Rainy Chicago days can be a real bummer — especially when you are trapped at home with restless kiddos. Of course, you may be tempted to stay warm and dry in your house until the unsavory weather passes. Don’t do it. You will end up with a bunch of stir-crazy, bored kids. Instead, grab your cutest rain boots, don those rain slickers, and check out one of these rainy-day activities.
Visit the Garfield Park Conservatory.
It may be raining outside but it is always beautiful inside the Garfield Park Conservatory. This gem is one of the city’s best hidden secrets. The finest family offering is the Morning Glories Programs for preschoolers offered every Monday from 10:00 am until noon. The program is free and your kids will get to make a cool take-home project. If the children’s garden gets too busy for you, head over to the labyrinth-like fern room where the kids can play hide-and-seek or peek-a-boo amongst the greenery. And don’t forget to stop at the pond to marvel at the beautiful fishies.
Check out a Free Story Time.
Rainy days are the perfect time to snuggle up and listen to a great book!
There are lots of wonderful free story times all over the city. The Barnes and Noble at Webster and Clybourn has a free story time (often with a theme) that toddlers and beginning readers both love (and if your kids aren’t into the book, they can skip it and play with the train table in the children’s section). Psycho Baby offers a free weekly story time with Nili Yelin, “The Storybook Mom.” And the ever-popular Mr. Singer performs at the Farm-in-the-Zoo at the Lincoln Park Zoo every Wednesday and Friday morning.
The Shedd Aquarium.
A visit to the Shedd Aquarium is another great option a wet and sloshy day. Check out the beautiful beluga whales, marvel at the Carribbean Reef Exhibit and keep an eye out for the biggest anaconda snake you’ve ever seen. My kids are always totally captivated by the divers who are in the tanks working with the animals (and you thought you were wet!).
Visit an indoor play space.
Indoor play areas can be a real lifesaver on a rainy day. We love Family Grounds Cafe (where the kids can play and mommy can grab a latte and a scone) and Explore and Much More (which has activities that will remind you of a children’s museum). If your kiddos are really bonkers, than you might want to head to Pump It Up where they can just jump like crazy people for an hour or so.
Check out the Modern Wing.
The Art Institute is another peaceful (and dry) place to pass the time on an inclement day. The Ryan Education Center in the Modern Wing has lots to offer kiddos (and admission is free!). Be sure to check out the excellent Curious Corner computer kiosks where kids can participate in online activities inspired by the museum’s collection.