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Nature/Farm/animal activities in Chicago

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
What nature or animal activities are in the Chicago area (including surrounding suburbs)? For example, in our current city, there is a great nature center with trails and in the summer they have farm animals (goats, sheep, a calf, a pony, chickens, a rabbit) and a butterfly house. Our daughter LOVES going there. Or in our old city there was a park with nature trails and a historic village.
post #2 of 7
I grew up in Lake County and Lambs Farm is great. It's right off I-94 in Libertyville. It really is an amazing place, both philosophically and practically. There's also the Pritzker Children's Zoo inside the Lincoln Park Zoo. The Brookfield Zoo also has a Petting Zoo. Of course, there is also the Shedd Aquarium, but it sounds like you are looking for more hands-on places. There are tons of forest preserves around, but it's been 12 years since I've lived there, so maybe someone else could give you more specific info.
post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 
I remember Lamb's Farm! I grew up in the Chicago Area, but haven't been back since I went away to college so it has been 7+ years. I know Indian Boundary park used to have a petting zoo, but does it still?

I'm looking for fun things to do around Chicago because 1) my parents are still in that area and 2) because we've thought about moving to the area.
post #4 of 7
My dh grew up in the Chicago area and he still raves about this place:

http://www.pdhp.org/index.cfm/fa/par...9-f5a7b11ad8f1

I've never been there but it's supposed to be pretty great.

There is also a "green" community in the Grayslake/Libertyville area called Prairie Crossing . . . I think they have a small organic farm operation there and some chickens . . . http://www.prairiecrossing.com/pc/site/index.html
post #5 of 7
post #6 of 7
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the links! Wow, that Prairie Crossing sounds really cool!
post #7 of 7
Yes, prairie crossing is very cool. And Chicago Wilderness is a GREAT resource - their current focus, in fact, is expanding nature/outdoor opportunities for kids in the city and surrounding areas, in both small and big ways.
There is a terrific network of forest preserves just outside the city, including a number of good nature centers (I grew up near Crabtree Nature Center, which is great, but there are many others). Places like Morton Arboretum and the Chicago Botanic Garden are also good nearby resources, though I haven't been to them recently. Since we're right in Chicago, we've been mostly focused on things in our backyard with our toddler this past year - the petting zoo at the Lincoln Park zoo (just to the south of the main zoo) is great for farm interaction, and our daughter loves the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, including its butterfly pavilion.
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