explore historic New Salem just as Lincoln knew it. This meticulously reconstructed 1830s village is where Lincoln lived as a young adult, studied law and began politics. Everything from the people to the blacksmith’s workshop gives visitors a glimpse into what pioneer life was really like when young, burly Abe was throwing down his axe.
Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site
Illinois' only United Nations World Heritage Site. This 2,200-acre site preserves the central section of the largest prehistoric Indian city north of Mexico. An Interpretive Center presents a coherent account of this sophisticated prehistoric culture. Climb Monk's Mound, see the film and life-size village. Don't miss annual events that focus on Native American culture.
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.
Burpee Museum of Natural History
Come explore Burpee Museum and its award-winning exhibits such as Jane: Diary of a Dinosaur, called one of the ten most important dinosaur discoveries in the past 100 years. Burpee Museum also features Homer, a sub-adult or "teen-age" Triceratops. Four floors of exhibits include Windows to Wilderness, a woolly mammoth skeletal cast, Pennsylvanian coal forest, a Native American exhibit, Geoscience, and a viewing lab.
You’ll find art galleries, music venues, specialty shops, and great restaurants all located along Peoria’s beautiful RiverFront. Whether it’s a quick bite at a casual café or a relaxing dinner, we have something for everyone. You can enjoy live music and entertainment every weekend, shop the largest Antique Center in Central Illinois or find the perfect gift or home accent at one of our fun and inviting RiverFront shops. Throughout the summer, we offer an endless assortment of outdoor concerts and events. And don’t miss the RiverFront Market featuring local produce, art, and musicians, Saturday mornings, June – September. Peoria’s RiverFront… Where fun, food and friends meet!
John Deere Pavilion & Store
Experience innovations of the present and the future while appreciating the heritage of the past at the free attraction in downtown Moline, Illinois. See vintage machines and climb aboard new ones, operate a simulated excavator or dozer, explore exhibits on how technology helps people shape and care for the land and enjoy interactive ways for kids to learn about farming and infrastructure. The John Deere Store stocks a large collection of genuine John Deere merchandise.
Apple River Fort State Historic Site
Apple River Fort State Historic Site, located in Elizabeth, Illinois, is the site of one of the battles fought during the Black Hawk War. Black Hawk and his 200 warriors attacked the hastily erected fort on June 24, 1832. His story and that of the early settlers are told.
Volo Auto Museum
The most under priced attraction in the area! 36 acres of family fun. See 300 classic, antique and muscle cars, including the country's largest display of Hollywood TV and movie cars! Experience the Military Combat Zone, a life-like battle scene with rare military vehicles and weapons. Shop 5 Antique Malls. Take a Haunted Trolley Tour. Enjoy great food in a Betty Boop themed diner and more. All in one location!
Black Hawk State Historic Site
Wonderful for families, friends for outdoor recreation. Additionally, the Watch Tower Lodge has hosted thousands of wedding receptions and offers a lovely setting in the beautiful historic park. This wooded, steeply rolling 208-acre tract, borders the Rock River in the city of Rock Island. Prehistoric Indians and 19th-Century settlers made homes here, but the area is most closely identified with the Sauk nation and its great warrior, Black Hawk. Voted one of the "7 Wonders of Illinois," this pristine park offers beautiful trails for hiking and walking only. Picnic areas are also available. While at the park be sure to visit the Watch Tower Lodge that houses a large reception area and the John Hauberg Indian Museum. The museum features Sauk and Meskwaki Native American Indian artifacts and displays depicting the four seasons and life of these tribes. A new exhibit tells the story of the Sauk and Meskwaki—how they came to live in the Quad City area, why they no longer live here, and, as the piece de resistance, a four-by-eight-foot scale model of the city of Saukenuk one of the largest Native American Indian settlements in the United States.
