The Grove

Looking for a great and free way to spend the day?  Then step back in time and learn about our beautiful area by visiting The Grove in Glenview.  A national landmark, this unique outdoor history and nature museum is the perfect way to introduce your kiddos to the wonder that is the Midwest.

Open daily, The Grove is 143 acres of preserved land filled with many different interactive displays to learn about the Native American tribes who lived on the land, as well as the settlers who followed them.


The Grove has much to do and much to see.  The highlights include:

Interpretive Center

Workshops and Hands on Programs for all ages

Wetland Greenhouse

Grove Store

Nature Trails

Historic Redfield Estate

Community Events and Festivals

Historic Buildings


I have wonderful memories of The Grove from when I was a girl, specifically when my school would take field trips “back in time.”  We would dress up like pioneers and perform activities in the restored Kennicott House, the log cabin, and the one room school house and had a blast. I remember learning how to churn butter and wondering how in the world a one room school house could be appropriate for students of all ages (an indication of my future career in teaching, eh?).

When I come back to visit with my boys, however, we spend the majority of our time in the Interpretive Center.  There is so much to do and see, from the aquatic displays to the “Natural Science Classroom.”  This classroom reminds me of some of the other nature centers in the area, including the River Trails and Wildwood Nature Centers, but neither of these other locations give as many informational “show and tells” as the Grove.

My boys and I spend hours playing with nature themed puzzles, reading books about our favorite animals, watching the animals swim and scurry inside their homes…the sky is the limit.  It is our favorite place to escape the harsh Chicago winter and find fun ways to learn and play.

Be sure to check out the nature videos, science equipment, environmental displays, self guided activities, and trail walks before you head out to visit the other Grove facilities.

We enjoy walking the trails along the wetlands and watching the turtles sun themselves, especially when the weather allows us to just simply sit in the peace and quiet and listen to the nature sounds around us.

Another favorite place is the greenhouse, where we can enjoy the many different kinds of plants and aquatic animals thriving.  The Blacksmith Shop is another popular exhibit, especially when someone is showing how to make a nail using pioneer techniques.  My boys are terrified of fire so we typically don’t stay long, but it is a really interesting area to check out.


Hope I have inspired you to learn more about the history of Chicagoland and visit the Grove soon. You can even visit without the kids for one of their popular beer fest, too!


Looking for other ways to interact with nature?  Search “nature centers” or “outdoor play.”


Happy Exploring!
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  1. Robin (Masshole Mommy) says

    That sounds like such a cool place. My boys would have a field day there. It looks awesome.

  2. Liz Mays says

    I would have really liked to bring my kids there. My kids loved nature and there is very little taught about Native American culture in school.

  3. Kristen says

    Looks like a fun day with the kiddos! Maybe I will take my nephews there the next time I am in the area.

  4. Kisa Johnson says

    What a beautiful looking area! I’d love to go there to visit, though I’d want to go sans kids first, and then with the kids. I want to experience places as just myself, and then as mom.. so I can truly appreciate things better.

    • amandasimkin says

      You are so right. I can really enjoy a museum or a new place a thousand times more without chasing kids around, providing snacks, wiping noses, etc.

  5. Digna says

    Sounds like a wonderful place. We are going to have to check it out again when we are planning our summer vacation. Thank you for sharing.

  6. Fi Ní Neachtáin says

    It is great to see that they are still such beautiful places to visit.A must for our family to see when we are over there.
    Thanks for sharing.

  7. R U S S says

    I see why The Grove is such a nice place to visit. I love the outdoors and The Grove has a lot of that – lush greens, open spaces, nature vistas – it’s just beautiful!

    • amandasimkin says

      It is a hit for family photos and other fun events like festivals and weddings….there’s something for everyone.

  8. CourtneyLynne says

    Omg this place sounds like so much fun!!!! Would make for a great day trip during the summer!

    • amandasimkin says

      The turtles were one of our highlights…we hung out with them for almost an hour…and they move shockingly fast!

  9. Melanie says

    This looks like an amazing day out for families. A great way to learn and exercise too! Pinning this and adding to my must visit list.

  10. Gabriel says

    I think it’s great that there so many historic sites that are being turned into interactive museums to teach people about the past. This is only a few hours from us, so it might end up on our two week summer road trip in a few months.

  11. Therese Marinko-Soodmand says

    The Grove is a beautiful place. Many people rent the grounds to get married there during nice weather. I got married at The Grove on January 31, 1982 during a snow blizzard. It was a difficult as many cars got stuck there. Many guests where then 2 hrs late getting to the reception. But it was so beautiful there with everything covered in snow. It was worth all the difficulty. All these years later I can still imagine how beautiful it was at The Grove that day in the snow.

    • amandasimkin says

      How exciting! Not that you got married during a blizzard and people were late, but that you got married at such a gorgeous place! I’m sure your pictures were absolutely stunning with all of the snow covered terrain.

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