The allure of the downtown Chicago theater scene, the upscale dining options and the exciting nightlife have most parents calling their trusted babysitter, but there are plenty of kid-friendly activities in and around the city that will serve as the catalyst for genuine family fun─no babysitter needed.
A family trip to Chicago should start with a trip to Navy Pier, no questions asked. Kids of all ages will enjoy the endless activities found around every corner in Illinois’’ most popular attraction, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2016. Ride the iconic ferris wheel or see a family-friendly show playing at the Navy Pier IMAX. Sample tasty treats in the food court or dine at one of the outdoor restaurants. For extra fun, check out the 4,000 square-feet of tunnels and mazes at the Amazing Chicago’s Funhouse Maze.
Chicago Children’s Museum
Located at Navy Pier, the Chicago’s Children’s Museum features three floors of exhibits and activities that combine education with fun. Kids can dig for dinosaur bones in an authentic excavation pit at the Dinosaur Expedition, and they can experience water firsthand in the WaterWays exhibit, an interactive system of pulleys, pumps, and pipes. For babies, toddlers and pre-school-age kids, check out the specially-designed Pritzker Playspace.
To fully appreciate the impressive city skyline, visit 360 CHICAGO off of the Magnificent Mile. The entire family will enjoy the 360-degree views of downtown, the lakefront and four neighboring states. On select evenings, arrive early to enjoy the Navy Pier fireworks show and keep an eye out for the 360 CHICAGO mascot, Seemore Miles, who’s always ready for a photo-op.
Just outside the city in the suburb of Schaumburg, you and your kids can experience 30,000-square feet of hands-on fun at Chicago LEGOLAND. Kids ages three to 10 will especially enjoy the rides, LEGO activities and the impressive life-size LEGO sculptures. Visitors can also check out the Kingdom Quest Laser Ride, a factory tour and a LEGO 4D cinema featuring two 15-minute movies. For all inclusive passes to Legoland and other Chicago attractions, purchase a GoChicago pass and kids pass.
Shedd Aquarium impresses two million visitors every year and offers a variety of exhibits and experiences for the entire family. Once the largest indoor aquarium in the world, Shedd Aquarium features exhibits on the Amazon, the Caribbean reef, waters of the world and more. Don’t miss the aquatic show or Shedd’s Stingray Touch experience in Shedd’s first outdoor environment.