Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Exploring the Area: Family Adventures

A number of conference-goers might be bringing along family members who will want to find other things to do with their time. Here are a few suggestions in nearby DuPage County.
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DuPage County has a number of places of interest to children. Santa's Village Amusement Park is located in the beautiful Fox River Valley at East Dundee. It is affordable and has free parking and picnic areas. Divided into three parts, Old MacDonald’s Farm, Santa’s World and Coney Island, the park has 30 rides, live shows and other attractions. Located at the same site is a water park with kid’s pools, tubing and water slides. Nearby you will find Grand Prix Go-Karts and Bumper Boats.

The DuPage Children’s Museum is located in Naperville. The museum, on Washington Street just south of Ogden Avenue (Rte 34), is hard to miss with its brightly painted exterior. The hands-on museum lets kids experience the worlds of art, math, and science. There is a family resource center and library.

Cosley Zoo in Wheaton is another place small people might enjoy. It’s not a big city zoo, but a nice place to go on a summer afternoon. Goats, llamas, horses, and deer are among the inhabitants. An historic train station is also located in the park along with a caboose. There are picnic areas, a gift shop and a concession stand. The zoo is located at 1356 North Gary Avenue.

Outside of West Chicago, in the heart of Illinois farm land, is a pleasant site for visitors of all ages. The Kline Creek Farm is located on County Farm Road, just north-east of town. A real 1800’s farm, the barn, house and out-buildings are original. The charming house is furnished just as it was when the family lived there. There are guided tours regularly. It is a good way to remind ourselves of “the way things were” not too long ago and to show our children the good (and maybe some of the bad) of the “good old days.”

Cantigny is a great spot for everyone. The estate was built as a home for Robert J. McCormick who lived there until his death in 1955. The mansion, maintained by the Cantigny Foundation as an historic building, has 35 rooms, 12 fireplaces, 13 bathrooms and four staircases. The foundation is in the process of restoring it to its original condition. The First Division Museum at Cantigny is dedicated to the memory of the 1st Infantry Division of the U.S. Army. In 1993 an enlarged museum was opened holding state of the art interactive and experimental exhibits.

The grounds and greenhouses of the estate are a joy to visit. There are a greenhouse, outdoor nursery, and a formal garden. There are so many beautiful flowers and plants to see you can spend all day. All flowers and plants are grown on the estate. In addition there are a golf course, clubhouse, and picnic areas on the property. This estate is located on Roosevelt Road (Rte 38) just west of Wheaton.

All of these sites are easily reached from the conference site by way of Illinois Toll Roads.

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