from the local experts at Chicago Southland CVB

Ready for a unique, family-friendly adventure? “Gramping” is the latest travel trend that brings grandparents and their grandchildren together. Mom and dad can relax at home while grandparents enjoy a “skip-gen” bonding trip with the kids. Whether you’re looking for a weekend-long getaway or just a day trip, families can find plenty of gramping opportunities right here in the Chicago Southland!

Many attractions have reopened with limited capacity or different operating hours. Inquire with attractions ahead of time for up-to-date travel policies and health and safety information.

  • Day 1: University Park and Homewood

Welcome to the Chicago Southland! Start your gramping trip off with some of the Chicago Southland’s most impressive art.

Begin exploring in University Park, home to Nathan Manilow Sculpture Park. A must-visit for the area, travelers young and old alike will enjoy the outdoor "museum in the prairie." Home to 30 larger-than-life sculptures, scattered throughout 100 acres of beautiful prairie landscape, the Nathan Manilow Sculpture Park is free and open 365 days a year! Various programs that integrate art and nature are also available for both kids and adults.

After trekking around the sculpture park, the entire family is sure to be ready for lunch! Head about 10 miles north to Aurelio’s Pizza in Homewood, the world’s largest pizzeria and part of Chicago’s oldest pizza chain. Aurelio’s has an expansive menu, ensuring that even the pickiest of eaters in your group will find something they’ll enjoy. Be sure to ask for your pizza to be baked in the famous old oven for an even crispier crust.

End the day with a leisurely stroll through downtown Homewood, where you can find the largest collection of Richard Haas murals in the world. Haas, a world-renowned artist, specializes in large, illusion murals. There are 15 hyper-realistic art pieces throughout Homewood. Try to find all 15 as you visit some of the local shops.

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  • Day 2: Chicago, Flossmoor, Park Forest, and Tinley Park

It’s time for a history lesson! Begin your second day in Chicago Southland at the Pullman National Monument. The visitor information center is an excellent place to start the day. Watch an introductory video about the town’s history or enjoy the various photos and Pullman-era artifacts. Be sure to take a walk around the historic neighborhood and check out the famous rowhouses, Hotel Florence, Greenstone Church and so much more. 

After enjoying the Pullman neighborhood, it's time for lunch! Before making your way to Park Forest for your next stop, be sure to grab a bite to eat at Flossmoor Station Restaurant & Brewery. Located in a historic train station, Flossmoor Station offers a wide range of delicious American cuisine. Grandparents can enjoy a pint of Flossmoor Station's award-winning beers and kids can enjoy watching the Metra trains go by, all while enjoying a tasty meal. 

After lunch, continue the history lesson with a visit to the 1950s Park Forest House Museum. This re-creation of an original 1950s home is complete with toys, books, clothes and furnishings of the era. Grandparents will love the nostalgic trip down memory lane while the kids explore drawers, cupboards and closets full of 1950s treasures. Please note, the museum is only open on Wednesdays and Saturdays, 1:00 PM – 3:30 PM, or by appointment so be sure to plan accordingly!

Finally, the grandparents can take a break and let the kids go nuts at Odyssey Fun World in Tinley Park. There are plenty of indoor and outdoor activities the kids can enjoy, such as arcade games, go karts, a zipline, mini golf, batting cages, laser tag and more!

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  • Day 3: Brookfield and Burbank

On the third and final day of your Chicago Southland adventure, pay a visit to Brookfield Zoo. This 216-acre nature park is open 365 days a year. Animal lovers of all ages will enjoy the interactive exhibits, daily zoo chats, giraffe feedings and more. Home to over 5,000 animals, Brookfield Zoo has been helping generations of families from around the world discover their love for animals since first opening their gates in 1934. Take your time and spend the day at this expansive, award-winning zoo. 

Wrap up your Chicago Southland visit with a delicious dinner at Chuck's Southern Comforts Cafe in Burbank. Known for their mouthwatering BBQ delights, Chuck's has a vast menu, including lots of options for the kids. Order a BBQ Combo for the whole table to enjoy and sample ribs, pulled pork, chicken, beef brisket, fried catfish and more.

We hope you enjoy your gramping adventure in the Chicago Southland!

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