Sightseeing in Vernon Hills

Up to 51% Off a Helicopter Tour of Chicago

Wheeling

$360 $199

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

Up to 50% Off Fine Wine

Grayslake

$20 $11

Variety of wine made in small batches, including table wine, seasonal wine, and fortified wine

49% Off Helicopter Flying Lesson

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 57% Off BYOB Art Class or Kids' Art Party

Park Ridge

$30 $16

A skilled artist-instructor leads two-hour BYOB art classes and kids' art parties, which can include painting or ceramics

Up to 53% Off at Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center

Skokie

$12 $6

(29)

The museum honors Holocaust victims, telling their stories with artifacts and interactive exhibits that urge visitors to fight intolerance

Mitchell Museum of the American Indian – 50% Off Visit

Evanston

$10 $5

Visitors can view 8 exhibits highlighting the diverse cultures of American Indian and First Nation peoples from throughout the US and Canada

51% off Cemetery Ghost Hunt from Haunted Hometowns

Elgin

$90 $45

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

41% Off a Stunt-Airplane or Warplane Ride

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

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

Thrown Elements Pottery encapsulates the joys of sculpting and painting pots in energetic classes and drop-in activities. Drop-in paint-your-own pottery sessions allow amateur artists to decorate pottery on their own schedule either at the studio or at home ($9 a day for adults plus the cost of the piece painted). Choose a pre-fired piece of dinnerware ($8–$18) and adorn it with rainbow stripes or make a creature ($11–$18) come to life using only a paintbrush and a bolt of lightning. Specialty pieces may vary in price outside of average price ranges listed.

260 N Evergreen Ave
Arlington Heights,
IL
US

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

With more than 23,000 square feet of public space, Kohl Children's Museum gives its young visitors plenty of rooms in which to play. The kid-focused facility houses 16 permanent exhibits for infants and children up to 8 years of age, each filled with hands-on activities designed to encourage learning and exploration.

City on the Move helps children learn about Chicago by challenging them to build city scenes from geometric shapes or crank an electricity-generating wheel to power a pretend John Hancock Center. Kids can follow animal footprints to their source in Nature Explorers, move musical notes to create melodies in Ravinia Festival Music Makers, or explore the rotating temporary exhibits.

2100 Patriot Blvd
Glenview,
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