Baha’i House of Worship
One of only seven Baha’i temples, the House of Worship was completed in 1953 as a gift from the Baha’is to the world. The nine-sided dome stands 20 stories tall and is surrounded by nine fountains and gardens. The fountains are usually a big hit with kids as they rise and fall based on a computerized system that measures Chicago’s notorious winds.
Hidden Gem: All of the columns around the building have ornamental symbols of past religions. Keep a look out for grapes in the ornamentation above the door and an arrow on one of the columns.
100 Linden Ave., Wilmette www.bahai.us
The 18,000-acre reservoir offers 162 miles of shoreline, two beaches, six golf courses, camp sites, 30 miles of paved biking trails and plenty of water sports.
Hidden Gem: An hour away is the Garden of the Gods in the Shawnee National Forest.
17738 Conservation Lane, Whittingtonwww.rendlake.com
Allerton Park and Retreat Center
The 1,500 acres hold an English-inspired mansion, sculpture gardens and 14 miles of trails, with a river flowing through the middle.
Hidden Gem: The Fu Dog Garden holds 11 pairs of blue glaze ceramic Fu Dogs. The dog/lion statues were said to protect against evil spirits.
515 Old Timber Road, Monticellowww.continuinged.uiuc.edu/oce-sites/allerton/index.cfm
Meeting of the Great River Scenic Byway
The 33-mile-long byway leads to the intersection of the Mississippi and Illinois rivers. Museums, Pere Marquette State Park and the Louis and Clark Interpretive Center sit along the byway.
Hidden Gem: Kids can "steer" a tow boat at the National Great Rivers Museum at the base of the Mississippi’s largest lock and dam.
Home of the Chicago Cubs, Wrigley Field was built in 1914, making it the second oldest ballpark in the majors. The stadium, nicknamed "The Friendly Confines," is well known for its antique scoreboard and outfield wall covered in ivy. Sitting above the bleachers, the scoreboard’s batter and pitcher numbers are still turned by hand.
Hidden Gem: The ushers carry scorecards and stickers for the kids. The packs are free and will help them better understand the game.
1060 W. Addison St., Chicago, www.cubs.com
Starved Rock State Park
Starved Rock has been home to humans from as early as 8000 B.C., with its most famous residents being the Illiniwek Indians. The state park holds 18 canyons, some more than 100 feet deep, 13 miles of trails and plenty of electric camp sites and picnic areas.
Hidden Gem: Spring is the best time to see waterfalls in the park. Not all waterfalls are accessible, but the French, St. Louis Wildcat and LaSalle canyons are all worthwhile.
Route 178, Utica www.starvedrockstatepark.org
Black Hawk State Historic Site
Along the shores of the Rock River, the Black Hawk State Historic Site was once home to the Sauk and Fox Indian tribes. There are more than six miles of trails, with one running along the sandstone bluffs and the Rock River.
Hidden Gem: The Hauberg Indian Museum tells the story of the Fox Indians, the last of two tribes in the area.
1510 46th Ave., Rock Islandwww.blackhawkpark.org
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