Windy City With The Kids: Top Family-Friendly Attractions In Chicago

Anyone traveling with kids knows the importance of finding plenty of activities that appeal to this set; they just can’t appreciate many of the more adult aspects of vacationing, like good dinners out, sightseeing, and just meandering around a new area, taking it all in. If you are planning a trip to Chicago, have no fear, as there is plenty on tap for the kiddies. Here are just a few attractions worth considering for a family-friendly itinerary.

Museums Galore

When thinking of where to take younger children, a museum may not be the first thing to pop into your mind, and with good reason. But, Chicago is full of museums that are made just for kids, offering a whole different experience. Located at Navy Pier, the Chicago Children’s Museum is chock-full of hands-on exhibits that make learning fun.

The Kohl Children’s Museum, located about a 30-minute drive from downtown Chicago in Glenview, is also full of hands-on fun, as well as a nature park that spans two acres, full of climbing structures, interactive sculptures, a sensory garden and a water wall.

Then we have the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, which is great for the grownups as well. Chock full of interesting information about nature and the environment, it is also home to an animal habitat play area, butterfly garden and much more fun nature stuff.

Animal Attractions

Any attraction with animals is usually a safe bet for kiddy enjoyment. First, we have the Shedd Aquarium, which is considered one of the best in the nation, and is one of the city’s top-visited attractions.  The floor-to-ceiling exhibits are home to a dizzying array of marine life, such as sharks, penguins, sea turtles, whales, jelly fish and dolphins to name a few. It also has regular animal shows in the Abbot Oceanarium.  It can get pretty crowded, and hitting it first thing in the morning right after it opens is a good way to avoid the rush.

The Lincoln Park Zoo is another great attraction for kids-it is home to world-class exhibits housing animals from all over the world. And if you are watching your spending, it is free every day of the year.

The Brookfield Zoo, located in the suburb of Brookfield covers 200 acres, and has a large variety of cageless exhibits; one such is Tropic World, which offers three different environments, housing primates from all over the world.

Legoland Discovery Center

Legoland is a great attraction for kids, and probably for the many adults who fondly remember their own building adventures with this iconic children’s toy. Located in the suburb of Schaumburg, it is home to a number of attractions—all LEGO-themed naturally, a build and test area, and a replica of the Chicago skyline.

Navy Pier Park

Navy Pier Park is a favorite amongst tourists and locals alike; its amusement park is host to a number of cool rides, such as the 150-foot tall Ferris wheel, water rides, and a hand-painted carousel. You will also find sweet treats galore, shops and great restaurants, such as the Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.

Tall Ship Windy

This schooner will take you on a fascinating tour of Lake Michigan while being regaled with interesting stories about pirates in the Age of Sail. You and the kids will also get an opportunity to hoist the sales. Don’t forget your camera because you will be treated to some beautiful views. This tour is very engaging, and will keep the kids entertained for sure.

Kelli Cooper enjoys blogging about all things travel; if you want to learn more about Chicago attractions, she recommends checking out the great article In Chicago? Fun Things To Do Starting with the Lake.