Adler Planetarium and Astronomy Museum
The Adler Planetarium—America’s First Planetarium—is more than a museum; it is a laboratory, a classroom, and a community exploring the Universe together. The Adler offers interactive exhibitions, live planetarium shows, hands-on, minds-on STEM education programs, and world-class collections.
This 500-acre park offers vast formal gardens, picnic grounds, a top-ranked public golf course and two museums: Robert R. McCormick Museum and First Division Museum. Enjoy a wide variety of programs and events throughout the year, such as festivals, lectures, concerts and workshops.
Here I Have Lived Exhibits
View over 40 outdoor interpretive exhibits placed throughout the downtown area to experience Springfield as Abraham Lincoln knew it. Each exhibit is intended to capture a moment in time for Lincoln and how he was affected by the people, places and events he encountered in his hometown. Each story is accompanied by graphics or photographs and a medallion that is symbolic of that particular story. Visitors are encouraged to collect rubbings of each medallion.
William M. Staerkel Planetarium
Discover the universe at the second largest planetarium in Illinois, the William M. Staerkel Planetarium, located on the campus of Parkland College. With a state-of-the-art digital projection system, visitors can learn about the stars, planets and more in this cutting-edge environment. At the planetarium website, you will learn of special programs and features coinciding with the many events in our universe. Public shows are on most Friday and Saturday nights, as well as summer matinees.
National Great Rivers Museum
Located adjacent to the Melvin Price Locks and Dam, this museum is dedicated to telling the story of the Mississippi River, from its colorful history to its modern-day role as a major transportation corridor. The museum features kid-friendly, interactive and computer animated exhibits. Steer a towboat through the locks and dam via simulator, measure your water consumption or come face-to-face with river fish in the aquarium. Open daily 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Chicago History Museum
The Chicago History Museum is a major museum and research center for Chicago and American history. From permanent galleries to special exhibitions and exciting programs, people of all ages are able to experience the past and better understand the present. Please call for museum hours, pricing and exhibitions.
Chicago Children's Museum at Navy Pier
Hands-on exhibits and daily-changing activities make every visit unique for young children and adults, too. Dig deep into the Dinosaur Expedition, try to stay dry in WaterWays, make a masterpiece in the KraftArtabounds Studio, and climb up to the crow's nest on the Kovler Family Climbing Schooner. Toddlers can have fun in Kids Town and Treehouse Trails.
Children's Museum of Illinois
Kids can shimmy up Luckey's Climber, make a giant bubble and pretend to be whatever they can imagine, from a pilot to a scientist. The museum's permanent exhibits complement temporary exhibits and projects.
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.
The Science Center of Southern Illinois
This center was designed for children ages 3-13 and their families. The science museum features several interactive hands-on exhibits dealing with a variety of basic concepts of science, as well as special events and programs.
Tinker Swiss Cottage Museum and Gardens
Tinker Swiss Cottage is a historic house museum located in the heart of Rockford, Illinois. The museum complex contains the historic house museum, barn, and carriage house from the Tinker family. In addition, the property is the home of the founding site of Rockford and contains a Pre-Columbian Native American conical mound. Robert surrounded his Swiss Cottage with over 27 acres of trees, vines, winding pathways, flowerbeds, and gardens. A three-story Swiss inspired barn was added to the property which housed cows, chickens, and horses. On the side of the Cottage, Robert constructed a suspension bridge crossing the Kent Creek. At the end of Robert's suspension bridge, he planted elaborate gardens deemed the Railroad Gardens where passengers could stroll as they waited for the train.
Midway Village Museum
The museum campus consists of a Victorian village with 26 historical buildings filled with artifacts of the era as well as several beautiful 19th century gardens that depict life in northern Illinois from 1890 to 1910. Interpreters in authentic period dress are available seasonally for guided tours. The main museum building holds large group meeting rooms and exhibit space with a number of permanent exhibits reflecting Rockford's history and culture. Special events throughout the year include a World War II re-enatment, Sock Monkey and Scarecrow Harvest Festivals, and more. Free recreational path located on property.
