Visitors to Chicago have so many choices when planning attractions to see while in the Windy City. The famous sites like the Hancock Building, Sears Tower and Buckingham Fountain get all of the attention. If you are looking for something off of the beaten path that still very much represents Chicago and its history, you may want to take the family to Cantigny in Wheaton, Illinois.
Cantigny is just a short drive from Chicago and is worth the car rental. It is a 500-acre park that houses two museums, a golf course, and nature trails. The property was donated by Robert McCormick, who was the publisher for the Chicago Tribune. McCormick was a philanthropist whose name is still recognized throughout the city of Chicago.
The First Division Museum at Cantigny is dedicated to preserving the history of the First Infantry Division of the United States Army. Robert McCormick served in this division, which is why it is located on his donated property. The museum highlights military vehicles both inside the building and outside in its Tank Park. The vehicles outside are available for children to explore hands-on. The museum is home to over 10,000 military artifacts from the armed services, including uniforms and medals of honor. The museum hosts many special activities throughout the year, such as civil war re-enactments.
At The Robert McCormick Museum, you and your family can see what life was like for McCormick and his family. The museum is actually his former home. It is a beautiful mansion that had some rather impressive features, like a personal theater room and a freezer specifically for ice cubes. It’s a fun trip back in time for the whole family.
There are four different restaurants located on the grounds. The Red Oak Room is open year round, and features great food for much less than you would pay at most museums in Chicago. Le Jardin is open through the summer months. Its menu is geared towards families, with lots of sandwich choices for quick eating. Bertie’s Coffee shop is just that, and has limited hours throughout the year. The Fareway’s Grill is attached to the golf course, and is open essentially when the golf course is.
The Cantigny golf course is an impressive space. It is home to a 27-hole golf course that is open to the public. The course offers instructional courses for adults, and separate classes and links for children. Their pricing is competitive, and you can reserve your tee-time on line through their website. There are several outings and tournaments throughout the year.
Cantigny is also home to three miles of nature trails and 29 acres of flower gardens. To help you in your discovery of all of the natural beauty, you can borrow a family discovery backpack. They are equipped with binoculars, a field guide, nature bingo games, and more. They are available at no cost and will create an even more magical experience for the kids.
The complex also has opportunities for field trips, boy and girl scout adventures, and is even available for weddings and private events. Cantigny is a great attraction that will enhance your trip to Chicago. Cantigny is at 1S151 Winfield Road.