n Perry Farm and Exploration Station, www.btpd.org
n Kankakee County State Parks, dnr.state.il.us
n Kankakee County Museum, www.kankakeecountymuseum.com
n Kankakee County Fair, www.kankakeefair.org
n Reed’s Kankakee River Canoe Trips, www.reedscanoetrips.com
n Splash Valley Aquatic Park, www.splashvalley.com
I grew up about an hour south of Chicago on a farm near the greater Kankakee area, which includes Kankakee, Bradley and Bourbonnais. While Kankakee has had a bad rap—most notably being ranked one of the worst communities in which to live in 1999, spurring comedian David Letterman to give it two gazebos—it really is a great place to live. Since I moved away in 1993, I have had many opportunities to discover it all over again.
On the grounds sits the Exploration Station, a hands-on children’s museum (best for kids up to age 8) featuring a castle, space center, post office, dentist office and a new 1950s soda shop.
If your family is in the mood for an all-you-can-eat pizza buffet for lunch (available every day except Saturday), try Chicago Dough at 545 South Main St. in Bourbonnais. Not only does its buffet offer up every kind of pizza, pasta or salad you could want, but the service is always given with a big smile.
It’s best to make reservations to explore this angle of the Kankakee area, as the tours tend to sell out quickly in the summer.
Michelle Sussman, who grew up 15 minutes southwest of Kankakee in Herscher, is a mom, wife and writer in Bolingbrook.
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