You’ll have to travel outside of Chicagoland for this one, but not very far, and it will definitely be worth it! Cave of the Mounds is a National Natural Landmark, all limestone cave, located near Madison, Wisconsin. When you visit you can take a guided tour through the cave, which is 50 degrees year round, and learn about the geological and geographical history of the cave and surrounding land. You’ll learn about how this rare find was discovered, and steps that are being taken to preserve this natural treasure. You’ll be guided on a paved, well lit, path through the cave, so it’s perfect for people of all ages and abilities. You’ll see colorful stalactites and stalagmites, columns, and even something called "cave bacon!" Whether you’re a cave enthusiast, or have never explored the land beneath your feet before, you’ll enjoy this experience immensely.
Deicke Discovery Zone is more than just a standard playground. This park is ADA certified which means it’s completely wheelchair accessible and has been designed with special needs children in mind. This park seeks to include children of all abilities, especially children ages 1-5. The unique design of this park, and the interactive play elements, make it fun and engaging for everyone. The actual Discovery Zone is a gated area that offers a “mud-free” play area, with soft rubber flooring in most areas, so it’s particularly great for springtime play! The playground is fully interactive and includes a music area, a fire truck and a train crossing, all which play various sound effects. There is a basketball court with hoops of different heights, a replica of the buildings and businesses found in downtown Huntley, as well as swings and slides. There’s a large sand and water area too, so be sure to bring along a towel and a change of clothes for your little ones for when they’re done playing here.
Kline Creek Farm, located in West Chicago and a part of the DuPage County Forest Preserve District, provides visitors with a hands-on peek into the past. This farm provides a glance back at what farm life looked like in the Midwest in the 1890’s. You’ll find a lot to do year-round at Kline Creek, but spring time on the farm is especially interesting. March is lambing season, so be sure to visit the lamb’s barn where you will hear from staff, all dressed in traditional clothing, about how the newest additions to the farm are cared for. You’ll also find that all the maple trees around the farm are tapped as they collect the sap to make maple syrup. A large cast iron kettle sits in the center of the farm over a low fire, as they boil the sap to create the sweet syrup we all love. You can learn from experts about the sugaring process, and you can even taste the sap directly from the trees.
Garfield Park Conservatory is located in the neighborhood of Garfield Park in Chicago. This conservatory houses lovely plants of all kinds, and whether you enjoy botany and gardening as a hobby, or have a black-thumb, there is something to be enjoyed by everyone! It’s perfect for those spring days when you want to be outside and in nature, but can’t due to the weather. Best of all, it's an affordable activity for a family! Entry is advertised as free, but they suggest a donation to help keep the facility beautiful.
For our first feature in our “Out and About with Compass” series, we’re highlighting Brookfield Zoo! This zoo is one of the best in the country, and lucky for us, it’s close which means we can visit often. At Brookfield, there are more than 216 acres to explore, and it’s home to thousands of different animals from all over the world.
Spring has officially sprung in Chicagoland, and after a long winter spent indoors, we couldn’t be more excited to get back outside. Some cities are gifted nice weather all year round, but here in Chicago, we earn the sunshine! Luckily for us, there’s plenty to do in and around the city this time of year. So whether you’re visiting our city for the first time, or a tried-and-true Chicagoan, we hope this new blog series, “Out and About with Compass”, gives you and your family some fresh ideas to get you outside, enjoying all our city and its suburbs, has to offer.
If you are a golf pro, outdoor enthusiast, beachgoer or theme park lover, at least one of these vacation spots will appeal to you. Even more appealing, the home prices! According to Zillow’s “Best Places to Buy a Vacation Home” list, these are the top four spots based on location, price and investment potential.