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Travel Tips for Chicago Nature Lovers: 7 Places to Visit on Next Outdoor Adventure

Image: Travel Tips for Chicago Nature Lovers: 7 Places to Visit on Next Outdoor Adventure
Tall Ship Windy, Lake Michigan, Chicago. (wikimedia/commons)

By    |   Sunday, 18 Jan 2015 10:36 AM

Chicago is one of the largest cities in the United States, but still has plenty to offer nature lovers. Here are seven travel tips for those looking to experience what the great outdoors has to offer the next time they are visiting the Windy City:

1. Get on a tall ship: The Tall Ship Windy of Chicago is a four-masted ship that can offer nature-loving visitors to Chicago the opportunity to get out on the waters of Lake Michigan.

Travel tips for this experience include checking in at the ship’s Navy Pier dock and leaving your water fears behind. While the 148-foot boat looks like a 19th century schooner, it is a fully modern vessel.

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2. Stop by a national historic landmark: In Chicago, nature is a national treasure. The Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool is designed with a waterfall and rock features that recall the dancing waters of a Midwestern river. The prairie-style architecture provides a backdrop for a variety of native plant species. Travel tips to enjoy this feature include using an online map of the plants to enhance a visit.

3. Don’t be afraid to head inside: If the weather is not optimal for an outside adventure, nature-lovers might want to consider an indoor trip to the Chicago Museum Campus. The Shedd Aquarium is the largest aquarium in the world is home to 8,000 live water animals.

The Field Museum of Natural History is home to literally millions of not-so-alive animal specimens, thousands of which you can see on display, including the most complete T-Rex skeleton in the world. The Adler Planetarium offers extensive exhibits on the sky as well as two planetariums.

4. Northerly Island: This park is a natural world in transition. The area, which is a 91-acre peninsula, was actually made by man, but provides a natural spot for enjoying views of the city and Lake Michigan.

It now provides an evolving oasis for experiencing camping, hiking, and other outdoor activities. Travel tips to enjoy this park include taking a picnic to enjoy after a trip to the museum campus. In the winter, visitors are invited to enjoy snow-trekking at the park.

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5. The Butterfly Garden at Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum Chicago: This nature-lovers' experience features 75 species of butterflies which can be enjoyed year-round. The hothouse provides the perfect climate for tropical flowers, plants, and birds, which co-exist with more than 1,000 butterflies.

The nature museum also includes a variety of other exhibits exploring the rainforest and other ecosystems.

6. Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore: This national lakeshore area a short drive or train ride outside downtown Chicago gives outdoor adventure lovers a place to enjoy the natural side of Lake Michigan.

The Chicago South Shore and South Bend Railroad can provide public transportation to the park. Hikers can enjoy more than 45 miles of trails on rugged natural dunes.

7. Morton Arboretum: While the spring and summer months are the best time to enjoy the Morton Arboretum, nature-lovers are invited to this 1,700-acre nature preserve year-round. The living museum, 25 miles west of Chicago, has a children's garden, a maze, and treehouses to explore. It features endangered or rare plants from more than 40 countries.

Travel tips to enjoy this facility include scheduling a trip on one of the daily tram tours, which take one hour. For those who are more active, there are 16 miles of nature trails to explore on their own.

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Chicago is one of the largest cities in the United States, but still has plenty to offer nature lovers. Here are seven travel tips for those looking to experience what the great outdoors has to offer the next time you are visiting the Windy City.
travel tips, chicago, nature lovers, outdoor, adventure, vacation
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2015-36-18
Sunday, 18 Jan 2015 10:36 AM
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