Farms, Nature Centers, Zoos

Note: Always call your destination ahead of time. Locations may change hours, close for private events or even close due to inclement weather.

FARMS AND NATURE CENTERS around Northwest Suburbs of Chicago:

The Bartlett Nature Center offers a large variety of programs to explore nature through activities, hands-on projects, and games. A variety of animals consisting mainly of reptiles, amphibians, and insects are available for viewing.

1,182 acres of woodland, wetland and prairie provides a rest stop along the migratory bird highway. 260 species have been recorded using these habitats, with at least 89 species breeding onsite. An exhibit building opens to several miles of self-guiding trails, inviting visitors to explore natural habitats that are home to wildlife and native plants.

Prairieview Education Center serves thousands of McHenry County residents annually by offering free and low-cost nature programs, youth field trips, summer camps, and school field trips. The facility hosts traveling exhibits, a reference library, and a family drop-in “Exploration Station.”

Step back into the 1880s for a look at when Schaumburg was a rural German farm community. On a visit to Volkening Heritage Farm, you can help with seasonal farm chores, participate in family activities and games of the 1880s or simply visit the livestock and soak in the quiet. Authentically dressed interpreters welcome and guide visitors through the site. If your children would like to meet some farm animals, they have horses, cows, chickens, and pigs there.

Come take a self-guided walk through a five acre nature haven and enjoy two ponds and a butterfly garden. Or, get up close and personal with nature by exploring our interactive exhibits and animal displays. Admission is free! Donations are kindly accepted to support the care of our animals.

The Chicago Athenaeum’s International Sculpture Park is situated on 20 acres of meadow, forest, and natural prairie in Schaumburg. Sculptures are placed throughout the grounds of the Robert O. Atcher Municipal Center.

  • The Grove in Glenview, 1421 Milwaukee Ave, 847-299-6096.

The Grove is a must see history and nature museum, with beautiful trails through mature oak forests, and wetland pools. Children will love Interpretive center, where they will be able to see native snakes, turtles, amphibians, and birds.

Fischer Farm is believed to be one of the oldest remaining homesteads in DuPage County. The land just north of the cabin has been left untouched and is valued for its original seedbeds. This unchanged landscape is what settlers peered upon when they arrived in the area. Fischer Woods is a rare forest preserve with the remnants of prairie, wetland and woodland ecosystems. Admission is free, although donations are accepted.

Historic Wagner Farm is one of the last working dairy farms in Cook County and is open to the public for recreation and learning. The farm provides a unique opportunity for families to learn about our farming heritage and experience first-hand “the way things used to be.”


PICK-YOUR-OWN FARMS (closest to Northwest Suburbs of Chicago):



General Zoo Admission for Adults $19.85, Seniors 65 and Over $14.50, Children (3 to 11) $14.50. Parking is $12 per car.  More information about additional attraction tickets here.

  • Cosley Zoo, 1356 North Gary Avenue, Wheaton. 630-665-5534.

Home to farm animals and native Illinois wildlife, like cows, sheep, pigs, raccoons, bobcats, and more. Chicken feeding and duck feeding is available. Residents of the Wheaton Park District are free. Non-resident adults pay $5, but children up to age 17 are free.

Currently, the fenced in outdoor area includes: Buffalo, Elk, and White Tail Deer, which can be seen all year long. During the summer the farm zoo will open to provide visitors with the opportunity to view farm animals rented from local farms. This is not a petting zoo.

Randall Oaks Zoo offers a variety of kid-friendly farm animals for viewing, petting and feeding. Admission for Residents $3.25/ Non-Residents $4, Children under 2 years old are free. Animal feed is $1 per cup, Pony Rides $4.50 per person/per ride (based on availability).


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