Tour for People with Disabilities
Day 1 – Explore, Learn and Create
Harvest Room 7164 West 127th Street, Palos Heights, IL 60463
The Harvest Room’s unique and affordable menu provides a beautiful way to start the day exploring Chicago Southland. The owners and chefs pride themselves on bringing fresh, local and organic ingredients to the table that create a whirlwind of flavors and appealing presentation. You can choose either the traditional Harvest Breakfast of two eggs, potatoes, toast / pancakes or start your day off with a BOOM by ordering the Boom, Boom Brisket Benedict with grilled cheese, tomato marmalade, white cheddar, house smoked beef brisket, strawberry BBQ hollandaise and more! They also offer a vegan and gluten free breakfast with goodies such as The Edgy Veggie with roasted red peppers, vegan cheese, firm tofu with spices and Vegan Style or Gluten-Free Style Breakfast Sandwiches. The heart of any self-proclaimed “foodie” will flutter with excitement. Harvest Room’s open, airy dining room as well as a private side room can accommodate groups of more than 35 people.
Little Red Schoolhouse Nature Center (Allow 1 - 2 hours to enjoy) 9800 Willow Springs Road, Willow Springs, IL 60480
Now that you’ve eaten garden fresh food, it’s time to explore the gardens and trails at Little Red Schoolhouse Nature Center. This has long been a favorite spot for both Cook County residents and out-of-town visitors to appreciate nature. The new Accessible Garden & Trail at Little Red Schoolhouse Nature Center is a 6,000 square foot garden with accessible trail encouraging people of all abilities to physically interact with nature. The garden features several flower beds (five of them are raised and accessible), interpretive signage lining an ADA compliant concrete walkway and a sensory water feature. The flower beds are filled with flora that stimulate the senses and include a mixture of plants with various textures. Among them are papyrus sedge with thin, smooth stems; coneflowers with spiny centers; and dusty miller with lacey, fuzzy foliage. There is even an aromatic herb bed with basil, oregano and parsley to rouse the sense of smell. From the garden, the accessible trail winds through the prairie and down to Long John Slough, inspiring people to immerse themselves in nature, rather than just observe it from the sidelines. The path is just under a half-mile long and is 100% ADA compliant. Check inside the nature center to see and learn more about amphibians, reptiles and birds of prey. The group rate is one smile per person!
Fox’s Restaurant & Pub 9240 South Cicero Avenue, Oak Lawn, IL 60453
Now that you saw some foxes on the trails, head over to Fox’s Restaurant & Pub for lunch, a classic Chicago pizza restaurant with an Irish twist. This family friendly restaurant has been serving the Chicagoland area since 1964. You could order any of their well known special pizzas, create your own unique pizza or go for a classic cheese. Fox’s menu offers a large selection from fish to steak, Italian dishes and flatbreads with several appetizers (try the Reuben Rolls). But most importantly, Fox’s Restaurant keeps the tradition alive, with famous corned beef sandwiches! There is plenty of room for your group when you visit Chicago Southland serving more than 35 guests in the party room.
After lunch you can choose from one of two activities or try both if time allows.
Children's Museum in Oak Lawn (Allow 2-3 hours to enjoy) 5100 Museum Drive, Oak Lawn, IL 60453
After enjoying Fox’s fun menu entrees, discover a world of fun and learning at the Children's Museum in Oak Lawn! Explore Nanoscience, theater, art and other fun, educational exhibits. The elevator on the first floor makes it easy for all children and adults to enjoy both floors of fun. When on the second floor, check out the "What if...?" exhibit. This explores diversity in terms of disability. The kids and parents can learn basic sign language about the parts of an ear, how sound waves work and what a decibel means. This exhibit strives to help children understand that each and every one of us has something unique about ourselves. The commonality among all children is play. You’ll see in the Seasonal Events Section the museum also hosts multiple events throughout the year for children diagnosed with developmental disabilities.
