Zoo in Midlothian

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Johansen Farms started more than 85 years ago, when Hans Johansen and his family immigrated to Illinois from Copenhagen. Upon their arrival, the family started to grow and sell flowers and vegetables, slowly transforming their business from a roadside farm stand into a flourishing plant empire.

Today, sunlight filters into Johansen Farms’ 24 greenhouses, illuminating scarlet petals and verdant tendrils as they rise from beds of moist earth. Within these humid growing centers, gardeners cultivate more than 2,000 varieties of plants and flowers, from blooming annuals to hearty grasses. Guests meander at will, stopping to sniff baby flower buds and eye appetizing fruits and veggies.

710 E Boughton Rd
Bolingbrook,
IL
US

Lincoln Park Zoo is a living, breathing, and sometimes roaring historical landmark that has delighted Chicago families since its founding in 1868. Anyone can simply walk into the zoo and immediately enter an exotic world of wild-animal habitats—without having to pay a cent. Beyond their animal exhibits, Lincoln Park Zoo stands as a leader in conservation science, both at the local and global level. They work towards the highest possible animal care and educational outreach.

My Chicago by Giuliana Rancic

E! News anchor and Fashion Police host Giuliana Rancic was born in Italy but she has strong ties to Chicago—namely, her husband Bill, the Trump-approved entrepreneur and restaurateur behind RPM Italian. In the My Chicago by Giuliana Rancic collection, the star of Giuliana & Bill gives the scoop on her favorite local spots to get glammed up, be entertained in style, and even shop for Bill.

Shop the Collection

2200 N. Cannon Dr.
Chicago,
IL
US

The Ernest Hemingway Foundation of Oak Park fosters understanding of the life and work of Ernest Hemingway, with emphasis on his Oak Park origins and his impact on world literature.

We run the Hemingway Birthplace Home and the Hemingway Museum, plus offering scholarly and popular programming and entertainment year-round.

200 N Oak Park Ave
Oak Park,
IL
US

• For $4, you get two adult admission tickets to the museum (up to an $8 value; museum admission is free on Fridays, and on all days for active armed forces members). • For $15, you get a one-year individual membership (a $30 value).

220 S Cottage Hill Ave
Elmhurst,
IL
US

The amphitheater at Fair Oaks Farms doesn’t host agriculture-themed theater productions, or talks by resident farmers and cheese-makers. Instead, it’s the stage for an astonishing real-life drama. Before a giant wall of glass, audience members hold their breath as they watch a dairy cow give birth atop a bed of hay. Its calf enters the world in full view, rising up on its wobbling legs and hearing the sound of dozens of human hearts melting at once for the very first time. It all happens approximately 80 times each day.

The birthing barn anchors the farm's Dairy Adventure tour, giving families and school children a literal window into the world of sustainable dairy farming. At Fair Oaks Farms, the sustainability is as important as the milks and cheeses. As the New York Times recently reported, the farm creates natural gas from livestock waste. This ever-replenished source powers 10 barns, a cheese factory, an ice cream parlor, and everything else at the farm. It even becomes fuel for delivery trucks, which take raw milk to processing plants in three different states.

A lot of the dairy products stay right on the farm, however. At the onsite café, staffers serve countless glasses of chocolate milk and plates of grilled cheese sandwiches, the most popular items on the menu. The dining area overlooks the farm's cheese-making and milk-bottling facilities, so diners see exactly where their snack comes from.

As for the cafe's produce, it comes directly from the farm's Green Garden Gate, a collection of gardens that sit in the shadow of a 25-foot milk bottle. The oversized container, known as "Udder Heights," is actually a climbing wall complete with belay systems and footholds. It stands at the center of Mooville, an outdoor play area that also contains train rides and a giant jumping pillow for when someone orders a milkshake.

856 N 600 E
Fair Oaks,
IN
US

In Wheaton, a day at the park is never the same twice—unless, of course, you want it to be. The Wheaton Park District maintains 53 facilities that encompass everything from pools to hiking trails that weave through the area's lush outdoors. With just a glance at a few of its destinations and attractions, it becomes apparent that the district is serious about its commitment to "enrich the quality of community life."

The Prairie Path Minigolf Course and The Rail, for instance, take up residence at Clocktower Commons. Here, 18 mini-golf holes wind past a central water feature while a 12,000-square-foot skate park lets inline skaters and skateboarders practice tricks that are simply too rad for their parents' driveways. Wheaton Park District also includes The DuPage County Historical Museum and the Cosley Zoo, where a trip into the barn introduces visitors to goats, wooly llamas, and other local wildlife.

102 E Wesley St
Wheaton,
IL
US