Whether your family wants to commune with nature, take a thrill ride or discover a new city, there are plenty of family vacation options within a half-day's drive of Chicago.You might also like:
Carroll County, nestled along the Mississippi River between Galena and the Quad Cities, is home to far more wildlife than humans. The Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge reaches four states-Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin and Illinois. It's a place for hiking, bird-watching, and teaching kids about nature, wildlife and the river.
Head to the Ingersoll Wetlands Learning Center in Thompson to give kids a lesson in river conservation. Take a bike ride on the Grand Illinois Trail. Or drive north on Illinois 84 to Savanna and the Scenic Bluff Ranch for a horseback trail ride.
If your kids need a little more animal interaction, stop by the Dreamswept Alpaca Farm in Byron on your way home. Call first to make sure one of the owners, Michele Goetzka (815-954-6210) or Paul Goetzka (815-474-5049), will be available to tell you about these animals and show the kids how they make their fiber into yarn.