Chicago Southland, IL

Chicago Southland abounds with family-friendly attractions and experiences that make it a great choice for family reunions

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Adventures Abound

Kick-off your family reunion at Accelerate Indoor Speedway & Events where speedsters can zip and zoom. A European-style indoor go-karting venue with Grand Prix-style tracks, here drivers can go up to 50 miles per hour! For some more fun and games, the Urban Air Adventure Park in Mokena, is where families can play laser tag, scale heights on climbing walls and soar in the air on Sky Rider. Adding to the entertainment are bumper cars, trampolines, obstacle courses and lots more. The onsite café is a great place to take a breather! 
 
Don’t miss visiting Brookfield Zoo in Brookfield, a 216-acre nature park that is home to more than 5,000 animals and where visitors can enjoy hands-on experiences that include opportunities to touch and feed animals. Weather permitting, visitors can also enjoy a carousal and motor safari at the zoo. For a unique experience, see 30 masterworks of large-scale sculptures spread across 100 acres of prairie landscape at the Nathan Manilow Sculpture Park in University Park. The park is open year-round and is free for visitors. The Windy City ThunderBolts in Crestwood, a minor league baseball team, offers family entertainment at Ozinga Field all through the summer.

Nature’s Best

Enjoy the beauty of the outdoors at Lake Katherine Nature Center and Botanic Gardens in Palos Heights, an 85-acre park comprising woodlands, prairie, wetlands, gardens and a 10-acre lake and where the entire family can go hiking, cycling and nature walking. The Irons Oaks Environmental Learning Center in Olympia Fields, is a one-of-a-kind, 38-acre nature preserve offering programs in nature education along with adventure activities like climbing walls, high ropes, hiking, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. 
 
Monee Reservoir in Monee, protects a 46-acre lake and is a wetland habitat with over 120 species of birds and other wildlife. Here, families can enjoy activities like picnicking, hiking, kayaking, fishing and cross-country skiing. For an educational and entertaining day out, visit the Sand Ridge Nature Center in South Holland, which includes interactive exhibits and a variety of wildlife including birds, reptiles, fish and more. The center has demonstration gardens, nature trails and a play area for the little ones. 
 
Plum Creek Nature Center in Beecher, is an ideal place for families to reconnect with nature with hands-on, interactive exhibits. Amenities include a dog park and camping areas in addition to activities like skiing and horseback riding.

Video Tour

“Thanks for being so very helpful. It’s nice to know that these types of services that the Southland CVB provides are available to the “everyday” public. And since 99% of our guests were from out of town the maps, nametags and coupon books were the perfect touch. Thanks for everything!!”

– Davis/Miller Family Reunion

Browse below for some family-friendly additions to your itinerary

Why Reunite in the Chicago Southland Area

Highlights

  • Relax and refresh outdoors and be amid nature’s best at the many parks and gardens in Chicago Southland, IL.
  • Year-round family-friendly adventure activities for all ages to enjoy.
  • Easily accessible to downtown Chicago and its famous sites, restaurants and shopping!
  • Chicago Southland is within a five-hour drive of eight states.

Family-Friendly Dining Experiences in the Chicago Southland Area

Sheep’s Food District 

Sheep’s Food District offers a multitude of diverse environments for all of your event needs. Be it a cocktail party, birthday, or wedding shower, Sheep’s Food District is available for full venue buy-outs. Vendors include 101 BBQ, The Ring of Fire (artisan pizza) and Joe Trucker (specialty tacos).

Website: www.sheepsfooddistrict.com

Pizza

Pizza is a top choice in the Chicago Southland. Most notable is Aurelio’s Pizza (original location in Homewood). We have Beggar’s, Ed n Joe’s, Papa John’s Lou Malnati’s and others.

Website: www.aureliospizza.com

Flossmoor Station Restaurant & Brewery

Located in a historic train station, we offer a wide range of American heartland cuisine. Great beer at the area’s oldest brewery.

Website: www.flossmoorstation.com

Chuck’s Southern Comfort Cafe 

Treat yourself to some of the best eats in Chicago! If you haven’t been to Chuck’s Southern Comforts Cafe, you’re missing out on one of Chicago’s most inspired blend of Mexican, Cajun-Creole, good old southern cooking and the best slow-cooked smoked BBQ you’ve ever had.

Website: www.chuckscafe.com

Ready to find out more about how Chicago Southland can help plan your family trip or reunion?

 

Gayety’s Chocolates and Ice Cream Co. 

Gayety’s is a Chocolate and Ice Cream Shop established in Chicago in 1920. We’ve been perfecting our craft for over a century and we’re famous for our high quality, hand-dipped chocolates and homemade ice cream.

