Scouting helps kids build confidence, strengthen social skills, and learn about new interests as they explore the outdoors and volunteer in their communities. Local organizations are filled with experts in their fields who are happy to help scouts dive into topics and earn badges. Some programs match every badge requirement, some only touch on part of the requirements, and others are simply offering an extra enrichment experience.
Not every scout meeting needs to be a field trip, but these outings are fun ways to keep scouts entertained and engaged. We’ve put together this resource for scout leaders and parents looking for awesome activities and ways to earn Cub Scout badges and Girl Scout badges.
Outdoor Cub Scout Badges and Girl Scout Badges
The nature centers run by Forest Preserve District of Cook County can be a supplement to almost any badges. A favorite spot of ours is The Little Red Schoolhouse Nature Center, which would be good for Nature and Hiking.
Cosley Zoo in Wheaton hosts a variety of badges for Daisies, Brownies and Juniors, along with Tiger, Wolf, Bear, and Webelo Scouts. Meet various badge requirements while learning about ways to help all of the animals that call Cosley Zoo home.
Red Oak Nature Center in Batavia offers programming that meets the requirements for select outdoor badges earned in Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts and Girl Scouts.
Morton Arboretum offers both self-guided and guided programming for scout groups. Offerings vary by season. Morton Arboretum would be a great spot to try out the Birds, Nature and Gardening merit badges.
Primrose Farm in St. Charles welcomes Girl Scouts and Cub Scouts as they look to earn outdoor badges related to farming and farm animals.
Lyman Woods in Downers Grove offers quite a few programs to earn cub scouts badges and girl scouts badges. Their overnight adventures include customized options such as tent rentals, lawn games, food and more. This is a great option for troops that are just getting started with camping.
Earn the Kayaking merit badge at one of these Scenic Spots with Canoe, Paddleboard, and Kayak Rentals.
Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum in Chicago offers Scout Workshops.
Schaumburg Park District offers over 20 Cub Scout programs and over 30 Girl Scout programs. Some only run seasonally, while others happen year-round.
Reach new heights at Go Ape’s scout programs in Western Springs.
The Forge: Lemont Quarries offer scout packages for an afternoon of outdoor adventures including archery, climbing, water sports, and more.
Indoor Cub Scout Badges and Girl Scout Badges
Check out one of these indoor swim facilities for the BSA Swimming badge. Oak Brook Park District offers Scout Swim Parties to help with water safety guidelines and swim assessment guidelines. Select Goldfish Swim locations offer a free Community W.A.T.E.R. Safety Program for scouts.
Interested in a Personal Fitness Merit Badge? Take your scouts to a local high school football game, attending a martial arts class or other local fitness centers to review the Sports and Athletic badges. You could even go and visit the Cubs for a Ballpark Tour!
AIR Aerial Fitness has private aerial classes geared specifically towards Daisy, Brownie, Junior, and Cadet trooops to earn “Purple Teal”, “Brownie Dancer”, “Staying Fit”, and “Entrepreneur” badges.
Kidz Kabaret in Naperville offers a 2-hour workshop for scouts, including their own badge.
Dive into history at the Preservation Partners of Fox Valley in St. Charles. They’ve developed their own programming to teach scouts about local history.
The Village of Montgomery offers scout groups the opportunity to tour Village Hall, participate in city council meetings, learn local history, and more. Contact your own municipal government to see if they can do something similar.
DuPage County Historical Museum offers programs for Daisies, Brownies, and Juniors, as well as Cub Scouts.
Get creative but keep the mess contained at Studio Nafasa in Aurora, Studio 60 Art Center in Oswego or Art Fuzd in Schaumburg. Looking for an art studio near you? Check our list of Art Classes to see if they offer special programming for scouts.
STEM Cub Scout Badges and Girl Scout Badges
Lizzadro Museum of Lapidary Arts in Oak Brook offers a variety of scout badges, and discounted admission for all scout groups.
Legoland Discovery Center in Schaumburg offers special scout group pricing.
Fermilab has previously offered scout programs. Contact their office to see when tours and programming will be available.
Dive into STEM topics and explore the grounds at Naper Settlement’s scout programs.
The Shedd Aquarium hosts Scout Events throughout the year, including oceanography and marine biology. Keep an eye on their calendar for offerings.
Local planetariums, such as the Waubonsie Valley HS Planetarium or the Elgin School District U-46 Planetarium offer Scout programming, or can be supplemental to the Astronomy or Space Exploration Merit Badge.
Girl Scouts in the Chicagoland are a part of one of two councils: Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana or Northern Illinois. Councils host their own special programming or badge workshops to help you complete official Girl Scout badges.
Are your children in scouts? What was their favorite activity? Leave us a note in the comments section!