Well, I don’t know about you but I am SO over winter. With the new spring season, I’m glad to start getting out and exploring. And as you may know, I am a huge list-lover. (Hello, I put together this list of more than 100 things to do in the northwest suburbs of Chicago!) So I thought it was totally appropriate to put together another list but this time for spring. Don’t forget to bookmark this page as I’ll keep adding more things to do.

Happy Spring!

*updated for 2019

Spring Bucket List - More than 30 things to do with kids in Chicago - O the Places We Go


  • Check out the new museum with dinosaurs! The former Lake County Discovery Museum has moved to Libertyville and is now The Bess Bower Dunn Museum. Superhero fan? They have a great new comic exhibit featuring the art of Alex Ross.
  • Learn about good food at the Good Food EXPO at the UIC Forum. kinds of activities to get kids involved with good food and healthy lifestyles. Activities will include seed planting, fruit & vegetable stamping, a book corner with Purple Asparagus’ Fruit & Vegetable Book Collection, Face Painting, Bookmark Making, and a Kids’ Scavenger Hunt. (March 23)
  • See SUE’s new home. SUE, our famous T.rex has her own fancy suite and quite frankly — it’s awesome! Better yet, visit on a free day (April 5, 6, 7, May 2). Check out our visit here. 

Sue, the most complete and largest T.Rex ever found, has a new home at the Field Museum in Chicago

  • Choo Choo! Head on over to Lamb’s Farm to celebrate Model Train Day. Afterward, go on the train and chug around the lake. (April 27, Libertyville)
  • Go on a Brick Safari at Brookfield Zoo. You’ll see more than 40 life-size sculptures made of Lego bricks! (May 11- Sept. 29)
  • Explore more Elmhurst museums on Elmhurst Museum Day. Take a trolley from stop to stop including Elmhurst History Museum, Lizzadro Museum of Lapidary Art, and Elmhurst Art Museum. Admission is free, plus they have special activities. We went a few years back and had a blast! (May 19)
  • Make art accessible. The latest exhibit at Arlington Heights Memorial Library, Chagall for Children, is one NOT to miss. The traveling exhibit from a children’s museum has interactive elements that kids love and learn about art at the same time. But hurry it ends April 7th! (Read the review here.)

Family fun with Chagall with Kids at Arlington Heights Memorial Library

Family fun at Woodstock Farmer's Market with Storytime.

  • Get a head start and check off those parks on your list. Don’t miss Diecke Park’s Discovery Zone for non-muddy fun. Bison’s Bluff in Schaumburg is always tons of fun, too. We want to check out the Meinecke Challenge Park in Schaumburg. Need a few suggestions? Here are a few parks for you.
  • Love trains? Chug on over to the Illinois Railway Museum for their free days (April 6 and 27; Weekdays, May 1 – May 17) – yes FREE. 
  • Explore the forests at Peggy Notebaert Museum. Climb inside an indoor treehouse and discover who’s living in trees with special viewfinders, tracking clues, natural artifacts and sound. (Now until June 2)
  • Rainy day? No worries, buzz on over to the BumbleBee Play Cafe (Elgin) or Tyke Play (Carpentersville) for indoor playground fun!
  • Go troll hunting! Look for large trolls made of wood by Danish artist Thomas Dambo at the Morton Arboretum. We had a blast last summer looking for them. Here’s everything you need to know to go troll hunting. They’ve even added a gnome hun in their super fun Children’s Garden.

Everything you needed to know about the Troll Hunt at Morton Arboretum in Lisle.

  • Hike! After a winter mostly stuck indoors, it’s time to take it outside! Here are great tips from A Little Time and a Keyboard on why you should take an early spring hike.
  • Nature centers. Many of our forest preserves have nature centers with animals and activities for kids to do.
  • Relax in the comfort of your own car at a drive-in movie theater. We love Golden Age Cinemas in McHenry.

A blast from the past visiting McHenry's Golden Age Cinemas.

  • Ever wanted to see a windmill? How about a Japanese Garden? We have Fabyan Windmill and Japanese Garden has been on our list for ages. Opens May 6. (Geneva)
  • Release a butterfly. Take part in a Butterfly Release Party at Peck Farm Park in Geneva. You’ll get to release a butterfly, make a butterfly craft, eat a butterfly snack, and go on a butterfly hike. Sounds like a blast!
  • Ready to garden? Visit a nursery and garden to look at all the pretty plants and flowers. Tom’s Market, Goebbert’s Farm in Barrington and Hampshire has some classes to get you ready.
  • Hold a baby lamb and rent baby chicks. Check out this unique experience from Enjoy Pioneer Farm. They supply two chicks, feed, and bedding. What a cool experience! We didn’t rent chicks but we did get a chance to hold a baby lamb, chicks, bunnies, and more farm animals. Read about our experience here.

Family Fun on Enjoy Pioneer Farm in Hampshire, Illinois. Hold a baby lamb and other farm animals. You can even rent a baby chick or duckling!

  • Apple orchard preview! Goebbert’s Farm in Hampshire is such a blast. (Read about it here.) This spring they will be offering a sneak peek of their apple orchard again. Not only will you go on a hayride, but they have their apple cider donuts and a chance to explore and play. We went last year and had so much fun. Did I mention it’s free? 

  • Visit wolves at Big Run Wolf Ranch’s open house on April 21st.
  • Celebrate trees on Arbor Day! This year it is on April 26th. There’s no better place to celebrate trees than at the Morton Arboretum with workshops, storytime, and more. Their award-winning Children’s Garden rocks!
  • Calling all fairies! Head down to Joliet for a fun fairy fest. (May 4)
  • Spring has sprung and I can’t think of a better place to view pretty flowers than the Chicago Botanic Garden.
  • Walk around downtown. I love walking around small-town downtowns. There are cute boutiques, places to eat, some even have toy stores! Need an idea? How about walking around Woodstock Square in Woodstock?
  • Scope out new libraries. You know we love our libraries. (Read this list of our favorites in the Northwest suburbs.) Plus, you’ll love the new changes at the Algonquin Area Library with a bigger and better play area.
  • Batter up! Spring = baseball. Head to a major league or minor league game, and cheer for the home team. Check out this list of possibilities. We had a blast cheering our the Chicago Dogs at Rosemont. 

Family Fun at a Chicago Dogs baseball game at the new Impact Field in Rosemont.

  • Watch trains chug through at the DuPage County Historical Museum on the third and fifth Saturday of each month.
  • Try to visit as many museums or attractions as we can with the KDRMA program, Passport to Adventure. Their passport comes out in May, and is a great way to find hidden gems around Kane County.
  • Spring cleaning. That means decluttering and cleaning the house. Donate your items or make a few bucks by selling them at a consignment store. I totally love Too Cute Consignment in Crystal Lake. They moved down the street into a larger location and it’s oh-so-cute! Read about it here.
  • Try to visit as many museums as we can with the Museum Adventure Pass.
  • Try to visit as many museums as we can with our ASTC Membership (which we LOVE!) We get free reciprocal membership to science museums around the nation. It’s great for a road-tripping family like ours.
  • Let’s have a playdate. The fabulous people at Chicago Parent Magazine want to have a spring playdate with you. There next one is on April 28.
  • Elgin’s iFest celebrates all things international. Try different food with the family!
  • Get out of town! Spring is the perfect time to visit destinations around the area since it won’t be too crowded. We love Indy, Milwaukee, and Lake Geneva. In fact, we just came back from Lake Geneva. Read about it here.
What’s on your Spring Bucket List? What would you add?