Planning your next trip? There are plenty of destinations in each state where family fun and learning meet! Please be sure to follow all state and local public health guidance while visiting. We also suggest researching Covid related restrictions and closings at all locations before you travel.  

Illinois  

It’s called the “Land of Lincoln” for a reason! A trip to Springfield is a great way to learn all about our 16th president. Explore the Lincoln home to learn more about how the father, husband, and neighbor spent his days. Next, visit the Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum. Here you can learn about his life, from the pre-presidential years to the white house. Lincoln’s tomb can also be found nearby at the Oak Ridge Cemetery. 

Looking for fun in the windy city? The museum campus in Chicago is a great way to learn about a variety of interests. The Field Museum is one of the largest natural history museums in the country, with nearly 40 million specimens and artifacts. The Adler Planetarium will get your head in the clouds as you learn about space and the galaxies around us.  At the Shedd Aquarium, visit more than 32,000 animals, including Beluga Whales, Dolphins, and Penguins, just to name a few! Travel down Lake Shore Drive to the Museum of Science and Industry, where kids (and adults) can get their share of fun and learn with more than 400,000 square feet of hands-on exhibits designed to spark scientific inquiry and creativity. 

Indiana  

Family fun is bountiful in the Hoosier state. A visit to the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo is a great place to see and experience animals from around the globe. The zoo is internationally recognized for its innovative displays, award-winning animal exhibits, and well-manicured grounds. In Indianapolis, the Children’s Museum is a must-visit. It is home to extraordinary family learning experiences across the sciences, arts, and humanities. It’s not hard to find; just look for Rex the Dinosaur out front!  

The Evansville Museum of Arts, History, and Science, located on the Ohio Riverfront, is home to an immersive theatre that will have you feeling like you’re on the International Space Station.  There is sure to be a learning opportunity for the whole family with comprehensive collections in art, history, anthropology, and science.  

Michigan 

  Experience the cannon blasts, the rifles fire, the soldiers march, and watch history come alive at Fort Mackinac. The oldest building in Michigan and 13 other historical structures boast exhibits explaining everything from military training and battles to medical treatments to family life within the fort. More than just a military outpost, Fort Mackinac served as a home for soldiers and their families and eventually the headquarters for Mackinac National Park.  

A vibrant exploration of genius in all its forms, the Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation in Dearborn allows you to experience the strides of America’s greatest minds while fully immersing yourself in their stories. Step inside the bus where Rosa Parks took a stand by taking a seat. Play pilot as you explore flight innovations, starting with the Wright brothers’ achievements, or make yourself at home inside Buckminster Fuller’s circular Dymaxion House. Put yourself in the place of the movers and shakers who blazed the trail to where we stand today. 

Minnesota   

People of all ages will delight in a trip to the Mall of America in Bloomington, right outside the Twin Cities. Home to an indoor amusement park, aquarium, movie theater, arcades, mini-golf, virtual reality experiences, and a whole lot more, you could easily spend a whole day here and not do it all. On top of all these attractions, the MOA is home to over 500 stores and 60 restaurants. You’ll definitely get your walking in here.   

Nature enthusiasts will delight in a trip to Ely. A duo of wildlife centers will teach visitors about the amazing animals native to this area. At the International Wolf Center, wolves live on-site to further the public’s education about these four-legged residents. Ely is also home to the North American Bear Center,  a wildlife educational facility. The center helps dispel the many myths that people believe about bears as ferocious animals to be feared. Four resident bears live in 2.5 acres of natural forest that includes man-made dens and a pond, where they roam freely and forage for food. 

Ohio  

The one-of-a-kind Cincinnati Museum Center has plenty of opportunities for learning, fun, and play. Travel back in time to Cincinnati’s 1850 riverfront at the Public Landing filled with interactive activities and a unique paddlewheel steamboat, or discover the biggest addition to the Museum of Natural History and Science – dinosaurs. Find six dinosaur skeletons throughout Dinosaur Hall and learn even more using the video microscopes. Continue your fun at the five-story, domed OMNIMAX theater or at the top-rated Duke Energy Children’s Museum. 

Spend your day at the nation’s largest indoor adventure park, Play: CLE! Stay active and entertained by rock climbing and zip lining, jump in the ball pit or reach for the sky on the trampolines. Little ones will feel right at home in the kids’ obstacle area, and adults can test their abilities on the Ninja Warrior Course. Grab the perfect photo-op by the 8-foot CLE climbing letters before you head out! 

Explore several exhibits covering the history and ocean exploration to human life, space, dinosaurs, and more at COSI in Columbus. Play and learn all day experiencing everything from hands-on opportunities to the planetarium, where your little ones will get a glimpse of what’s “out there.” Feeling adventurous? Take your experiences to “new heights” by riding the high-wire unicycle! 

Wisconsin 

Discovery World at Pier Wisconsin in Milwaukee connects innovation, science, technology, and the environment with exploration and learning through interactive exhibits and experiential learning programs. The 120,000-square-foot, exploration-friendly facility includes interactive science, technology, and environmental exhibits, learning labs, theaters, television and audio studios, along with fresh and saltwater aquariums. 

The Northwoods Children’s Museum in Eagle River is a great place for kids and grown-ups alike to play and explore. They believe in a hands-on approach to learning, and that’s why all of the exhibits are interactive and educational. The museum also provides a variety of programs and special events throughout the year. Whether you come for an hour or an entire day, you won’t be disappointed! 

Olbrich Botanical Gardens in Madison, winner of the National Garden of Excellence Award, features 16 acres of outdoor specialty gardens, including a sunken garden with an eighty-foot reflecting pool and a perennial garden with a meandering stream. A two-acre rose garden with a two-story, stone rose tower highlights Midwest-hardy shrub roses.