History, art and nature at the Lake County Discovery Museum

History, art and nature at the Lake County Discovery Museum

Our adventure today led us to the Lake County Discovery Museum. This museum is located in the Lakewood Forest Preserve which is the largest forest preserve in Lake County. We drove through rolling green hills and saw two deer walking across the meadow on the drive into the museum.

We knew we were headed into an adventure as soon as we pulled into the wooded parking lot. The kids were shouting, "Look at that elephant! Can we see it?"

The elephant turned out to be a life sized mastodon replica which the kids were more than happy to get up close and personal with. Surrounding the front entrance to museum were brilliant wildflowers and plenty of shade trees.

We started on one side of the museum which is home to the Curt Teich Postcard Archives, the world's largest collection of postcards and related materials. My kids have never even sent a postcard so they were fascinated with the drawings and photos on these vintage cards.

They were enchanted with the classic Peter Pan and Alice in Wonderland postcards. It's a hard choice, but I would have to say my favorites were the "light up" postcards. These cards were fitted with colored film that glows when held up to the light.



We walked further into the Modern Masters, which is a temporary exhibit at the museum.

I couldn't believe my eyes walking into this gallery to see works by Picasso, Chagall, Dali, Miro and several more modern artists. We were the only ones there. Yep, just us and some of the more magnificent artists in recent history.

The museum provided a family activity book to finding some of the works along with open ended questions. It was sort of an art scavenger hunt, which Lilia gladly followed.


We then moved on to the history section of the museum. We started off in a theater which was set up to look like a roller coaster, with vibrating seats, sound effects and all. The roller coaster took us through time to see Lake County as it was from the time of wooly mammoths until present day. Both Lilia and Franky agreed that this was one of their favorite parts of the museum.

Next up: photos and artifacts depicting everything from dinosaurs to saloons to movies made in Lake County were beautifully displayed. There were several hands on activities and it was just as interesting for me as it was for the kids.


We took a walk on the grounds, outdoors past a lake and down a path where the kids discovered geese, flowers and insects. The Lakewood Forest preserve is stocked with trails and many more things to do. We'll definitely be back to do some more outdoor exploring.


I'm not sure how crowded the museum gets, but at least this morning, we were one of the few people there. I definitely recommend checking it out if you're in the area. Interesting history, beautiful grounds and an art gallery? What are you waiting for? Get out and go!

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Filed under: conservation, history, nature

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