Before the leaves disappear from the trees get out and enjoy a few of the fun seasonal activities fall has to offer! From apple mazes and hikes to hot air balloons and illuminated events, we’ve put together some of our favorite things to do this time of year in the Chicagoland area!
1. Find Your Way Out of An Apple Maze
Skip the traditional corn maze – an apple maze is much sweeter!
Royal Oak Farm Orchard
www.royaloakfarmorchard.com | Harvard, IL | Open through November 12th
Royal Oak Farm Orchard’s apple tree maze, “Amaze ‘N Apples,” is the first apple tree maze in the nation. Stroll through 1.5 miles of trails shaped like a giant apple, created out of living apple trees, and pick two apples along the way.
2. Enjoy a Hike and Admire Nature’s Beautiful Changing of Colors
Plan a day while the leaves are still changing to experience nature’s beauty! Take a hike on a local trail or spend the day at one of the many preserves and parks in the Chicagoland area. Below are some of our favorites:
Palos Fen Nature Preserve
www.fpdcc.com | Willow Springs, IL
The largest piece of land in the Cook County forest preserve system and bursting with fall colors. Check out the unique observation blind along Long John Slough. The Little Red School House Nature Center is a place to learn more about the gorgeous sights.
www.mortonarb.org | Lisle, IL
Includes 1,700 acres and hundreds of thousands of trees from 40 countries! Hike or bike the numerous trails. Or, for those looking to enjoy fall’s colors from the comfort of their vehicle, drive the scenic roads throughout the park. The Arboretum’s award-winning Children’s Garden is a favorite for kids of all ages 😊.
Starved Rock State Park
www.starvedrockstatepark.org | Utica, IL
With over 18 canyons carved by snow runoff and natural springs, creating a breathtaking landscape. With over 13 miles of well-marked trails, families can explore their own path. Voted #1 attraction in the state of Illinois, Starved Rock is a perfect day trip from the city.
Pilcher Park Nature Center
www.jolietpark.org/pilcher-park-nature-center | Joliet, IL
Located in nearby Joliet is worth-the-drive! It’s a great place for a leisurely walk along a forested path. With 640 acres of land, picnic grounds and playground areas, you are sure to get your daily steps in, while enjoying the scenery.
3. Fly Through the Countryside in a Hot Air Balloon
Enjoy scenic views and an adventure with a balloon ride this fall!
Galena On The Fly
www.buyaballoonride.com | Galena, IL | Open through the end of November
Galena On The Fly offers hot air balloon rides from sunrise to sunset. Drift above the rolling landscapes of Jo Daviess county and the Galena countryside while taking in views of Iowa, Illinois and Wisconsin, from 3,000 feet above. Make this a day trip. Plan approximately one hour for the balloon trip, and about 2.5 hours for the whole event.
After landing, explore all that Galena has to offer: art galleries, historic sites, and unique shops. Make it a weekend by booking one of the many Bed & Breakfast’s in the area.
4. Get Illuminated at the Morton Arboretum
Light up one of your fall nights with an event that’s taken illumination to the next level.
“Illumination: Tree Lights”
www.mortonarb.org | Morton Arboretum in Lisle, IL | November 16th- January 1st
Illumination: Tree Lights at The Morton Arboretum is a feast for the senses. You’ll be surrounded by color as you walk a one-mile paved path amid interactive lighting effects that highlight the beauty of trees in winter. Enjoy seasonal music, marvel at ever-changing, interactive lighting designs, and warm up by a crackling fire. Whet your whistle with a cozy drink or roast marshmallows for every season’s favorite treat: S’mores!
5. See Your Favorite Animals at The Zoo in a Whole New Light
Going to the zoo on it’s own can be a great activity, but going to the zoo with
“ZooLights” at Lincoln Park Zoo
www.lpzoo.org | Chicago, IL | November 23rd- January 7th
Get a jump start on the holiday season and the crowds. Starting November 23, the famous Lincoln Park Zoo flips the switch for ZooLights. This is a family affair, offering over 2 million lights, photos with Santa, a maze of 30,000 lightbulbs, ice carving demos, carousel rides and the Lionel Train Adventure.
We hope you and your family get a chance to enjoy all that fall has to offer . . . before the first snowflakes begin to fall!