Summer camp activities can extend beyond arts and crafts projects and afternoons by the pool. This summer, consider making the break a memorable one for your campers and counselors alike by planning a few day trips to a historic site, a factory that makes jelly beans and a number of other fun destinations that are located within approximately 90 miles of downtown Chicago. These five destinations are sure to create a positive experience for everyone this summer.
From learning about dinosaurs at the Dinosaur Discovery Museum to taking a sweet tour at the Jelly Belly Visitor Center, the city of Kenosha, Wisconsin, boasts a range of activities for groups of all interests. Other attractions include the Civil War Museum and the Kenosha Public Museum, or you can also spend part of your visit at the Kenosha Dream Playground at Petzke Park. The area also has a number of hiking and biking trails if you’d like to spend some time outside. Just remember to make the appropriate reservations for your group in advance.
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Magic Waters Waterpark
7820 CherryVale North Blvd.
Cherry Valley, IL 61016
Located approximately 80 miles northwest of downtown Chicago, Magic Waters Waterpark offers an assortment of water slides for campers of all ages. Visitors can go with a friend on the Abyss or the Splash Blaster, or enjoy a leisurely ride on the Splash Magic River. Younger children can also splash and play in the Little Lagoon. An assortment of other rides and features are available at the park, too. You can also add a bit of luxury to your stay by renting a cabana, patio or chalet for the day.
Naper Settlement Museum
523 S. Webster St.
Naperville, IL 60540
Learn about history through hands-on exhibits when you book a field trip at Naper Settlement Museum. Located in the western suburb of Naperville, the museum gives visitors a chance to take a virtual step back in time and learn what life was like the area in the 19th century. Visitors can visit the assortment of historic buildings in the museum, as well as see re-enactors demonstrate the daily tasks and chores of the settlers who called the land home more than 100 years ago. Campers can also unwind and stretch their legs at the Rita (Fredenhagen) and John Harvard Early Learning Playscape. The outdoor area is geared for children between the ages of two and seven and includes a playground, trading post, and other fun features.
Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum
2430 N. Cannon Drive
Chicago, IL 60614
You don’t have to go far to have a memorable experience with your summer day camp. If time is of the essence, then consider booking a trip to the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, located in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood. The museum’s exhibits allow visitors to learn about the plants in the area, as well as give an opportunity to explore the museum’s extensive collection of plants, fossils, photographs and more. You and your campers can also see nature in a new way with the museum’s bird walk. The museum offers field trips specific to an assortment of interests and ages.
Forest Preserves of Cook County
Day camps that plan to include a bit of the great outdoors in this summer’s schedule may want to include a visit to the Skokie Lagoons of the Forest Preserves of Cook County. Covering almost 900 acres, the Skokie Lagoons offer just about every kind of activity. Hike or bike the trails, learn more about the animals and plants in the area, or even rent a boat for some shoreline fishing when you make plans to visit this preserve. The preserve also has a picnic shelter, so you and your campers can take a break for lunch. Details on parking and the boat launch are available on the Forest Preserves of Cook County’s website.
This article was written by Megan Horst-Hatch of Examiner.com for CBS Local.