Stroll downtown Springfield and check out shops that carry everything from Lincoln souvenirs to one-of-a-kind jewelry and fresh-made fudge. Downtown is also host to many events and festivals throughout the year.
University of Illinois Arboretum
The University of Illinois Arboretum is a living laboratory, including plant collections and facilities that support the teaching, research and public service programs of several units throughout campus. Central to the Arboretum was the development of the "All American Selection Trial Gardens" established by a bequest from Miles C. Hartley in the early 90s. Other highlights of the Arboretum include the Welcome Garden, Hosta Garden, Kari Walkway and native ponds plantings, the Idea Garden, sponsored by Champaign County Master Gardeners, and the Japanese Tea and Dry Gardens at the Japan House.
Proudly referred to as Chicago's "Front yard," Grant Park is a public park, 319 acres located in Chicago’s central business district in the Loop Community area. Grant Park’s most notable features include Millennium Park, Buckingham Fountain, The Art Institute of Chicago and the Museum Campus. Named for United States President and Civil War General, Ulysses S. Grant, Grant Park was developed as one of Chicago's first parks and expanded through land reclamation.
Peoria Riverfront Museum
Opened in October 2012, this brand new 80,000 square-foot building is a world-class facility located on Peoria’s downtown riverfront. The museum features a 3D giant screen theater and digital planetarium, as well as history, science, art and achievement exhibits for all ages.
Chicago's own Chinatown features beautiful Chinese-style buildings, as well as exotic dining and shopping experiences that have made the neighborhood a popular destination for visitors and locals alike.
Krannert Art Museum and Kinkead Pavilion
Located on the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign campus, Krannert Art Museum is the second-largest fine art museum in Illinois—placing it among the top tier of university art museums nationwide. The museum’s diverse permanent collection contains over 10,000 works of art, and represents the cultures of African, Asia, Europe and the Americas. In addition to its permanent collection, the museum features outstanding temporary exhibitions throughout the year.
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.
Discovery Center Museum
Named one of the top 12 children's museums in the nation by Forbes in 2012, here kids can explore more than 250 hands-on art and science exhibits, a planetarium, TV studio and the Tot Spot for toddlers. Discovery Center also boasts the nation's first community-built outdoor science park, the Rock River Discovery Park, featuring a two-story maze, water play area and dinosaur fossil dig.
Pontiac-Oakland Automobile Museum & Resource Center
The history of the Oakland and Pontiac car brands as seen through 15 classic cars, dealer artifacts, a complete print library and memorabilia. Free admission-open year round.
Historic Swinging Bridges
Three bridges which cross the Vermillion River. Built as early as 1898 and one of the most popular attractions in Pontiac. Bridge 1 connects Riverview Drive and Play Park. It was built in July 1898 by Joliet Bridge Company with an iron structure, 190 feet long and 4 feet wide and supported by cables swung from masonry piers. The current bridge is a wooden structure. Bridge 2 connects the Play Park and Chautauqua Park - Eden M. Johnson Memorial circa 1926. Bridge 3 connects the south side and Riverside-Humiston Park. It was built in connection with the adjoining park, circa 1978: Illinois Contractors, Inc.
Illinois Railway Museum
The mission of the museum is to demonstrate the vital role railroads have played in the growth of the Chicago area as well as the United States through the preservation and operation of railroad and mass transit rolling stock and the display of related artifacts in a realistic setting. These exhibits provide an interactive, educational experience for visitors of all ages. We welcome all to our Museum and encourage you to join in our education, restoration and preservation efforts.
Ronald Reagan Boyhood Home and Visitors Center
Tour the restored home that the Reagan family resided in from 1920-1923, and meander through the Visitor Center and Gift Shop which features books and gifts highlighting the Reagan legacy. The tour includes the four-room Presidential Timeline exhibit and the viewing of a Reagan biographical video.
