You may have heard of Glenview, IL, because you once knew it as the home to the Naval Air Station, which hosted squadrons in the area for years, up until a nationwide base realignment led to its shutdown in 1995. Or perhaps you’re familiar with Glenview as the headquarters of Kraft Foods, one of the world’s largest food and drink producers.
For whatever reason you’re familiar with Glenview, you should also know that it’s a fun place to visit. This village of roughly 45,000 has activities for families as well as places you can take children to learn more about arts and culture. It’s the perfect blend of frothy fun and enrichment. History buffs will find themselves enthralled by the many experiences the town has to offer.
Remember, if you need some sustenance while you’re bouncing from activity to activity, you can always make Giordano’s one of your stops during your tour through Chicago’s northern suburb. Our pizza provides the perfect brain food for an afternoon adventure, whether you’re playing in a hands-on house or walking through Glen Town Center.
Can’t-Miss Stop: Kohl’s Children’s Museum
Everyone raves about Kohl’s Children’s Museum, and rightly so. Located on The Glen and conveniently right near I-94, this museum originated more than three decades ago as an offshoot of Wilmette’s Kohl Teaching Center. It was originally envisioned as a way to help teachers develop hands-on experiences for their students and show them what might work in the classroom.
It grew into a museum to provide a way to connect with the growing area’s families, envisioned as a place where children can learn through play — and play they will at this facility.
Kohl’s has exhibits and learning experiences for kids of all ages:
- Younger ones will love the hands-on house, where they can make a home, both inside and out, by using materials such as pulleys, shingles, paneling and soft rocks.
- At the pet vet, kids can take “X-rays” and scan pretend pooches to see what’s ailing them.
- Rotating programs at the Art Center allow kids to experiment with different types of media, from paint to wood.
- The Turtle Rock display incorporates hard-shelled friends from the Shedd Aquarium into an exhibit highlighting reptile behavior.
Other Fun Family Activities Around Glenview
While Kohl’s may be the best-known family destination in Glenview, it’s hardly the only one. Another popular children’s place located in The Glen, Little Bear Garden Park has a playground kids will go wild on and a shrubbery maze where they’ll love pretending to get “lost.” Don’t worry, you can easily help them find their way out. The park also has a storytelling corner where younger children can gather at set times to hear tall tales.
In the summer, the sandlot and a water feature with sprinklers can help children stay cool and parents remain sane when they need a break from the air conditioning. Little Bear Garden Park sits in the corner of a larger park area that features biking paths and a lake well stocked for fishing. Nearby Splash Landing Aquatic Center has an indoor pool and slides where kids can cool off as well.
Across from the park, The Glen Town Center offers what it bills as an “upscale vibe” with village appeal. Stores such as Dick’s Sporting Goods and Pinot’s Palette line the streets, alongside restaurants and a cinema. Behind the town center, there’s a golf course, including a hotel where you can also grab a bite before playing 18 holes.
Learn About History at Kennicott Grove and Historic Wagner Farm
Remember the educational opportunities we mentioned? You’ll find loads of history to soak up at Kennicott Grove and Historic Wagner Farm, two venues that have stood in Glenview for decades.
Also known as The Grove, Kennicott Grove features 123 acres of land where the Kennicott family made their home from the 1850s on. When a developer tried to purchase the land in the 1970s, the Grove became a National Historic Landmark. The home on the property and the nearby schoolhouse were restored in the 1980s, and since then, a nature center and a Native American-style loghouse have been added. The site also includes nature trails.
Historic Wagner Farm, meanwhile, provides visitors with a taste of what a 1920s dairy farm was like. Authentic period farming equipment and a general store dot the property, and kids can watch milking demonstrations daily. They can also visit the play area to run off some of their energy while the adults learn more about the history of the farm.
Take in a Show at the Oil Lamp Theater
No trip to Glenview is complete without taking in a play at the Oil Lamp Theater, a downtown group that has gone from small invitation-only performances to putting on comedies, dramas and live radio plays for crowds of up to 60 people. The BYOB theater encourages guests to enjoy themselves during performances, and the theater has an old-time ambience that adds to its appeal.
Cap off Your Day With a Treat
If you have a sweet tooth, you won’t want to miss Rocket Fizz, a candy store with a nostalgic vibe. Scoop bags of candy from the self-serve bins or pick up a lollipop that’s nearly the size of your face. The shop has particular pride in its soda selection, including flavors ranging from red licorice to banana. Be sure to bring your adventurous side because the more outrageous the flavor combinations, the more fun you’ll have.
Plan the Perfect Day in Glenview
Glenview is a friendly town with loads to do. Whether you come with your family and want to head to Kohl’s Children’s Museum or you’re eager to have a night out with friends at the Glen Town Center, you won’t lack for choices. Make sure to check the historic sites out ahead of time to see if there are any special programs you can also enjoy. Have fun exploring this unique northern Chicago village.