Sightseeing in Gages Lake

$9 for a Tour for One at The Gold Pyramid ($15 Value)

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

Helicopter Tour of Chicago for Two or Four from Chicago Helicopter Express (Up to 51% Off)

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

Visit for Two or Four to Kohl Children's Museum (Up to 50% Off)

Kohl Children's Museum

Glenview

$22 $14

(99)

Two-acre outdoor sculpture park and 16 other interactive exhibits teach children how to build a house, harness natural power, and make art

$149 for a Helicopter Flying Lesson and Flight from Bachman Aero ($295 Value)

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

Weekday or Weekend Admission for One, Two, or Four at Illinois Railway Museum (Up to 50% Off)

Illinois Railway Museum

Coral

$10 $5

Watch restored antique train cars in operation, then check out memorabilia from the Chicagoland and national rail industries

Three-Hour Elgin Cemetery Ghost Hunt for Two or Four from Haunted Hometowns (51% Off)

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

Admission for Four Adults, or Membership for One Adult or Family at Elgin History Museum (Up to 51% Off)

Elgin History Museum

Eastside Elgin

$12 $8

Two floors of history exhibits reflecting Elgin's rich past, including a collection of Elgin Watches and Elgin Road Race memorabilia

40-Minute Ride in a Extra 300L Stunt Airplane or T-6 Texan Trainer Warplane from Gauntlet Warbirds (41% Off)

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

Haunted Walking Tour for Two or Four from Voices From Beyond Tours (Up to 51% Off)

Voices From Beyond Tours

Elmhurst College's Mill Theater

$40 $20

Haunted-history blogger and former criminal investigator partner with paranormal investigators to lead tours of Elmhurst’s haunted spots

$9 for a Public Riverboat Cruise for Two from St. Charles Paddlewheel Riverboats ($15 Value) 

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

Geneva Lake Museum Visit for Two, Four, or Six (Up to Half Off)

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

Select Local Merchants

Over the past quarter century, Serpent Safari's indoor zoo has amassed a collection of rare reptiles that have appeared in publications such as National Geographic. Animals of impressive age, unusual coloring (such as an albino alligator), and Guinness World Record-holding weight have all called the Safari their home. Originally founded as a reptile adoption and education center, the Safari now runs guided tours and birthday parties that usher children through the world of scaly, cold-blooded creatures known as bankers into the diverse realm of reptiles. Following the tours, patrons can partake in photo opportunities with giant snakes, or take home a friend from the pet store.

6170 Grand Ave
Gurnee,
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

Mark McMahon has been documenting people and their environments nationally and internationally for more than forty years. His on-location works are included in museums, exhibitions, private and corporate collections.

321 S Ridge Rd
Lake Forest,
IL
US

A family walks down a lane cut into a sprawling field of corn, striding confidently until they reach a fork. After a debate, they turn left, and eventually left again. A wooden bridge leapfrogs them to a new path, lined with rows of eerily similar corn stalks. Luckily, it's a balmy day, the blue sky striated with wispy clouds, and they're not in a hurry to emerge from the green ocean of corn.

From an observation deck nearby, the 28-acre cornfield looks like a postage stamp inside the 450-acre farm, which grows soybeans, corn, and more than 50,000 Christmas trees. Homesteaded in 1840, the land is now owned and worked by a third generation of Richardsons. The family wanted to welcome visitors to the farm to enjoy the rural, outdoorsy fun that could only fit on such a sprawling space. They planted the corn maze?among the world's largest?and devised other attractions such as a zipline and paintball gallery. Visitors can also cheer on racing pigs, pet animals in an interactive zoo, and participate in different maze games. In autumn families come to pick pumpkins and in winter they cut their own Christmas trees.

909 English Prairie Rd.
Spring Grove,
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

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