Old Illinois Passenger Depot Railroad Museum
Built in 1903 by the Illinois Central Railroad, the Old Railroad Passenger Depot has since been restored and now serves as home to the Carbondale Train Museum. Filled with information, artifacts and souveniers, the museum contains significant facts relating to Carbondale's history. Ring the bell of an original train car from the Illinois Central Railroad, which still sits on the track!
Looking for Lincoln Exhibits
Pontiac’s historic connections to Abraham Lincoln date back to Lincoln’s early days as a young lawyer traveling the 8th Judicial District. Lincoln visited Pontiac many times, represented a number of local citizens in legal actions, and made connections here that helped him to rise to prominence in state and national politics. Nine outdoor story boards help tell the stories associated with Lincoln's many visits to Pontiac. Pick up a map at the Visitor Center.
Lewis and Clark State Historic Site
The Lewis and Clark State Historic Site commemorates Camp Dubois, the 1803-1804 winter camp of Meriwether Lewis and William Clark. It was at Camp Dubois that members of the Corps of Discovery prepared for their expedition to the Pacific Ocean. The 14,000 square-foot exhibit space contains six galleries that outline the background and history of the Lewis and Clark expedition from its conception to its meaning for today's America. Exhibits are kid-friendly, offering opportunities for hands-on engagement. A "reconstruction" of the winter camp, Camp Dubois, is located on the grounds near the visitor center. Its design reflects 1803 U.S. Army regulations for the construction of military posts. Interpreters are on-site daily in the camp to explain how the men prepared for the journey.
Lincoln: History to Hollywood
“Lincoln: History to Hollywood,” an exhibition of sets, costumes and props from the Steven Spielberg’s Academy Award-winning film “Lincoln,” has opened at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum complex, located in downtown Springfield, Illinois. Items of note in the exhibit include Lincoln’s office set, a vignette of Mary Lincoln’s bedroom, Lincoln’s gloves, Tad Lincoln’s tin soldiers, and the rocking chair where President Lincoln sat with Tad. Most of the furniture pieces in the exhibit are antiques from the Civil War era, not reproductions. The exhibits are on long-term loan from Spielberg and DreamWorks Studio. The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum features more than 40,000 square feet of galleries, theatres and historic displays that takes visitors on a journey from Lincoln’s humble beginnings through his Presidency. The “Lincoln: History to Hollywood” exhibit will be located in Union Station, across the street from the presidential museum.
Route 66 Association of Illinois Hall of Fame and Museum
See the finest collection of memorabilia from the historic Mother Road in Illinois. The free-admission Hall of Fame features nostalgic photos and displays, plus attractions that include Route 66 artist and icon Bob Waldmire's bus and van, and the world's largest Route 66 shield.
Mt. Vernon Market
Mt. Vernon Market is located at the former armory building in downtown Mt. Vernon and features farmers markets, flea markets, vendor fairs, trade shows, entertainment, and other events throughout the year.
Ewing Cultural Center
Located on the wooded Sunset Hill estate of the late Hazle Buck Ewing, the Ewing Cultural Center encompasses the open-air Theatre at Ewing (summer home of the Illinois Shakespeare Festival), the elegant Ewing Manor (which is open for tours) and the beautiful Genevieve Green Gardens.
American Fluorite Museum
The American Fluorite museum is located on the site of the Rosiclare Fluorspar and Mining Co., which was once the largest fluorspar mining company in the U.S. It features photographs, ore specimens, mining paraphernalia and colorful dioramas.
Americana Hollywood Museum
An amazing tribute to America's most famous Hollywood icons, features life-size figures, wardrobes, costumes, movie props, posters, dolls, statues and celebrity collectibles from around the world. Americana Hollywood is a museum dedicated to Hollywood of yesterday and today. Located 2 blocks from Harrah’s Casino you will find collections from Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe, James Dean, Pamela Anderson and Angelina Jolie, just to name a few. Come stroll through the outdoor statues and have your picture taken with the Blues Brothers or on the set of a Western ghost town. There is so much to see and do at this museum!
