Six Great Attractions For Kids In Chicago

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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.”

ChicagoHere are six of the best Chicago family attractions to visit this summer that won’t take your entire travel budget.

Adler Planetarium
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.

Shedd Aquarium
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.

Cloud Gate
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
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?

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  1. Maralea says:

    I love visiting Chicago! So many fun things to see and do!

  2. Tammy S says:

    These are all good places to visit. I would also add to the list The Fields Museum and The American Girl store.

  3. saminder gumer says:

    i love chicago, but did not realize there were so many kid friendly things to do. i have never been with the kids, but next time i get a chance i will definitely take them. preferably not in winter though.

  4. Thomas Murphy says:

    The Lincoln Park Zoo sounds awesome!

  5. Reading this makes me want to go to Chicago

  6. christal c willdebbie says:

    I do not live far from Chi town. I will use your article, when deciding what to do next time we are there. I did take my daughter to the American Girl Doll store a few years ago. I’m glad you did not include this in your points of interest, like so many others(writers)

  7. Jennifer Marie says:

    oooh I think my kids would like Lincoln Park Zoo

  8. I would love to go back :)

  9. Chicago is one of our favorite places!

  10. Christopher Williams says:

    I live in Chicago. I’ve been to all of those plenty of times. Of all the places you mentioned I’ve been to Navy Pier the most.

  11. Melissa Shirley says:

    I have never been to Chicago, but If I ever went with my son he would love the Shedd Aquarium.

  12. Jessie C. says:

    Thanks for the list, we’ve been to Aquarium and museum, kids love them.

  13. HEATHER PANJON says:

    Thanks for this list, will be making our first trip to chicago soon:)

  14. Betty Baez says:

    I’ve been to navy pier, linkin park zoo, shedd aquarium, and the planetarium when I was little I use to live in Chicago I’d love to do a family trip and take my little ones to the places I use to go

  15. Christy Crider says:

    I am from GA and would love visit Chicago. My sister lived there for a while and now she lives down the road from me. She said she actually misses it.

  16. Sandy VanHoey says:

    Never been there but my best friends daughter just went and she loved it there

  17. My parents lived here in the 60’s. I would love to visit to see their old neighborhood.

  18. I have never been to Chicago, but would like to visit

  19. Jen Barker says:

    I have never been to Chicago and my husband will be going there for work soon, I wanted to go with him and take the kids, but didn’t know what I could do with them. This is a great resource!

  20. Stephanie says:

    i love the Navy Pier! so much fun

  21. Mary Happymommy says:

    I’ve never been to Chicago but my brother was there while he was in the Navy. I’d like to visit the Navy Pier.

  22. I went to Navy Pier by myself ages ago. It would be great to bring our whole family to Chicago. Thanks for the kid-friendly suggestions!

  23. I would love to do those things, too! Thanks!

  24. Maralea says:

    We love Chicago! So much to do and so close to home!

  25. The children’s museum and the zoo would be my 4 year old’s definite favorites. Thanks for sharing this. I have not been to Chicago yet but if we do go, these will be our on our list to see.

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