Tourists flock to Chicago in the millions every year. And why not? There are so many great things about the Windy City. Of course, there is so much to do in the city itself- delicious restaurants, fascinating museums, and beautiful architecture. And you can’t forget about Lake Michigan and it’s sandy beaches. But I’m here to let you in on another reason to visit Chicago and it’s surrounding suburbs. If you have kids, you can’t let a trip to Chicago go by without visiting some of its parks and nature preserves.
One such preserve is The Grove, located in Glenview, approximately 30 minutes north of Chicago by car. Located on over 100 acres of prairie land and maintained by the Glenview Park District, The Grove is a great place for families to get outside and explore the wildlife of the area. We took advantage of an unseasonably warm February day a few weekends ago to visit The Grove for the first time after hearing so much about it.
But The Grove isn’t just a nature preserve. It is also the former home of John Kennicott, a horticulturist who founded the area. Originally from New Orleans and inducted into the Agricultural Hall of Fame, Kennicott and his family settled The Grove in 1836, making them one of the first families to call the brand new state of Illinois home. Throughout the 145-acre property are buildings that represent the history of the area including the Kennicott home, replicas of a one room schoolhouse and a log cabin common in that area during the 1800s, and the Redfield Estate, among other buildings. Built in 1929, the Redfield Estate was home to a few of the Kennicott descendants.
Because Native Americans were the most common inhabitants of Illinois during the early years of its status as an official state, The Grove wouldn’t be complete without replicas of a Native American longhouse and teepee.
All of the buildings, aside from the interpretive center and program barn, are closed during the winter, except for special occasions and events but open seasonally for touring. Unfortunately, we were not able to explore the inside of the majority of the buildings but there were plenty of trails to explore and room for kids to run. Although The Grove will be much prettier when the trees bloom in spring, there was a simple beauty and calm walking around amid the brown and semi-frozen ponds. We had a good time exploring the outside of many of the buildings. My favorite was the log cabin, which made me feel like Laura Ingalls on Little House on the Prairie. Ladybug enjoyed seeing the chickens wandering around the property.
The Grove is the perfect place to spend a morning or afternoon out in nature. Children love exploring the wooded trails while also learning about what life was like on the prairie during pioneer time.
Things to Know Before You Go
-The Grove is located south of Lake Avenue, just off of Milwaukee Avenue in Glenview, Illinois. Public transportation isn’t great in the suburbs so if you’re planning on visiting from the city, I suggest renting a car for the time you will spend there. Complimentary parking is available right on the property.
-Hours are 8am-4:30pm Monday-Friday and 9 am-5pm Saturday and Sunday.
-We spent about an hour and a half just wandering the outside trails. I’d give yourself at least an hour to explore- more if you plan on going inside the Interpretive Center (we didn’t).
-Admission is free.
Would you visit The Grove?
Like this? Pin for later.