If you're looking to expose your children to some culture this summer, and do it on the cheap, then you'll definitely want to check out the Passport to Adventure program.
To get started, your family just needs to visit a participating museum or public library to pick up a passport booklet filled with destinations to over 50 museums, nature centers and historical sites in Chicago's western suburbs. (Call your local library to see if it has the passports; if not, you can check with one of the sites on this list.)
Then during the summer, your family's goal is to fill your passport with as many stamps as you can. Some of the museums, zoos, nature centers and sites offer special activities for children who participate in the Passport to Adventure program.
Among the dozens of destinations listed are the Fox River Trolley Museum in South Elgin, Morton Arboretum in Lisle, Kline Creek Farm in West Chicago, Cosley Zoo in Wheaton, DuPage Children's Museum in Naperville, Blackberry Farm in Aurora and the Willowbrook Wildlife Center in Glen Ellyn. (Some have admission fees; others are free.)
After visiting five sites, participants who return their passport to the location stamped on the front page of their booklet receive a certificate noting their accomplishment. Visiting seven sites earns the certificate and an additional prize determined by each museum.
Go West reader Jennifer Schlachter says her family participates in the Passport to Adventure program every summer.
"We pick our (minimum) seven places to collect stamps in the book, get a small prize at the end, and the best part is that it can cost little to no money for all of our 'adventures,'" she says.
The program is sponsored by the Kane-DuPage Regional Museum Association, an alliance of more than 60 museums.