Guest post by Dan Patterson. With school out and summer in full swing, now is the time to plan family summer vacations. One popular family travel destination is Chicago, the “windy city.”
The planetarium is a great place for kids because it is both fun and educational. Kids are fascinated by the unknown and Adler Planetarium allows them to have new experiences and use their imagination to explore another world.
Many of the exhibits allow for hands on exploration through interactive learning. For example, the Universe in Your Hands exhibit illustrates medieval ideas about the universe through dress up and role play activities. Another favorite is the immersive theater which allows you to explore the universe in 3D. With the many exhibits and shows, this is one attraction that will keep kids interested all day.
The Shedd Aquarium is another great place for children and adults to explore the 32,500 animals living there, and even more interesting types of coral. There is also an aquatic show where trained animals perform. The dancing beluga whales will have you and your kids laughing.
Located in Millenium Park, Cloud Gate (also known as “The Bean”) has become a very popular thing for tourists to see while in Chicago. The curved surface reflects a distorted view and kids love experimenting with the different angles at which they can see themselves and the Chicago skyline. Since it’s located in the park it’s free to see and can make for part of a relaxing afternoon.
Kohl’s Children’s Museum
Recently named one of the top ten children’s museums in America, Kohl’s is a great attraction for children ages 8 and under. The many different exhibits use social, physical, and imaginative activities to motivate children to learn about nature, art, music, and much more. There are permanent and rotating exhibits so there is always something new to do with your young children.
Navy Pier is a fun place to spend part of a day, with plenty of activities for everyone. There is an outdoor art sculpture exhibit, night time entertainment, and several carnival-type rides. There are also several chartered boat companies that give tours around the nearby Lake Michigan. This is a great way to tour the city and learn more about architecture and popular spots.
Lincoln Park Zoo
One of the only free zoos still operating in the U.S., the Lincoln Park Zoo is entertaining for both toddlers and teenagers. Besides having a wide selection of exotic animals, there are also paddle and swan boat rides, a carousel ride, a 4-D Virtual Safari simulator, and a trolley that tours the park. A small fee is charged for these attractions (about $2 per ride) but with free zoo admission this still turns out to be a very inexpensive way to spend the afternoon. There are also a few historical attractions located within Lincoln Park, so be sure to explore those as well.
All of these family-oriented attractions are what make Chicago a great summer travel destination. With so many things to do, the attractions of Chicago will keep you and your kids entertained for the entire trip.
This post was provided by Dan Patterson who works for CityPASS. Use the Chicago CityPASS to save on admission to some of the top family attractions in Chicago such as the Adler Planetarium, Field Museum, Shedd Aquarium, and more.
What about you? Have you been to Chicago? What are you favorite attractions?