Chicago is one of those cities that is on my bucket list for family travel. Every year Chicago becomes a better destination for traveling with kids. With so many child theme attractions opening and older ones become more family friendly, it’s a must visit for every family. In preparation for what will hopefully be a trip to Chicago very soon I decided to put together a list of places we want to visit. From zoos to museums to awesome parks, there are so many fun activities for kids in Chicago that they might never want to leave. The best part, a lot of the kids activities in the city are free or family budget friendly, meaning you can do as many of them as you have time for. These are some of the best places to take kids in Chicago, both indoor attractions and outdoor sites.
Best Places To Take Kids In Chicago
Lincoln Park Zoo: This city zoo is open every day of the year, except major holidays, and offers free admission. The zoo is not as big as Brookfield Zoo, Chicago’s suburban zoo, but it has a diverse number of animals and several animal houses that can take an entire day to explore. Children will love the primate house and the chance to get up close with big cats in their house too at the Lincoln Park Zoo.
Navy Pier: The pier is free for guests to visit, but all the attractions on the pier have admission fees. Still, walking along the pier during the warm months is thrilling because it is a hive of activity and you can watch boats go and come through the Chicago River lock. A mini amusement park with a replica of the first Ferris Wheel takes prominence on the Navy Pier, and you can buy tickets for each ride without having to pay to enter the ride area. If kids are up for it, a turn on the Ferris Wheel is one of those once in a lifetime experiences everyone has to do when they are in Chicago.
The Field Museum: Chicago is home to some serious museums, and the Field Museum is one of the oldest and more serious, but it is also super kid friendly. There are even exhibits created entirely for the amusement of children, and those that aren’t, do a great job of engaging children of all ages that pass through the stately halls. Dinosaur lovers will be in awe right as they enter, with Sue the Tyrannosaurus taking center stage. Head upstairs to watch as researchers work on her bones in a glass lined lab station right in the museum.
Maggie Daley Park: This is the newest city park and is connected to Millennium Park. Here it’s all about the kids! There is a climbing wall, skating ribbon, play gardens for children, fun children park elements with everything from a rope bridge to lookout tower slides. You can spend a whole day here with plenty of picnic area to have lunch, a small pond with boats, a field house and courts. The Maggie Daley Park is a really great addition to the city for Chicagoans and its guests.
Windy Tall Ship: If you are visiting Chicago during the spring and summer months, or even early fall, you will notice how much everyone likes to get on the water or as near to it as possible. Docked at Navy Pier is Windy, a tall ship that offers regular boat rides out onto the lake. This isn’t a regular boat ride though, because guests are allowed to help raise and lower the sails to learn about life on Lake Michigan before engine powered boats became the norm. While any sail is great for children, there are some especially fun sails that are pirate themed, take you out to watch the fireworks show and more.
Shedd Aquarium: A visit to this marine life aquarium is a hit with children and adults of all ages, focusing on what you can do to ensure that the animals featured here are protected in the wild. The Shedd Aquarium has a history of taking in hurt and stranded marine animals, and has even rescued a couple of dogs that interact with caregivers to help illustrate that all animals deserve our respect and patience. In addition to a giant reef tank, there is the popular shark reef exhibit and an entire Oceanarium addition where dolphins, belugas, seals and penguins show guests how they live their life through their daily routines.