Finds here at home

Kid-tested travelIf traveling to Florida isn’t in your plans for spring break, no worries. Our hand-picked locations won’t spoil your budget and will appeal to the whole family.

Key Lime Cove Resort

The new Key Lime Cove in Gurnee offers a 65,000-square-foot water park with 12 slides, an adventure river, an interactive play structure and toddler area with three slides, says Michelle Hoffman, Key Lime resort spokesperson. Kids can also head to Leapin’ Lizards for crafts or the 120 arcade games while mom hits the scrapbooking bar. A can’t miss for families is the Sunset Ceremony.

“It’s a whole vacation escape, it truly is,” Hoffman says.

Spring rates are about 9 a night. Reservations can be made at or by calling (877) 360-0403.

Starved Rock State Park

Starved Rock State Park in Utica, home to 18 canyons and 13 miles of trails, offers hiking and horseback riding. During spring, a can’t miss is the waterfalls, says Tom Levy, site superintendent. Some of the safer trails to see them are the French, St. Louis and LaSalle canyons. Stop at the visitor’s center first. Families who want to sleep over should check out the park’s lodge, Levy says. Online reservations can be made at or by calling (800) 868-ROCK (7625).

Burpee Museum of Natural History

Take a trip back in time at the Burpee Museum of Natural History in Rockford. From March 24-27, the museum offers a peek into spring. A can’t miss is"Jane,” a juvenile T. rex. Other exhibits include a display of the first people of North America and Geoscience, displaying a 10-foot glacier model.

Admission is , for residents, for kids 3-17, for residents. Hours are Monday-Friday 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Sunday noon-5 p.m. Visit or call (815) 965-3433 for information.

Brookfield Zoo

Spring at Brookfield Zoo brings out the animals visitors normally don’t see during the colder months, says Sondra Katzen, manager of media relations. A can’t miss for the younger crowd is the Children’s Zoo.

“It’s (just) a nice family place to walk around,” Katzen says.

On March 23, children can meet the Easter bunny and some of his real furry friends during the Easter Brunch at the zoo’s Discovery Center. For information visit or call (708) 688-8000.

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