Sightseeing in Woodstock

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

Haunted Hometowns, Corp.

Elgin

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

$90 $45

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

Bachman Aero

Schaumburg

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

$295 $149

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Day or Holiday Lights Night Helicopter Tour for Two From Chicago Helicopter Experience

Chicago Helicopter Experience

Wheeling

Passengers soar over the skyline, marveling at the Willis Tower, John Hancock Building, and Trump Tower by day or by night

$288

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Geneva Lake Museum Visit for Two, Four, or Six (Up to 50% Off)

Geneva Lake Museum

Lake Geneva

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

$14 $7

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Nicholas Conservatory & Gardens Visit for Two or Four (Up to 50% Off)

Nicholas Conservatory & Gardens

Sinnissippi Park

11,000 sq. ft. exhibition space features tropical ferns and palm trees in a serene setting with sculptures, water features, and benches

$16 $8

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$12 for Visit for Two Adults and Two Kids and One $5 Gift Voucher to Klehm Arboretum ($23 Value)

Klehm Arboretum & Botanic Garden

Klehm Arboretum & Botanic Garden

Get access to the 155-acre living museum’s floral exhibits, forested paths, and children’s gardens, plus a gift-shop voucher

$23 $12

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Wine Tasting for Two or Four with Complimentary Glasses and Cheese Plate at Hailey's Winery (Up to 51% Off)

Hailey's Winery

Byron

Sample a variety of handcrafted red and white wines

$35 $18

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Holiday Tour of Lincoln-Tallman House for 2, 4, or 6 at Rock County Historical Society (50% Off)

Rock County Historical Society

Janesville

Take a guided tour of a Italianate mansion where Abraham Lincoln once stayed; elaborate holiday decor brings cheer to the home

$16 $8

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

Gauntlet Warbirds

Aurora

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

$440 $259

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Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center Membership for a Family or Individual (Up to 40% Off)

Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center

Skokie

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

$40 $25

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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

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

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

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

The Elgin History Museum seeks to preserve and share the history of the city of Elgin. Boasting Greek Revival-style architecture, the first floor exhibits show how Elgin developed form the 1830's to through the 1970's. Its museum focuses on the town's industry, its architecture, and, most importantly, its citizens. The second floor's thematic exhibits cover the world-renowned Elgin National Watch Factory, which employed generations of residents, and the Hiawatha Pageant, which was put on for 50 years to help preserve local Native American dances.

  • Size: five permanent exhibits, plus a handful of temporary exhibits

  • The Building: called Old Main, it was built in 1856 for the Elgin Academy prep school and is now listed in the National Register of Historic Places

  • Eye Catcher: Check out a replica of Elgin's first cabin, built by the Gifford family, who are credited as the city's founders

  • Permanent Mainstay: Elgin Road Races, which chronicles the competitions held in town beginning over 100 years ago in the early days of auto racing

  • Don't Miss: Explore Elgin Architecture illuminates the city's many design styles, from settlers' cobblestone homes to Victorian architecture to bungalows

  • Hands-On Exhibit: Watch Your Pocket allows kids to build a pocket-watch prototype as if they were working on the assembly line at the watch factory

  • Pro Tip: through the Adventure Pass program, Illinois residents can use their library card for free admission to this museum and 16 others

360 Park St
Elgin,
IL
US

Situated inside the historic Power & Light building, the Geneva Lake Museum replicates Lake Geneva's Main Street from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Inside the museum, visitors stroll around admiring the turn-of-the-century Georgian and Italianate architecture that forms historic stores, a school room, and a 1920s dental workstation, among other spaces. Guests may walk into the rooms themselves and closely examine old-fashioned farm implements, a telephone switchboard, or Potawatami tools and arrowheads. Beyond Main Street, museum visitors can study up on Frank Lloyd Wright's Hotel Geneva or the Chicago & North Western Railway. Sightseers can also explore Lake Geneva, the city's namesake and a 7.6-mile body of water that empties into the White River. The lake is surrounded by a 23-mile public path, which makes the area attractive to Midwesterners who want to take a scenic day trip or ducks that want to train for a marathon.

255 Mill St
Lake Geneva,
WI
US