Chanute Air Museum
The Chanute Air Museum celebrates the 76 year legacy of the former Chanute Air Force base and the development Illinois aviation. The Museum showcases over 30 aircraft, including a rare P-51H Mustang and XB-47 Stratojet, while exhibits include "Life at Chanute" and "The 99th Pursuit Squadron: From Rantoul to Ramitelli and Beyond." Bus parking and a gift shop are available.
Riverfront Museum Park
Arts and humanities complex housing Discovery Center Museum, Rockford Art Museum, Rockford Dance Company office and studies, Northern Illinois Public Radio offices and Rockford Symphony Orchestra offices.
An eclectic district filled with dining and multi-cultural attractions, Midtown Champaign, with the beautiful Boneyard Creek flowing, connects Downtown and Campustown Champaign.
Chicago Great Western Railway Depot Museum
Experience railroading during its glory days at a former link for the Chicago Great Western Railway from Chicago, Illinois to Oelwein, Iowa by taking a tour through our extensive collection of railway memorabilia. See a full-size caboose, both G-scale and HO-scale operating model railroads and artifacts of northwestern Illinois railroads.
Naper Settlement -- Outdoor History Museum
Chicagoland's only 19th Century Village with historic homes, shops, a chapel, fort and one-room schoolhouse in a 13-acre park-like setting with costumed villagers, exhibits and more.
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.
My Garage Museum Collection
Showcasing classic and one-of-a-kind Corvettes and memorabilia, My Garage Museum is a must-see attraction for any car enthusiast. Corvettes on display include Indy pace cars, racing machines, the last C-4 and the first 21st century model.
Fort Lamotte is a construction of a civilian style early 19th century American fort, featuring a two story block house and small log cabin. Construction began in spring of 2007 with all volunteer labor, donations of materials by various people and businesses. The block house is mainly constructed of popular logs as is the cabin. Local hickory was used for the cantilever logs, between 1st and 2nd stories with a puncheon 2nd story floor and persimmon trusses. The stockade walls are of locally grown hedge and black locust. This is the third fort to bear the name Lamotte.
Lizzadro Museum of Lapidary Art
DuPage County, Chicago’s Western Suburbs - This one-of-a-kind museum features displays of Chinese jade and other hard stone carvings, dioramas, minerals, gemstones, earth science, hands-on exhibits, and a unique gift shop. Group tours are available with reservations, and educational programs are offered.
Springfield & Central Illinois African American History Museum
The Mission of the Springfield and Central Illinois African American History Museum is to identify, research, collect, catalogue, restore, house, maintain and interpret documents and artifacts relating to and chronicling the history and legacy of African Americans in Springfield and Central Illinois. The Museum will provide research opportunities, educational programming and interpretive services for historians, authors, educators, and others interested in the lives and legacies of African Americans in Central Illinois.
Chicago Architecture Foundation/ ArchiCenter
Chicago: You Are Here, a permanent exhibition, is free and open to the public daily in the ArcelorMittal CitySpace Gallery from 9:30 am to 5:00 pm. Designed to encourage visitors to explore the architecture and infrastructure that make up the environment of Chicago, You Are Here includes a scale model of the Loop, along with bold images, artifacts, and multimedia presentations. Temporary, architecture-themed exhibitions throughout the year. Free and open daily. Check website for details. Full schedule of lectures, workshops, special events and presentations at noon, evenings, and weekends throughout the year. Free or low cost. Check website for listings.
Waking the T. Rex - The Story of Sue in 3-D
No dinosaur in the world compares to SUE—the largest, most complete, and best preserved Tyrannosaurus Rex ever discovered. Get the inside scoop on SUE and the science behind the world's most famous T. Rex. Terror has a new appetite! Come celebrate the 10th anniversary of SUE and experience the T. Rex in a brand new way.
Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum
The urban gateway to nature and science. The Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum is a place where city dwellers can reconnect with the wonder of the natural world. From a hands-on water lab to a wilderness walk to the only international, year-round butterfly haven, science comes alive.
Donley's Wild West Town
See a Wild West show and museum of Western memorabilia, then dine at Donley's Old West Steakhouse.
Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center
This new center is a 65,000 square-foot building designed by renowned architect Stanley Tigerman. The Museum is dedicated to preserving the legacy of the Holocaust by honoring the memories of those who were lost and by teaching the universal lessons that combat hatred, prejudice and indifference. The museum features an authentic early 20th century German rail car, an inspiring Hall of Remembrance for contemplation and reflection, a permanent exhibition chronicling life before, during and after the Holocaust, a youth exhibit for 9-11 year olds highlighting lessons of the Holocaust and a 225 seat auditorium.
The African American Museum of Southern Illinois
Permanent exhibits here include African art collections and slave artifacts. Rotating displays have included Underground Railroad message quilts and local artwork. The museum's changing exhibits seek to portray the outstanding achievements of African American citizens.
Illinois Aviation Museum at Bolingbrook
Providing the nation with access to the rich history of aviation in Illinois, the Illinois Aviation Museum at Bolingbrook focuses on technology, research, education and community service.
Abraham Lincoln's original account ledger with the Springfield Marine and Fire Insurance Company is on display at Chase Bank during banking hours.
Joliet Area Historical Museum
Travel through time and space! Walk through a replica of the I & M Canal, window shop on a turn-of-the-century street, take a virtual ride on a replica trolley, live the legend of Route 66, land on the moon in a walk-in simulator, and experience space exploration and the Apollo missions. Temporary exhibits change often in our Special Exhibition Gallery. There's always family fun in our discovery room, and remember your visit with a souvenir from our Gift Shop.
Children's Discovery Museum
Come experience three floors of unique, hands-on, larger-than-life exhibits! This museum is designed to create a sense of wonder that excites the love of learning in children of all ages. Be sure to discover the new Children's Discovery Museum.
Bea Gurler was nine years old when her father George moved his family into the house in 1893. Her cousins, the children of her father’s brother Henry, had been living since 1888 in the Ellwood Mansion. Everyone said it was magnificent. Bea’s parents George and Zillah, evidently shared a taste in homes that favored the elegance of simplicity. It was the unimposing yet dignified structure on Pine Street–where the back door was always open. George and Henry Gurler were both prominent businessmen, and joint owners of a number of dairies. They quickly became world-famous and respected by many dairy farmers. Bea eventually made it a goal of hers to renovate The Gurler House to be the home that she once new and loved. The Gurler House hosts an annual Folk Music Festival every summer, where people are encouraged to bring lawn chairs and blankets to enjoy the music. While you are at The Gurler House, make sure to take a walk through their beautiful garden.
Bishop Hill State Historic Site
Four historically significant buildings are owned by the State of Illinois and are maintained as part of the Bishop Hill State Historic Site. These architectural treasures are the two-story Colony Church (1850), the three-story Colony Hotel (1852-ca. 1860), the Boys Dormitory (ca. 1850), and the Colony Barn (mid-1850s) that has been relocated behind the Hotel. In addition, the central village park contains a reconstructed gazebo and war monuments. On the south edge of the village, stands a new brick Museum to house a comprehensive collection of paintings by colonist and self-taught artist, Olof Krans (1838-1916). Hours and days of operation change with the season. Please call to confirm your visit.
Route 66 Heritage Wayside Exhibits
Five wayside story boards that highlight the history of Route 66 in Pontiac. Pick up a map at the Route 66 Museum.
Kohl Children's Museum
Kohl Children’s Museum offers hands-on, interactive exhibits designed exclusively for children ages birth to 8. All of the exhibits and programs are designed to make learning fun and interesting for young children. A visit to a grocery store, a veterinarian’s office as well as a day care inhabited by dolls allow children to participate in adult activities on their own scale. Children can build a house, make music, take care of cars, explore the properties of water and much more in the many engaging exhibits featured.
