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Chicago’s Best Museums and Attractions for Kids

by Holly Riddle

Dec 6, 2019

Jon Bilous – Dreamstime.com

Travel Tips

There are tons of ways to keep the kids entertained when you’re in Chicago, no matter what your family enjoys, your budget or the age of your kids. Check out these seven museums and attractions while in the Windy City for a trip everyone enjoys.


  1. Lincoln Park Zoo

Not only is Lincoln Park Zoo a top-tier attraction with special activities occurring through the year and an impressive array of animal exhibits and species on display, but, to top it all off, it’s free. The attraction is perfect for any budget-conscious family looking to occupy their kids for a day in Chicago.


  1. Navy Pier

Navy Pier is likewise a (mostly) free attraction that welcomes a lot of children and their families. While visiting Navy Pier itself comes with no cost, you’ll quickly find there are loads of things for kids to do while at the pier that come with a price, such as the Chicago’s Children’s Museum, Ferris wheel and plenty of kid-friendly shopping and dining.


  1. Millennium and Maggie Daley Parks

Visit Millennium Park to see Chicago’s notable “bean” sculpture and snap a few selfies, and then make your way to the adjacent Maggie Daley Park for all its kid-friendly activities. In the winter, there’s an excellent skating ribbon that offers views of the Chicago skyline. The rest of the year, you can find an outdoor climbing park and play garden.


  1. Shedd Aquarium

Shedd Aquarium is one of the world’s largest indoor aquariums and features loads of exhibits and marine life species. Beyond both native and exotic fish, kids will enjoy checking out the beluga whales, dolphins and otters.


Adler Planetarium Sculpture and Chicago Skyline. Photo: Rosana Scapinello – Dreamstime.com


  1. Adler Planetarium

There are several kid-friendly attractions clustered around Shedd Aquarium, and Adler Planetarium is one of them. The historic space offers lots of family-geared activities and educational, hands-on experiences for kids to learn more about space and space exploration.


  1. The Field Museum

Also near both Shedd Aquarium and Adler Planetarium, The Field Museum is a wonderfully fun, expansive natural history museum known as the home of Sue the T-Rex. Beyond Sue, check out other dinosaur skeletons in remarkable condition, lots of taxidermy, gemstones, mummies and more.


  1. The Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago

Chicago’s science museum is one of the world’s largest and offers a little bit of something for every visitor. Transportation, weather, engineering, geology — whatever branch of science it is, this museum likely touches on it. Visiting in the wintertime is especially nice, as the museum puts on an impressive Christmas display, with 50 trees lit up and decorated to reflect different world cultures.


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