Sightseeing in Crystal Lake

51% off Cemetery Ghost Hunt from Haunted Hometowns

Haunted Hometowns, Corp.

Elgin

$90 $45

Ghost-seekers walk through moon-lit cemeteries in the dead of night during tour as guides relate tales of local specters

49% Off Helicopter Flying Lesson

Bachman Aero

Schaumburg

$295 $149

The 30-minute helicopter flying lesson puts students in control of the craft at 500 feet with instruction from a FAA Certified Pilot

Up to 52% Off at Wisconsin Historical Society

Wisconsin Historical Society

Multiple Locations

$60 $29

(10)

Membership includes discounted or free admission to the Society's historic sites, from Black Point Estate to Old World Wisconsin in Eagle

Up to 50% Off Day Passes to Farmyard at Lambs Farm

Lambs Farm

Libertyville

$12 $7

Farmyard run by non-profit organization houses a petting zoo, an old-fashioned train ride, and a 600-pound pig

Up to 51% Off a Helicopter Tour of Chicago

Chicago Helicopter Express

Wheeling

$360 $199

Helicopters cruise 800 feet above the Chicago skyline past such famed sights as Willis Tower, Wrigley Field, and Navy Pier

40% Off Riverboat Cruise in St. Charles 

St. Charles Paddlewheel Riverboats

St. Charles

$15 $9

During serene cruises that last up to one hour, tour groups learn about the history of the Fox River and the Pottawatomie

40% Off a Tour of The Gold Pyramid

The Gold Pyramid

The Gold Pyramid

$15 $9

Built as a private home in 1977, the 17,000 sq. ft. pyramid features statues, a moat, a three-pyramid garage, and Egyptian-style furnishings

Up to Half Off at Geneva Lake Museum

Geneva Lake Museum

Lake Geneva

$14 $7

(9)

Museum fills historic Power & Light building and replicates Lake Geneva Main Street of late 19th and early 20th centuries

Up to 54% Off Petting-Farm Visit in Waterford

Green Meadows Petting Farm

Waterford

$27 $13

Fuzzy fleeces, soft feathers, and bristly hides rub against hands at a petting zoo where kids can also ride a pony and milk a cow

50% Off Tour at Ellwood House Museum

Ellwood House Museum

DeKalb

$16 $8

Tours of the estate of Isaac Ellwood, one of the wealthiest men in Illinois in the late 1800s, feature a barbed-wire exhibit and a playhouse

41% Off a Stunt-Airplane or Warplane Ride

Gauntlet Warbirds

Sugar Grove

$440 $259

(10)

A seasoned flight instructor leads a 40-minute joy ride aboard an Extra 300L aerobatic plane or a T-6 Texan warplane

Select Local Merchants

The most enticing exhibits at the Illinois Railway Museum don't sit in glass cases. Instead, they can be found chugging along the five-mile mainline or the one-mile streetcar loop at various points in the day, giving visitors an opportunity to witness these antique machines functioning the way they were meant to do. This emphasis on living history is a key part of the museum's mission to educate visitors about the growth and development of the railroad industry throughout the Chicagoland area as well as the United States in general.

Although it already possesses extensive collections of trolley coaches, electric cars, diesel engines, steam locomotives, and hovercraft, the Illinois Railway Museum is still bent on acquiring more pieces, hoping to eventually represent each major chronological period in the history of rail travel. The museum's technicians do their best to restore antique equipment whenever possible, either by rebuilding original parts or by using modern reproductions and cosmetic touches to fill in the blanks. This ensures that visitors will not only be able to see restored, full-sized versions of historic rolling stock, but can also witness them in motion and even ride some of them.

Beyond the locomotives and cars, the Illinois Railway Museum also features a broad assortment of historical artifacts. Antique signals, telegraph and communications equipment, tools, uniforms, and ticket stubs are all available for viewing for guests hoping to learn even more about America's railroad history.

7000 Olson Rd.
Union,
IL
US

When he shuts up his workshop at the North Pole after another successful holiday season, Santa Claus doesn't simply hibernate until next December. Instead, he packs up his sleigh and heads to his summer home at the Fox River Valley's Santa's Village Azoosment Park. Open from May to October, the wonderland greets guests with three separate amusement experiences. The fun begins in Santa's Village, where quaint alpine building and expertly manicured pathways awaken feelings of nostalgia in hearts young and old. There, visitors can zoom down the original Santa's Tree House Slide, hitch a ride on the Kringle Convoy, or snap a picture at a recreation of Santa's North Pole home. They can also tap into the amusement rides including the antique carousel, the Tilt-A-Whirl, and Dracor the Dragon's Coaster.

