There are so many excellent attractions for kids in and around Chicago that narrowing down the choices is often the most difficult part. Kids have a variety of interests, so finding an attraction that would make most any kid happy is easy to do in Chicago. From museums to zoos and everything in between, Chicago is the place to go for kid-friendly fun.
Museum of Science and Industry
5700 S. Lake Shore Drive
Chicago, IL 60637
The Museum of Science and Industry always has new things to see and do for kids. There are permanent exhibits and temporary exhibits, and the exhibits are interactive and fun. The museum also has a five-story, domed, wrap-around Omnimax Theater and live science experiments going on throughout. Kids will be amazed and entertained at the Museum of Science and Industry while also having an educational experience.
8400 31st. St.
Brookfield, IL 60513
Brookfield Zoo is located in the town of Brookfield, a western suburb of Chicago. Brookfield Zoo is comprised of over 200 acres of land and has around 450 species of animals; the zoo also offers a fully indoor dolphin exhibit and Tropic World, a cage-less exhibit that simulates an indoor rainforest. There are numerous eating areas in Brookfield Zoo where food can be purchased or a lunch can be brought in to eat at one of the many picnic areas. Brookfield Zoo offers exhibits for kids of all ages and does an excellent job of being family friendly.
American Girl Place
835 N. Michigan Ave.
Chicago, IL 60611
American Girl Place is located inside Water Tower Place in Chicago. This Chicago experience for kids is geared towards girls and it is a must visit for the girl who loves dolls, especially American Girl dolls. There are shops featuring all the American Girl dolls, plus accessories, books, doll furniture and many other American Girl-related items. There is also a photo studio where kids can pose with their American Girl doll and get their picture taken and a doll hair salon is even available. If budget and time allow, a visit to the American Girl Café is a must.
Kohl Children’s Museum
2100 Patriot Blvd.
Glenview, IL 60026
Situated on nearly nine acres in Glenview, including two acres of bounded outdoor space, Kohl Children’s Museum of Greater Chicago features 17 hands-on interactive exhibits that welcome approximately 335,000 visitors each year. Within this setting, the Museum organizes enrichment activities and programs designed to meet the developmental needs of children ages birth to eight. Put simply, play is the Museum’s reason for existence: hands-on, interactive, collaborative, accessible play. The museum focuses on play that stretches children’s imaginations, feeds their curiosity and mixes physical, emotional, imaginative, cognitive and social experiences to spark a love of learning that never goes away. Whether creating visual masterpieces in Adventures in Art, composing melodies in Music Makers, testing the Bernoulli Effect in City on the Move or caring for stuffed animals and dolls in Pet Vet and Baby Nursery, children are having so much fun that they don’t even realize they’re learning. Four infant and crawlers areas are positioned strategically throughout the museum so parents with babies can still supervise their toddlers, pre-schoolers and early elementary kids in the exhibits. With outreach programs for under-resourced neighborhoods, universal design for children with special needs and an environmentally conscious “green” building for the future, it’s easy to see why Kohl Children’s Museum is more than just a play space; it’s an incubator for transforming young minds into creative thinkers and learners. Visit through July 14, 2014 and experience Japan and Nature: Spirits of the Seasons, an interactive walk through the cultural and family life of our far Eastern neighbors.
LEGOLAND Discovery Center Chicago
Streets of Woodfield
601 N. Martingale Road
Schaumburg, IL 60173
LEGOLAND Discovery Center Chicago is geared towards kids ages three to 10. There are a large variety of LEGO attractions, of course including lots of opportunities for creative LEGO building. There are also rides and a 4D cinema available. At least a few hours of time are necessary to fully enjoy the LEGO experience, but patrons can stay as long as they like.
Michelle Guilbeau is an elementary teacher living in Chicago, Illinois. She has also experience in school administration and literacy coaching. Michelle enjoys sharing her knowledge of education and parenting issues with her readers. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.