Art Clay World USA, Inc./The Greater Chicago Artisan Center (Allow 2-3 hours) 4535 Southwest Highway, Oak Lawn, IL 60453
Your experience at the Children’s Museum in Oak Lawn will inspire you at Art Clay World USA in Oak Lawn. As the great people at local nonprofit Park Lawn have testified, there’s nothing intimidating about the work space at Art Clay World in Oak Lawn as people with all sorts of special needs excel in the creative chaos surrounding them. The experts at Art Clay World have worked with numerous groups of individuals with differing diagnoses of developmental disabilities. Painting of ceramics is where your group will usually begin and Art Clay World’s large selection of pre-made mugs and other ceramics makes it easy to get a quick start. The spacious layout of Art Clay World allows your group to paint, clean up and enjoy a snack in different rooms. The staff at Art Clay world are very flexible to any and all situations that might arrive and will cater to your needs to ensure you enjoy your experience.
Les Brothers Restaurant 8705 South Ridgeland Avenue, Oak Lawn, IL 60453
After learning and creating, your group will have built up an appetite. The perfect way to end your day is at Les Brothers Restaurant, a family restaurant that has maintained a great reputation ever since they first opened in 1974. Les Brothers’ food portions are large and ready to fulfill your appetite offering a variety of sandwiches, hamburgers, broiled and deep fried seafood, hearty classics and Italian or Mexican dishes, so there’s something for your whole group to enjoy. Their largest room can seat around 35+ guests.
Andy’s Frozen Custard 9507 South Cicero Avenue, Oak Lawn, IL 60453
Grab dessert at Andy’s Frozen Custard, where the custard is made fresh every single hour. Since they’re open all year round, you can grab Strawberry Shortcake Custard in the spring or you’ll love the Cookie Casanova in the winter.
Day 2 – BBQ, Brookfield and Baseball
Chuck’s Southern Comforts Café 6501 West 79th Street, Burbank, IL 60459
Start the day off with a little southern comfort at Chuck’s! Your group will love this unique restaurant specializing in BBQ, Gourmet Mexican and Cajun. Whether you’re in the mood for a more traditional breakfast like Chuck’s Country Omelet with ham off the bone, country sausage and bacon or you want to completely change it up with a Chuck’s Machacado Omelet with smoked beef brisket, tomato, onion, jalapeno and cheese, they have everything that will give your group energy for the busy day ahead. Chuck’s will make certain you are comfortable and feel right at home. This is Chicago’s most inspired blend of Mexican, Cajun-Creole, good old southern cookin’ and the BEST slow cooked smoked BBQ. Chuck’s Southern Comforts Cafe has been featured on numerous National and Local television shows including “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” and “Windy City Live.” The party room holds up to 30-40 people and a local A.E.R.O. Special Education Cooperative school for individuals with developmental disabilities can testify that the breakfast and lunch are a MUST TRY!
You can choose from one of two activities or try both if time allows.
Brookfield Zoo (Allow 3-4 hours to enjoy) 3300 Golf Road, Brookfield, IL 60513 (South Gate)
Now it’s time to see why Journalist David Perry wrote in Belt Magazine that, “The Brookfield Zoo has turned out to be one of the most inclusive major cultural sites I’ve ever encountered," (Zoo Camp for All, May 2015). Brookfield Zoo makes a concerted effort to make its grounds, pathways, buildings, exhibits and programs accessible to all visitors. For guests with sensory disabilities, Brookfield Zoo offers BZ Care Kits at the North and South Guest Relations. These include zoo visual schedule books, noise-deafening headphones, name tags, ID bracelets and stickers. Most of the exhibits at Brookfield Zoo have tactile elements to enhance their guests’ experience. The Hamill Family Play Zoo offers a variety of hands-on activities, including a quiet room for children who need a break. American Sign Language (“ASL”) interpreters are available for public programs and classes by advance request. There are plenty of food options for lunch or a quick snack. More information can be found at the Brookfield Zoo Accessibility Guide.