Spring Valley Nature Center/ Volkening Heritage Farm
135 acres, natural history museum, handicapped-accessible trails, 1880's living history farm and pioneer cooking demos. Cost for some programs.
Cedarhurst Center for the Arts & Mitchell Museum
Exhibitions, a children's gallery, a permanent collection and special events. Grounds include 85 acres sculpture park, nature trails and bird sanctuary. Hosts annual Cedarhurst Craft Fair.
Chicago Cultural Center
Chicago's architectural showplace for the lively and visual arts. Daily programs and exhibitions covering a wide range of the performing, visual and literary arts are presented by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affiars. See the world's largest Tiffany stained-glass dome. It was initially built for dual purposes. It was the city's central library and a monument dedicated to the Civil War's Grand Army of the Republic. Since 1977 the building has housed cultural entities that included galleries, an auditorium, and the city's office of cultural affairs. The building architects are Shepley, Rutan and Coolidge.
YOU! The Experience
More than just a body, you are a complex blend of your choices, your personality, and your environment. Who you are depends on how you care for yourself and enjoy your life. YOU! The Experience brings these elements together into an interactive exhibit examining and celebrating the experience of life itself. It is one of the first and largest exhibitions to showcase the connection between the human mind, body and spirit in the 21st century. Start exploring the exhibit's fun and fascinating opportunities to explore what it is to be … YOU!
Korean War National Museum
Treasured artifacts, historial papers, and mementos tell the story of the Korean War through interactive exhibits. The first phase of the museum, The Denis J. Healy Freedom Center, is open to the public. The Center houses 3D-interactive exhibits, the Freedom Hall Theater, a canteen, and a center for Veterans and their families to record their personal experiences.
Louis Latzer Homestead
Louis Latzer, the founder of the Pet Milk Company, built this homestead for his wife and family in 1901. The home had many modern features of the day, including running water pumped by hand to a holding tank in the attic, a manufactured gas light system, speaking tubes between many of the rooms and one of the first telephones in the community.
Monticello Railway Museum
View various pieces of steam and electric railroad equipment. Offers vintage train rides on Sat. and Sun. May through Oct., as well as a number of special events throughout the year.
Illinois Executive Mansion
Home of the Illinois Governor, the mansion is the third-oldest, continuously occupied governor's home in the nation. Filled with antiques and historic artifacts. Built in 1855 the mansion contains 16 elegantly appointed rooms open for viewing, including the state dining room, a library and the Lincoln bedroom.
University of Illinois Champaign Urbana
The University of Illinois is a world leader in research, teaching and public engagement. It's distinguished by the breadth of their programs, broad academic excellence and internationally renowned faculty. This Big Ten school offers rich experiences beyond the classroom from the best in performing arts to world-class sports. Discover the scenic campus through tours of the historic buildings and those that are pushing the envelope in technology.
Alton Museum of History and Art
Winged monsters, explorers, riverboats and a gentle giant. The Alton Museum of History & Art shows the crossroads of American history in Alton. The museum is located in the historic Loomis Hall across from the Wadlow statue. Loomis Hall is the oldest building in the state of Illinois continuously utilized for education. One of the most popular rooms, the Wadlow Room, pays tribute to Alton's "Gentle Giant" and the World's Tallest Man. The Pioneer Room explores the history of Alton from the Lewis & Clark Expedition to the Civil War with exhibits on Elijah Lovejoy, the Lincoln-Douglas Debates and the "Alton Route" on the Underground Railroad. Hours: Wednesday - Saturday 10 a.m. - 4 p.m., Sunday 1 - 4 p.m.
Chicagoland Sports Hall of Fame
Sports memorablia; interactive video; photos of all inductees.
