Sightseeing in Plano

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

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

50% Off Ghost Tours of Naperville

Ghost Tours of Naperville

Central Park

$50 $25

Paranormal investigator guides guests on a 90- to 120-minute ghost tour that examines haunted locations and covers 1/4 mile

Up to 51% Off at Joliet Area Historical Museum

Joliet Area Historical Museum

Joliet

$12 $6

History museum mines the past of the town of Joliet, its people, and how their stories relate to the whole of American history

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

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

KidsWork Children's Museum – Up to 47% Off Visit

KidsWork Children's Museum

Frankfort

$24 $14

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Programs such as music classes and story time as well as exhibits including a floor piano and instruments made from recycled materials

41% Off a Stunt-Airplane or Warplane Ride

Gauntlet Warbirds

Sugar Grove

$440 $259

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

Throughout the Halloween season, mad scientists overrun a section of SciTech Hands On Museum to construct a haunted laboratory. The 20- to 25-minute, ghoul-infested journey hijacks 200 of the museum's interactive exhibits and exploits the brainpower of the museum's Fermilab physicist founders to create an experience as terrifyingly educational as a pre-calc class taught by a wild boar. Adults and older children brave enough to step across the spooky threshold will encounter wispy tendrils of smoke and fluttering strobe lights winding up and down the museum's two floors. Bubbling beakers, freakish goblins, the George Foreman Grill, and other byproducts of experiments gone horribly awry loom in the museum's shadowy corridors. Once troops have braved the Haunted Museum, the main museum awaits, where guests can interact with noncursed exhibits or slip into the gift shop or café.

18 W Benton St
Aurora,
IL
US

In 1987, Louise Beem and Dorothy Carpenter were early-childhood-education specialists. Based on their combined experience—gained from teaching preschool, founding the College of DuPage's early-childhood-education program, and being grandmothers—the two friends felt that traditional methods of teaching youngsters were less than optimal at the time. Their brainchild, the DuPage Children's Museum, began that same year. The pair designed the museum's colorful exhibits to incorporate interactive and open-ended elements, which they believed more closely matched the way kids learn and naturally process information, a discovery they say has now been corroborated by findings in neuroscience research.

In that vein, the three-story museum engages young neurons with interactive art, math, and science-themed attractions. Giving little hands the chance to explore, the AWEsome Electricity exhibit bridges the gap between the electric-powered gadgets and lights families use every day to where all that nonbreakfast-based energy comes from. Kids learn how electricity gets from one place to another and what its basic units are while at play in the museum's signature hands-on spaces. Elsewhere, the Young Explorers exhibit is designed for children aged 2 and under, who develop math skills by learning concepts such as sorting and patterning and express their creativity by experimenting with color and light.

301 N Washington St.
Naperville,
IL
US

In 1961, 30 artists banded together to form the Naperville Art League in the hopes of nurturing community appreciation of arts and culture. The optimistic, determined bunch gathered in the basement of the First National Bank of Naperville and held art classes in their own homes, not annexing an official space until 1978. Today, a group of painters, photographers, and sculptors carries on the tradition of interartist camaraderie and education in better-equipped digs. A spacious gallery hosts art shows, as well as a monthly exhibit of members' work created around a theme, such as Fabulous Fakes or Changing Lanes. Artists also infect the community with a passion for the arts by teaching classes for adults and children. In addition to traditional styles such as oil painting and pen drawing, artists acquaint groups with esoteric art forms such as mosaics, needle felting, or collaging shredded bank statements.

508 N Center St
Naperville,
IL
US

Established: 1965
Reservations/Appointments: Required
Staff Size: 2–10 people
Average Duration of Services: 1–2 hours
Parking: Parking lot
Most Popular Attraction/Offering: Guided tours
Recommended Age Group: All Ages
Pro Tip: Wear comfortable shoes.

Q&A with the Executive Director

What are the museum's origins?
The museum has been operating since Mrs. Ellwood donated the mansion and property to the DeKalb Park District; currently, the estate consists of seven historic structures and 10 acres. A guided tour takes 60 to 90 minutes. Guided tours are the only option for seeing the museum.

What is one fun, unusual fact about your business?
The mansion was built in 1879 from [the] income Isaac Ellwood received from his half ownership in the first barbed-wire manufacturing company.

Is there anything else you want to add that we didn't cover?
The 1891 playhouse is a scale model of a Victorian home and once served as a parade float for the builder to showcase his home-building skills. By the late 1800s, it was acquired by the Ellwoods and became a playhouse. Entering the little building is part of the tour, but it is not handicap accessible. There is an 1865 cemetery located just beyond the woods.

509 North 1st Street
DeKalb,
IL
US

By highlighting the goings-on in the community of Joliet, The Joliet Area Historical Museum scans the entirety of American history from the perspective of the town's inhabitants. Housed inside the former Ottawa Street Methodist Church, multimedia exhibits artfully assembled from audio-visual displays, touch screens, and life-size models illustrate the stories plucked from the eventful timelines of the town and its people. Occupying two full stories, permanent exhibit The Soaring Achievements of John C. Houbolt honors the life and work of former resident Dr. Houbolt, who had a primary role in NASA's race to the moon. The exhibit's life-size Lunar Lander even allows guests to step inside and glimpse the accommodations and controls, revealing a control panel more complicated than a single button labeled "Go to Moon." In addition to its permanent collection, the museum also keeps an active calendar full of special events; check the schedule for a complete list of programming.

204 N Ottawa St
Joliet,
IL
US

The Genuine Article is a studio, a workshop, a gallery, a bead shop and a hands on classroom. You may be thinking this is a lot in one location, but we have something no one else has, Betty James Hoppensteadt a professional artist for over 30 years.

201 W Front St
Wheaton,
IL
US