Chicago White Sox Major League Baseball (Allow 3-4 hours to enjoy) 333 West 35th Street, Chicago, IL 60616
After wandering throughout Brookfield Zoo, it’s time to “Sit back, relax and strap it down” at a Chicago White Sox MLB game at Guaranteed Rate Field. It’s fun to look around this stadium to see the history of the White Sox and celebration of the 2005 World Series Champion team. Guaranteed Rate Field also offers some of the best stadium food throughout the Midwest. Order some great Beggars pizza, the official pizza of the White Sox (gluten free available in sections 101, 122, 155 and 522). A veteran favorite is the Corn off the Cob (sections 104, 127, 142 and 529) topped with an assortment of ingredients including butter, salt and pepper. The home to the Chicago White Sox has been specifically designed to accommodate baseball fans requiring special assistance or attention, and every staff member is trained to respond to your needs. Assistive listening devices are available free of charge at the Guest Relations Booths located behind home plate on all three concourses. Large print information brochures and schedules are also available. More information about Guranteed Rate Field services for fans with disabilities can be found by clicking here.
Day 3 – Rolling Out
EggCetera Café 10120 191st Street, Mokena, IL 60448
Enjoy your last day in Chicago Southland with one of the best breakfast restaurants in Mokena at EggCetera Café offering a variety of delicious breakfast fare and fresh ingredients. Their Farm Fresh Eggs come from Mussman’s Back Acres, a farm just a few miles south of Mokena. Cooking with Trans-Fat free oils and offering some Gluten Free choices make certain you’re eating quality meals that will make you ready for your day. From the minute your group enters the doors of EggCetera Café, you’ll be treated like family. You’re certain to have a sunny-side up kind of day when you start it off at EggCetera Café.
Laraway Lanes 1009 West Laraway Road, New Lenox, IL 60451
The eggs in your breakfast will certainly power you up for bowling at Laraway Lanes Bowl in New Lenox, IL. Bowling is a very popular recreational and competitive activity enjoyed by individuals of all abilities. Laraway Lanes has six ball ramps, which can be used from the standing and sitting positions. Lincolnway Special Recreation Association highly recommends Laraway Lanes for your next group bowling event. You don't have to bowl like a pro to have fun and it can be enjoyed throughout all seasons.
Chicago Dough Company 1080 East Lincoln Highway, New Lenox, IL 60451
Celebrate your great bowling games over some pizza at Chicago Dough Company in New Lenox, IL. It’s simply a MUST to grab one more bite of great Chicago Style pizza and this is the place to finish off your trip. They offer gourmet pizza with a salad bar and a lunch buffet. Groups of 35+ people can be accommodated.
Chicago Annual Disability Pride Parade - July 23, 2016, 11AM 401 South Plymouth Court, Chicago, IL 60605
Show your pride for all abilities at the Annual Disability Pride Parade, where the purpose is to celebrate and strengthen the pride, power and unity of people with disabilities. The parade route is a little more than a mile through the heart of downtown Chicago. Everyone who believes that disability is a natural part of human diversity and supports Disability Pride is invited to be a part of the Parade. The theme for 2016 is, “Continuing the Drive: Inclusion Matters.” More information about driving, parking and public transportation can be found here.
Special Christmas and Easter Events:
The Children’s Museum in Oak Lawn Special Holiday Party & Easter Egg Hunt
Orland Square Mall Caring Santa and Easter Bunny
Chicago Ridge Mall Signing for Santa
We can assist with transportation through the Chicago Disability Transit.
** Please note: Itinerary may be modified to meet your group’s specific needs. Locations and selections are subject to availability. Please contact Tobie at Tobie@VisitChicagoSouthland.com or 708-895-8200 to obtain current pricing and confirmation of dates and locations.
Little Red Schoolhouse Nature Center
Children's Museum in Oak Lawn
Art Clay World USA, Inc./The Greater Chicago Artisan Center
Chicago White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field
Bowling for all abilities
Disability Pride Parade
Santa at Children's Museum in Oak Lawn
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