Go with the Flow
Enjoy Kankakee River State Park & the meandering Kankakee River.
Cancel the babysitter and bring the kids along for your next trip to Kankakee County. Loaded with museums, pristine parks and activities, Kankakee County, Illinois, has plenty of ways to stay busy with little ones.
Perry Farm Park
Located on a 170-acre property, Perry Farm caters to both children and adults. Go on a scenic stroll or a family bike ride along the paved trails on the farm before stopping to meet farm animals. Along the trail, you’ll likely see a variety of birds including predatory ones like hawks and eagles. During your adventure on the property, pay a visit to the Native American Indian caves near the Kankakee River, a geological phenomenon that has its own very narrow crevice entrance. It’s not advised to explore the inside of the caves, but they do make a stunning backdrop for a family photo. If you’re a history lover, you’ll appreciate the Perry Farm Park and Durham-Perry Farmsteadthat was built in 1866 and currently serves as a visitor center. Wear out your tikes by taking them to the on-site playground that overlooks the picturesque land.
Exploration Station…a children’s museum
Also located on Perry Farm Park is a popular children’s museum that continues to attract visitors from across the nation. Exploration Station…a children’s museum in Bourbonnais is not your typical run-of-the-mill museum. It’s interactive and encourages children to use their imaginations during activities like pretending to be a pilot, doctor, mechanic or a gallant knight in a medieval castle with dress-up props. If your toddlers are too little to play dress up, take them to Little Squires Toddler Area instead, where they can spend their day playing in the ball pit along with building blocks and puzzles. You can also put your children’s creative skills to the test at the “Up, Up, and Away” exhibit, where they’ll be challenged to build their own aircraft made from foam pieces.
Go above and beyond (the earth) with your kids at Strickler Planetarium in Bourbonnais. The planetarium is located on the campus of Olivet Nazarene University and is open to the public. Built in 1967, the planetarium has updated installments of Evans & Sutherland’s Digistar 3 SP2 HD digital projector and full dome video capabilities. In other words, your kids will be impressed by the realistic screening of the solar system, the galaxy and the vast expanse of the universe—and so will you. The planetarium is one of three of its kind in the entire state, making it a super popular destination for science enthusiasts. Monitor the center’s website to catch the latest film showing that highlights the mysteries behind dark matter, stars and more. And be on the lookout for an occasional child-friendly screening like “Big Bird’s Adventure.”
Legacy Park & Splash Pad
In Manteno, Legacy Park & Splash Pad is a charming 66-acre park that offers year-round amenities. Create a family winter tradition and make a trip to the park’s outdoor ice-skating rink or designated ice hockey rink. In the spring and summer, the rinks cater to roller skaters. During warmer days, take your kids to the Splash Pad, an aquatic playground where several fountains in solid colors sprout water up into the air. Your little ones will get a kick out of running around in their bathing suits while you join in on the fun too. And be sure to pack your lunch on your next outing to Legacy Park; there’s a picnic grove and a gazebo where you can enjoy the idyllic surroundings as you eat.
Bourbonnais Event and Skate Plaza
Manteno isn’t the only place where you can skate year-round. Bourbonnais has its own unsupervised rink on Main Street, and it’s open to the public from early winter to late spring, depending on the weather. The park serves as a gathering place for the town's youth and was the vision of Patrolman Travis Garcia of the Bourbonnais Police Department.
For more fun ideas on things to do with kids in Kankakee County, download our visitors guide.