Do you have an animal lover in your house? Then this list is for you! We’ve gathered all of the free or inexpensive places to see animals in our area. Nature centers, farms, smaller zoos, and pet stores… we’ve scoped out all the possibilities for you!
Are your kids into something that we can look into for you? Email us at [email protected] or comment below and we would love to compile some options… we are always looking for ideas and strive to be the best local resource we can be!
Nature Centers with Animals
320 Knoch Knolls Road
Naperville, IL 60565
Outside, there’s a really neat mud-free playground; inside, there are exhibits about the river with a 900-gallon fresh water tank with live animals, a “living wall” of plants, a hands-on display of natural objects, and more. Click here to see all of the upcoming events at Knock Knolls Nature Center.
3609 Spring Road
Oak Brook, IL 60523
This is a great place to see ducks and walk along tree-lined paths and a waterfall.
738 Thatcher Avenue
River Forest, IL 60305
Kids can see live native animals, tour wildflower gardens, learn about local wildlife and their habitats, and more—all inside this historic Victorian mansion from the 1870s.
901 31st Street
Downers Grove, IL 60515
This is a great place to check out a real live bee hive with clear sides so you can see all of the them vigorously working to make honey!
9800 Willow Springs Road
Willow Springs, IL 60480
At this large nature center, you will see a turtle habitat and many tanks with live animals. There are more birds outside as you continue down winding paths.
419 Trout Farm Road
Bolingbrook, IL 60440
The first and second floors have tanks with different animals, including snakes, frogs, and tortoises. Read our review and see all the great features of this nature center, such as hands-on activities and a rooftop picnic area.
7402 Lake Katherine Drive
Palos Heights, IL 60463
The lower level has animals, including many snakes, a bunny and other interesting native creatures.
525 S Park Boulevard
Glen Ellyn, IL 60137
This site rehabilitates over 8,000 animals each year and you can sometimes see them caring for these animals through the glass viewing area. There are also cages in the same area with birds and reptiles and a circular path outside that leads to more cages with animals.
2054 W. Stearns Road
Bartlett, IL 60103
The seasonal exhibits at this indoor center include reptiles, amphibians, and insects.
2430 N. Cannon Drive
Chicago, IL 60614
$9 for adults; $7 for students and seniors (60+); $6 for children Ages 3 – 12; Free for children under 3; family memberships start at $60.
100 South Barnes Road
Aurora, IL 60506
In their discovery barn, kids can see chickens, sheep, piglets, baby goats and more. Non-resident admission is $7 for children and seniors, $8 for adults. The next free day is August 9, 2017.
12700 Southwest Highway
Palos Park, IL 60464
Guests are welcome to touch, pet and groom the animals which change seasonally but often include chickens, ducks, turkeys, rabbits, pigs, goats, cows, sheep, horses, ponies and donkeys. Admission is $6 for ages 2 and up and the farm is open on Saturdays and Sundays from 1pm-4pm.
Want to visit another farm with your kids? Click here to see our full list of farms in our area.
1356 Gary Avenue
Wheaton, IL 60187
Cosley Zoo houses over 150 animals, representing more than 60 species. Click here to see all of the species you will see at this zoo. Wheaton residents are all free; Children are free; Nonresident Adults (ages 18-54): $7, Nonresident Adults (ages 55 and over): $6.
1000 Ray Moses Drive
Aurora, IL 60505
You can see river otters, great horned owls, cougars, llamas, pygmy goats, gray wolves, bald eagles, farmyard animals, reptiles, peacocks, and elk. Admission is free.