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Chicagoland is all the getaway you’ll ever need. It’s small towns and rolling hills and the infinite natural scenery you’ll only find outside the city. But beyond the charm, Chicagoland is also home to an array of activities you’ll be surprised to find in the suburbs.

While Chicago might seem like the ultimate destination, the reality is that time together will likely get lost in the hustle and bustle that is downtown. But in Itasca and other towns like it, you’ll discover things to do that will enhance your family experience instead of distract from it. That’s why, in Chicagoland, you can count on making memories worth looking back on.

Get a blast from the past, test your family’s smarts in a high-stakes situation, embark on a safari or simply stroll around a farm, all in the quaint Chicagoland area. Look no further than Itasca for some of the best things to do with kids near Chicago.

kids playing medieval times

Medieval Times

Travel back about 600 years to the midst of the middle ages at Medieval Times. Dig into what would’ve been the queen’s favorite dishes, like roasted chicken, herb-basted potatoes, and the dessert of the castle. As you eat, cheer on the knights that take the arena. 

Watch as they joust, sword fight, or otherwise clash over various weaponry of the era. Stick around to witness a falcon take flight (but be sure to keep your arms and fingers to yourself). Then look on as majestic stallions perform the art of dressage, a graceful dance involving synchronized leaps and movements.

Pirate’s Cove Children’s Theme Park

Take your kids to play like pirates at Pirate’s Cove Children’s Theme Park. This nearby fantasyland brings the best of the open seas right to Chicago. Kids can paddle in the Barnacle Bay Boats, sail the seven seas in Pete’s Pirate Ship, or race down the Pirate Plunge. But Pirate’s Cove isn’t all play--it’s education and entertainment, too. 

Kids will love learning to rock climb on PJ’s Perch or watching the daily performances at the Swashbuckler Wharf Fun Stage. Kids and parents alike can ride along on the Safari Express, where you’ll see animals in the wild. The park also hosts special events on Wednesdays and Fridays, like Haunted Cove and Wizard Day.

kid dressed up as pirate
kids in bumper cars

Safari Land

Embark on the ultimate adventure through Safari Land’s 62,000 square feet of indoor rides and amusements. As the name suggests, Safari Land is full of animal-themed attractions that kids won’t be able to get enough of. They can bounce around on the Monkey Jump, or even ride the Tiger Terror Roller Coaster, the largest year-round, indoor roller coaster in Illinois. 

But don’t think Safari Land is just for kids. The whole family can hop into the Snake Pit Bumper Cars, take a ride on the Maxflight Simulator, or play arcade games or a round of bowling. Within Safari Land you’ll also find Atlantis Restaurant so you can stock up on salads, hamburgers, homemade pizza, and more before heading back out to play.

Kline Creek Farm

Immerse your family in a world of 19th-century farm activities at quaint Kline Creek Farm. True to its roots in the 1890’s, Kline Creek Farm retains much of its original structures and activities--if only just for show. The restored farmstead buildings are populated by costumed interpreters, sharing with visitors the farm’s living history. 

Here, activities like baking, canning, harvesting, sheep shearing, and ice cutting are on display along with original and reproduced artifacts authentic to farm-life. Staff and volunteers plant heirloom fruits and vegetables in the kitchen garden, and even lean on Percheron work horses to help plant and harvest crops of corn, oats, and other grains. You can also get up close and personal with resident livestock like Southdown sheep, Shorthorn cattle, and chickens.

D.O.A. Room Escape

Test your teamwork--and your grit--at the D.O.A Room Escape adventure. Each of the three rooms features an escape scenario based on a historical event, which means each room is as real as it feels. Save your family from perishing in the Chicago Fire of 1871; dodge the mob on the day of the St. Valentine’s Day Day Massacre; or survive the wrath of H.H. Holmes, believed to be the first serial killer in the United States. 

The rooms are always compelling and sometimes creepy, encouraging bonding moments among even the most reluctant family members. After all, nothing brings you closer than narrowly escaping death together. Just be sure to make it out before 60 minutes have passed.

Discover family attractions that will bring you closer together. Chicagoland is full of them. As you traverse Itasca’s rolling hills and enjoy the lush forests, experience along with them the many things to do with kids that will make your getaway that much more memorable. Get out of the city and into the suburbs and experience quality time with the family the way you always hoped it would be.