11 Things to do with kids in Galena Illinois

My family lives about 30 minutes from Galena, Illinois and we love taking day trips to Galena! We go to Galena multiple times a season.   There are so many fun activities for kids in Galena, Illinois. Including many outdoor activities.   Here is a list of 11 places we LOVE to take our kids to in Galena, Illinois! 

Galena, Illinois, is located in the Northwest corner of Illinois, just right before you get to the Mississippi River, about a three-hour drive from Chicagoland. It’s a historical town and once had a bigger population than Chicago.  It is the home of President Ulysses Grant.

Galena, Illinois, is mostly a tourist town.  It has a quaint downtown, tons of cabins, hotels, restaurants, and golf courses.  It also has many outdoor activities and festivals throughout the year.

Galena Trolly Tours

All three of my kids have been obsessed with Danial Tiger’s neighborhood at one time or another.  They loved being able to go on a trolly ride!  One fall day, before the pandemic, the kids had a day off school, so we took them to Galena for a trolly tour.  This was a historical tour, and it was fascinating. My kids really enjoyed this! 

Chew Chew Cookies 

Chew Chew Cookies is an adorable cookie shop with a huge working train for the kids to see! If you’re taking your kids downtown to the shops, this is a must-stop!   The cookies are delicious, and your kids will want to spend time looking at the trains.

I recommend spending an afternoon seeing these next three places together.   They’re all land preserves in Jo Davis County.  During the pandemic, my kids received great joy from simple outdoor places to visit and see.   The three of these places in Galena have pretty views and are worth a visit.  

Thunderbay falls 

Thunderbay falls a manmade waterfall, but beautiful and fun to take kids to.  You can really get a close-up view!

Horseshoe Mounds 

Horseshoe Mounds is a park you can spend about an hour at.  There are trails, breathtaking views, and little activities for kids along the way.

Casper Bluff Land and Water Preserve

Another Preserve with easy trails for kids and beautiful views.

Mini Golf

Little General Miniature Golf.  You can also find Miniature Golf at Chestnut Resort.

Hoof it 

Hoof it -Galena is a really unique experience that I highly recommend!  You get to take an hour-long hike with goats!  My kids LOVE this hike!  Kids have the opportunity to hold goats on a leash, walk with them, pet them, and feed them.  If you have small kids, I highly recommend doing this!

Galena Recreation Park 

My kids really love this playground!  It is huge!  After all the playgrounds were closed last year, it’s amazing how much joy they get from checking out a new park!  I highly recommend Galena Recreation Park!


If you take the trolly tour above, you will learn about the Galena River.   The Galena River is shallow and calm, perfect for taking kids kayaking.  There are a few kayak rental places in Galena, a great place for kayak beginners!


Chestnut Resort is awesome for skiing during the winter, but they also have fun activities during the summer and fall.  You can do a ski lift ride, go on their trails, ride bikes, play disc golf, play mini-golf and slide down their alpine slide!

Winston Tunnel Trail 

Winston Tunnell Trail is an AWESOME trail for families with kids!  I love it because there is plenty of adventure for kids but no scary cliffs.  Winston Tunnel Trail is a trail on an old railroad, it is really cool, very pretty, and you will also see some cool wildlife.


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