Chicagoland stretches well beyond the borders of downtown. If your group has time, try any of these half-day outings to give visitors a taste of the unique attractions located a short drive from Chicago.
The colorful landscape of the Chicago Botanic Garden should not be missed. The gardens have become one of the best living museums and conservation centers in the country. This attraction features 26 gardens and four natural areas, situated on nine islands. Groups can also get a glimpse of the shoreline, a renowned Bonsai collection and dozens of specialty exhibits. The Botanic Garden is open year-round, with free admission and $20 for parking.
The story of the Holocaust is seen through interactive exhibits, which are meant to both educate and inspire guests. Visitors can explore more than 500 artifacts, documents and photos at the Karkomi Permanent Exhibition or view contemporary pieces of art created in response to genocide in other parts of the world.
The Chicagoland area is known for its architecture, and it is proud to have the largest concentration of Frank Lloyd Wright buildings in the world. In Oak Park, where Wright spent the first 20 years of his career, groups can take walking tours of the Prairie-style Frank W. Thomas House, the medieval Tudor Revival-style Nathan G. Moore House, three Queen Anne-style "Bootleg Houses" and Wright's own Home and Studio.
An oasis from the bustling city, the Morton Arboretum is a year-round attraction that gives visitors a true look at how nature changes on a daily basis. Groups can take a guided tour on an open-air tram or walk along the 16 miles of hiking trails that wind among majestic trees and shrubbery.
The Brookfield Zoo, opened in 1934, has become well known for its innovative exhibits and animal conservation efforts. The 216-acre zoo houses close to 450 species. Visitors can enjoy all kinds of exhibits, from the Seven Seas dolphin show to the naturalistic habitat, Great Bear Wilderness.