DuPage Children's Museum
DuPage Children’s Museum is more than a Museum. We’re a force for early learning! Experience a unique hands-on museum where children and adults learn and play together in neighborhoods of hands-on exhibits designed to promote skill development in math, science and art. DuPage Children's Museum helps develop curiosity, creativity, thinking and problem solving in young children. Check out our new S.M.A.R.T. Café, where food becomes an opportunity to learn about science, math, art, reading and technology.
Funk Prairie Home Gem & Mineral Museum
Located at the Funk Prairie Home, this museum houses the largest single-owner display of rare gems, minerals, fossils and lapidary art in the state. Also view the agriculture exhibit, along with several antique sleighs and carriages.
Macon County History Museum
Imagine Abraham Lincoln, the 6'4" lawyer, ducking to avoid bumping his head on the entrance of Macon Country's first courthouse built in 1829, which was the only log courthouse where Lincoln practiced law. This and other period buildings, located in the Macon County History Museum, allow visitors to travel back to different historical periods of the county. The prairie village on the museum grounds is home to such historical buildings as the log court house where Abraham Lincoln practiced in the 1830s.
Curtis House Museum
Built in 1870 by Major Elijah P Curtis after the Civil War. The woodwork and other features of the home are unusual.
Elmhurst Historical Museum
DuPage County, Chicago’s Western Suburbs - This prize-winning museum features changing interpretive exhibits on Elmhurst history as well as national touring exhibits. Programs for children, families and adults throughout the year. The Elmhurst Historical Museum is located in a historically significant structure known as the Glos Mansion, which is the former home of Elmhurst's first village president, Henry L. Glos, and his wife, Lucy.
Kankakee County Museum
The Kankakee County Museum is the home of the Kankakee County Historical Society. Founded in 1906, it is the oldest incorporated local historical society in Illinois. The Main Museum Building contains seven permanent and temporary exhibit galleries, the Museum Store, the Museum's Archival Research Library, the Museum's offices, and support facilities. The Museum Complex also encompasses the historic 1855 Dr. A. L. Small House, the 1904 Taylor One-Room Schoolhouse, Column Garden and Outdoor Exhibit Area. The museum boasts more than 85,000 artifacts in addition to 20,000 still images in the photo collection.
On Any Sunday Motorcycle Museum
See 40 motorcycles on display, including European bikes built from 1942-1978.
Colonel Davenport House
Located on the historic Rock Island Arsenal island -- an active military munitions base -- the home offers guided tours that highlight the famous people who have visited this historic home, the history of the island through various wars, and the events that took place when the Davenport family lived in this home. Learn about the river bandits that broke into the home during the 4th of July and what happened to Colonel Davenport. IMPORTANT: Because this is an active U.S. Army facility, a current ID is required for age 16 or older to enter the island. International visitors must register one week ahead by calling 309-782-2686 Monday through Friday between the hours of 6 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. Central Time.
Cuneo Mansion and Gardens
The opulent Cuneo Museum and Gardens, located on 75 acres and dotted with formal gardens and statuary was the perfect setting for the wedding scenes in "My Best Friend's Wedding." The gazebo where the best friends were caught kissing was built specifically for the film, but Cuneo's owners liked it so much they decided to keep it permanently. Take a guided tour through the historic Mediterranean-style Cuneo mansion to see Renaissance artworks and lavish European furnishings.
International Walldog Mural and Sign Art Exhibit
Exhibit featuring the history of outdoor sign and mural art. Videos, drawings, and artifacts tell the story of advertising art. Art work for sale. The International Walldog Mural & Sign Art Exhibit is dedicated to the preservation and appreciation of the outdoor wall advertising signs painted in the days before electronic mass media. The painters who created those early signs called themselves "Walldogs." The displays which are found at the museum tell the history of the early sign painters who created their art on the sides of brick buildings, barns, and other structures. Examples of those early signs can still be seen throughout the Midwest and, though faded, peeling, and sometimes barely readable, these "ghost signs" remain an important part of our collective cultural and commercial history.