FREE Family Adventures! Find Your No-Cost Cure for Cabin Fever {Round-Up}

Winter in Lake County often means you’re coping with stir-crazy children.  There’s really only so many Pixar DVD’s one can stomach, and by now you’re running out of toilet paper rolls for craft time.  You are due for an outing, but family excursions can really add up and put a strain on your wallet.  Here are a few of our favorite and FREE family activities and destinations:

free family adventures

Wildlife Discovery Center, Lake Forest  | (847) 810-3663
{Click here for my review}
Nature center, museum, and wildlife sanctuary located at Elawa Farm in the Middlefork Savanna featuring live reptiles, amphibians, fish, birds, and a bobcat.  Highly-trained animal keepers are on-site to educate and even help your child pet the animals.

Jelly Belly Center
© J. Reedy | Little Lake County.com | 2017

Jelly Belly Warehouse Tour, Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin | (866) 868-7522
{Click here for a review}
Visit the Jelly Belly Visitor Center just over the border in Wisconsin, and ride the Jelly Belly Express Train for a warehouse and video tour.  Learn the company’s history, see how the candy is made, and check out the fun jelly bean artwork as you travel down “Candy Alley.”

Prairie Grass Nature Museum, Round Lake | (847) 740-9823
Explore realistic Lake County habitats, live animals and nature-related programs year-round.

Photo Source: Vernon Hills Park District Facebook Page.

Sledding Hills
It might not be so fun to scrape off your car, but winter snow can be the perfect playground for junior thrill-seekers.  If your backyard lacks the incline, there’s a hill near you for some fast-paced fun.

Museum Adventure Pass
Your library card can get you free admission (or discounts) to participating Chicago area cultural attractions like Brookfield Zoo or Chicago Botanic Garden.  Check out a Museum Adventure Pass at your local participating library and start exploring!

Blue Star Museums
Blue Star Museums is a partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts to offer free admission to active military personnel and their families to more than 1,500 museums nationwide.  While this is actually a summer program, many of the participating museums continue to offer free admission through the winter and spring including the Chicago Children’s Museum (free admission for military personnel and up to 3 family members.)


Dinosaur Discovery Museum, Kenosha, WI | 262) 653-4450
{Click here for a review}
A small museum with one main gallery displaying an impressive array of theropod dinosaur fossils.  Head downstairs and visit the Carthage Institute of Paleontology, a research laboratory where fossils are prepared and conserved; and also the Kids Discovery Lab where little ones can color, create dinosaur rubbings or just read up on their favorite pre-historic creature.  Check their calendar for Dino Digs, a hands-on learning opportunity for ages 3 and up to dig for dinosaurs.


Don’t forget your local public library makes a great destination any day of the week, and not just for books.  Crafts, puzzles, storytime and other diversions await.  Find your nearest public library here, and then check out their website for program offerings.

Did we miss any fun freebies?  
Share the love in the comments below!

Dance academy of Libertyville
About Loralie 305 Articles
When Loralie isn’t out exploring with her two pint-sized adventurers you’ll often find her in front of her computer plotting to take over the world (or at least Lake County.) She appreciates good friends, good food, expensive shoes and parents who make two lanes in the drop-off/pick-up line at school. Her spirit animal is The Hobbit. She invites you to join her on her quest for unique distractions, diversions and deliciousness in this county we call home. She is the Features Editor and Marketing Director at Little Lake County.

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