A renowned lover of animals, Santa has also filled his park with a menagerie of creatures both familiar and exotic. After visiting Rudolph and company at Reindeer Ridge, visitors can grab a ride on a horse-drawn sleigh on their way to see the denizens of Parakeet Paradise, Tortoise Island, or Old MacDonald's Farm and Petting Zoo. In addition to grabbing up-close peeks of everything from a red-tailed boa to a fennec fox, visitors can also take in an exotic animal show that educates audience members about the park's wild residents.

Always in the holiday spirit, the park welcomes groups looking to add a spark to reunions, birthday, or group outings. This accommodating spirit even extends to the park's rule book: parking is free, and picnic baskets are encouraged.

601 Dundee Ave.
East Dundee,
IL
US

All Community Events gathers together athletes of all stripes to set off on brisk, well-organized outdoor runs. In the one-mile Run the Pier jaunt, sprinters can goggle at the skyscrapers surrounding Navy Pier, dash beneath its towering ferris wheel, and reach underneath the pier to grab fistfuls of the cotton candy keeping it afloat before finishing through its welcoming arch. The World's Largest Corn Maze Run/Walk weaves through five kilometers of paths that wind through a dense cornfield, while a pair of Turkey Trots let exercise-hounds burn off calories in advance of the day's traditional feast. Though its exact date will be pinned down as the event draws closer, the Chi Town Half Marathon pits runners against 13.1 miles of verdant north-side terrain. The challenging but beginner-friendly race's March date places it well before most of the year's other major races, and provides a compelling reason to step outside during the dark, werewolf-riddled chill of winter.

9407 Richardson Rd
Spring Grove,
IL
US

In 1848, dairy cows grazed on the 30 acres that now host the Volo Auto Museum’s five showrooms. The mooing of heifers has given way to the imaginary roar of 200 collector cars and 100 gleaming autos that once graced movie and television sets—including a Batmobile from the 1966 TV series, a Herbie from the latest movie, and one of the first General Lees. After ogling the television and movie collection, guests can wander among vintage and antique vehicles and reminisce about the days when we still had to go places in person.

Nearby, the military exhibit’s realistic scenery surrounds vehicles ranging from a WWII BMW motorcycle with sidecar to a 1967 Bell helicopter shot down in Vietnam. After examining older artillery and artifacts, visitors can gaze at cases holding items retrieved from Saddam Hussein’s palace and from captured Iraqi soldiers. Those below driving age can explore kids’ attractions, including SpongeBob’s boatmobile.

Guests traverse the vast showrooms on foot or via a 1915, Victorian-style trolley, free on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Trolley tours begin by exploring autos that used to be stabled by the rich and famous alongside their unicorns. They then venture into the old dairy farm’s 19th-century barn, where activity by Civil War ghosts has drawn investigators from the Discover Channel’s Ghost Lab. Before leaving, visitors can refuel with an Angus-beef patty at the Betty Boop Burger Bar and Beer Garden or drop into four antique malls.

27582 Volo Village Rd
Volo,
IL
US

A kids' firehouse sets the stage for hands-on, imaginative activities at FireZone, where actual firefighters show off fire engines, explain educational displays, and oversee games for kids of all ages. In addition to children’s parties and drop-in play sessions, FireZone runs school field trips, caters to adults with corporate training days, and rents fire trucks for picnics, parades, and festivals.

1100 National Pkwy
Schaumburg,
IL
US

Eric and Markay Suevel have run the eponymous Suevel Studios—a full-service glass studio that creates custom pieces and hosts classes—for more than 30 years. Both proprietors have practiced the art for decades, but their partnership marries two distinct approaches. Eric learned the craft at a young age from his uncle, and Markay possesses a liturgical perspective as an ordained minister with a master’s in divinity. They cut and fuse alongside a team of worldly and learned glassworkers, all of whom bring their own specific expertise to the table, whether doing restoration work or mosaics. The studio's stained-glass work lights up churches, homes, and restaurants as well as their students’ faces after they complete one of 25 classes. There, apprentices acquire the skills required to decorate household windows or liven up bland, translucent reading glasses.

870 S Arthur Ave
Arlington Heights,
IL
US