Website: www.eatmychocolates.com

Family-Friendly Attractions in the Chicago Southland Area

Accelerate Indoor Speedway and Events 

State-of-the-art electric indoor go-kart racing experience offers perfect racing conditions every day. Change your speed at the Grand Prix-style tracks with unique electric Italian go-karts reaching speeds up to 50 miles per hour. You can unleash your inner warrior as axe-throwing is now offered on site.

Website: www.acceleratespeed.com

Urban Air Adventure Park 

The ultimate indoor adventure park! With attractions that cater to any level of adventurer: trampolines, ziplines, bumper cars, laser tag, obstacle course climbing walls and more.

Website: www.urbanair.com

Brookfield Zoo

Since it first opened in 1934, Brookfield Zoo has helped generations of families from around the world discover their love for animals. Today, the 216-acre nature park is home to more than 5,000 animals and extensive conservation programs.

Website: www.czs.org

Nathan Manilow Sculpture Park 

The Nathan Manilow Sculpture Park is a collection of 30 master works of large-scale sculpture situated within 100 acres of prairie landscape. This “museum in the prairie” is open for public viewing 365 days a year and is free of charge. The Park provides programs for adults and children that integrate art and nature. 

Website: www.govst.edu

Ready to find out more about how Chicago Southland can help plan your family trip or reunion?

 

Windy City ThunderBolts

Windy City ThunderBolts baseball brings affordable family entertainment all summer long at Ozinga Field. Call to reserve groups or parties today!

Website: www.wcthunderbolts.com

Family-Friendly Accommodations in the Chicago Southland Area

DoubleTree by Hilton Chicago Alsip 

Easily accessible near metropolitan Chicagoland via four major expressways. The 193-room hotel, with flexible meeting and banquet accommodations, offers superior service and amenities to accommodate up to 700 people.

Website: www.hilton.com

Georgios Banquets

Easily accessible near metropolitan Chicagoland via four major expressways. The 193-room hotel, with flexible meeting and banquet accommodations, offers superior service and amenities to accommodate up to 700 people.

Website: www.georgios.com

Homewood Suites by Hilton Hotel/Elements by Odyssey

The Homewood Suites by Hilton is nestled in the heart of the Village of Orland Park. It is perfectly situated within a premiere upscale lifestyle center featuring restaurants, shopping, state-of-the-art Marcus Cinema and the 118,000-square-foot Life Time Fitness. It is conveniently located on South LaGrange Road, only 1.5 miles from I-80 and with easy access to local businesses.

Website: www.hilton.com

Holiday Inn Chicago Matteson Conference Center 

With 203 newly renovated, quiet and relaxing rooms including whirlpool suites the Matteson Hotel & Conference Center provides a home away from home.

Website: www.ihg.com

Ready to find out more about how Chicago Southland can help plan your family trip or reunion?

 

Family-Friendly Venues in the Chicago Southland Area

Lake Katherine Nature Center & Botanic Garden

Lake Katherine is a nature center as well as an auditorium and rental hall. Lake Katherine consists of 158 acres including the Calumet-Sag Canal, 3.5 miles of hiking trails, 20-acre Lake Katherine, Navajo Creek, a waterfall, forested areas, prairies, arboretum and a wetland restoration project.

Website: www.lakekatherine.org

Iron Oaks Environmental Learning Center

Irons Oaks is a 38-acre nature preserve offering programs in environmental education, adventure education, corporate training and outdoor recreation. Hiking trails are open daily.

Website: www.ironoaks.com

Monee Reservoir

Monee Reservoir offers a 46-acre fishing lake. Free shoreline fishing is available. Boat rental allows on-water fishing.

Website: www.reconnectwithnature.org

Sand Ridge Nature Center 

Owned and operated by the Forest Preserve District of Cook County, Sand Ridge Nature Center emphasizes the natural history of the Calumet region. Enjoy public programs, special events, live animals, interactive interpretive displays and 3.75 miles of self-guiding hiking trails though diverse habitats.

Website: www.fpdcc.com

Ready to find out more about how Chicago Southland can help plan your family trip or reunion?

 

Plum Creek Nature Center

An educational and recreational facility featuring hands-on exhibits and interactive play elements. Family programs are offered throughout the year. Picnic facilities and camping by reservation.

Website: www.reconnectwithnature.com

What are you waiting for?

Let Destination Reunions help you plan the perfect reunion.

Tobie Fitzpatrick

Email: Tobie@VisitSouthlandChicago.com

Phone: 888-895-8233

Website: www.GatherInTheChicagoSouthland.com