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. The staff is so incredibly welcoming and will point out exciting creatures to peek at, as well as answer questions about their fury and scaly residents.

With the new remodel of the Interpretive Center, kids of all ages can get face to face with fish, turtles, snakes–you name it. There is also a cool structure to walk through where you can find small viewing windows to check out even more creatures, such as frogs and a 120 year-old alligator snapping turtle, aptly named “Al.”

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. There are ample historic houses and structures, such as the Blacksmith Shop, covered wagon, and wigwam, to explore while you hike the grounds. It truly is a step back in time that kids will enjoy exploring any time of year.

Planning a trip to the Grove? Expect to spend an hour or two exploring, and pack comfortable shoes, sunscreen and bug spray, as well as a reusable water bottle and hand sanitizer to keep you hydrated and clean throughout your adventure.

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


Happy Exploring!


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  1. 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.

    • amandasimkin says

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

    • amandasimkin says

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

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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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