Family-Friendly Spring Break Ideas

March 23, 2012 10:06:25 AM PDT
Spring break is under way or right around the corner for Chicago area school districts and there are many ways for families to enjoy it locally. has compiled a SPRING BREAK GUIDE to help families come up with fun things to do. Many events are free!

Starved Rock State Park

Starved Rock State Park is a world apart from anything else in Illinois! Amazing waterfalls are active in the spring and after heavy rains. There is 13 miles of trails to explore, plus, the Illinois River offers fishing (ice fishing, too), boating, extraordinary views and great places to relax.

Guests can hike 13 miles of trails, see 18 canyons (many with waterfalls), camp, fish the Illinois River, canoe down the river, horseback ride at Cedar Creek Ranch (located 10 miles to the West of the Park on Route 71--Cedar Creek is also home to an authentic Civil War Cemetery), rent bikes on the Utica towpath, cross country ski during winter months on trails at Matthiessen State Park, and enjoy other special events throughout the year.

The Trails are open all year, but hikers are urged to exercise extreme caution and to stay on official trails.

Where: Route 178 and 71, Utica, IL
When: Open year-round.
Cost: Admission to the park and parking is free.
Ages: All Ages

Wildlife Prairie State Park

Wildlife Prairie State Park is a 2,000 acre zoological park that is home to animals indigenous to Illinois including: wolves, bison, waterfowl, black bears, elk, cougars, otters and more. Visitors enjoy spectacular natural surroundings, unique lodging and meeting space, fishing and a Pioneer Farmstead. Climb aboard the Wildlife Prairie State Park Train for a scenic ride that's off the beaten path, or climb aboard a modified bus with open-air windows for a 20-minute narrated ride out in the actual bison and elk pasture for an up close and personal encounter.

The park's overnight lodging options are as unique as the park itself. Enjoy an overnight stay in the "Cabin on the Hill, Cottages by the Lake, Train Cabooses, Prairie Stables" or now Tent Camping!

Where: 3826 N. Taylor Road, Hanna City, IL
When: Daily through December 9th
Cost: $4 - $7, depending on time of year and guest's age; FREE to children under the age of 3.
Ages: All Ages

Joseph & the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

The story of Joseph and his coat of many colors comes to vibrant life in Marriott Lincolnshire's Theatre for Young Audiences production of this delightful musical parable. Set to an engaging variety of musical styles by the legendary Andrew Lloyd Webber?.all woven into an unforgettable technicolor masterpiece.

Where: Marriott Lincolnshire Theatre, 10 Marriott Drive, Lincolnshire, IL
When: Tuesday ? Saturdays until May 12, 2012
Cost: $15 per person
Ages: All Ages

Spring Break Family Day at Carnivale

Carnivale features Nuevo Latino cuisine, energetic colors and wild design. The restaurant invites Chicagoland families to celebrate the beginning of Spring Break with their annual Family Spring Break event. Festivities will include an action photo booth, face painter, fire breather, balloon artist, stilt walker and a special kids menu.

Where: 702 West Fulton Market, Chicago, IL
When: Sunday, April 1, 2012; 5:30 ? 8:30PM
Cost: Festivities are free to dining guests during dinner service; meal cost varies.
Ages: All Ages

Easter Egg Hunt at Soldier Field

More than 4,000 adults and children are expected at the annual Spring Egg-Stravaganza, the largest free candy grab in Chicago featuring 2,000 lbs. of goodies on the field at Soldier Field Stadium.

The South Courtyard will host a spring festival featuring large inflatables for all ages, face painters, a balloon artist and much more from 9?11 a.m. along with other entertainment.

Before the candy grab, children will have the opportunity to have breakfast with the bunny and take photos at Soldier Field's United Club from 8:30 - 10 a.m. (a fee is charged for this activity)

Where: Soldier Field, 1410 S. Museum Campus Drive, Chicago, IL
When: Saturday, March 31
Cost: Free for the festival and candy grab; Breakfast is $17.50 per adult; $12 for children under age 10; and Free for children under age 3.
Ages: Children ages 10 years and younger are welcome to participate in this event

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