Things to do with kids in Chicago

At first glance, the Windy City may not seem like a destination that caters well to little ones, but families on holiday in Chicago will find there are more than enough attractions and activities to keep kids busy.

On clear days, visitors can enjoy the panoramic views over the city from atop the iconic Willis Tower or the observatory atop 875 North Michigan Avenue. They can also enjoy a stroll through Lincoln Park or the Chicago Botanic Gardens if the sun is out.

The Navy Pier is a great place to walk along the docks and enjoy the spectacular views from the Ferris wheel and funfair rides. For larger scale amusement park fun, the renowned Six Flags Great America is on hand.

In inclement weather, unfortunately common in Chicago, parents should consider visiting one of the high-quality indoor playgrounds in the city. There are also several wonderful museums geared specifically towards children, such as the Chicago Children's Museum. With so many attractions on offer, children on holiday in Chicago will be just as enchanted with this city as their parents.

Chicago Field Museum photo

Chicago Field Museum

Chicago's wildly popular Field Museum of Natural History in Lake Shore Drive is home to 'Sue', the largest and most complete Tyrannosaurus Rex fossil ever found. The dinosaur came …

Chicago Field Museum

Chicago's wildly popular Field Museum of Natural History in Lake Shore Drive is home to 'Sue', the largest and most complete Tyrannosaurus Rex fossil ever found. The dinosaur came to rest here after being unearthed in South Dakota when the museum bought her remains for more than $8 million. Sue is just one of the draws to the museum. It offers other marvels such as getting a bug's eye view in an underground adventure; descending into an Egyptian tomb; watching a glowing lava flow; and getting up close and personal with the man-eating lions of Tsavo. The museum specialises in interactive and diorama-type exhibits across its nine acres of exhibition space, and is a must-visit for families on holiday in Chicago.

Website fieldmuseum.org

Lincoln Park photo

Lincoln Park

Lincoln Park, beginning at North Avenue and following the shore of Lake Michigan northwards, is Chicago's largest park. It contains many things to see and do, such as beaches, a bo…

Lincoln Park

Lincoln Park, beginning at North Avenue and following the shore of Lake Michigan northwards, is Chicago's largest park. It contains many things to see and do, such as beaches, a botanical conservatory, a golf course, grassy meadows, formal gardens, and sports fields. Pride of place is held by the standing statue of Abraham Lincoln, sculpted by Augustus Saint-Gaudens. His sitting Lincoln is in Chicago's other famous green lung, Grant Park. The most popular attraction within the park is the Lincoln Park Zoo, which not only houses hundreds of exotic animals, but offers experiences such as paddle boat rides, a virtual safari trip, and the Endangered Species Carousel with 48 artisan-crafted wooden animals that accommodates 50 riders at a time.

Website www.lpzoo.com

Admission

Free.

Six Flags Great America photo

Six Flags Great America

Top of the list of attractions for families on holiday in Chicago is the Six Flags Great America. Featuring some of the country's most exciting theme park rides, such as the Dark K…

Six Flags Great America

Top of the list of attractions for families on holiday in Chicago is the Six Flags Great America. Featuring some of the country's most exciting theme park rides, such as the Dark Knight Coaster, the American Eagle, and the Condor, the Six Flags Great America Park is a great way to spend the day. The kids will love meeting their favourite comic book superheroes and cartoon characters. Visitors can also cool off on a hot day with the rides at Hurricane Harbor, the attached water park. The amusement park can easily occupy the whole family for a day, with numerous restaurants and snack bars for refreshments and some live entertainment on offer.

Website www.sixflags.com

Shedd Aquarium photo

Shedd Aquarium

One of Chicago's best known attractions, the Shedd remains one of the world's largest indoor aquariums since its opening in 1930. The octagonal marble building houses more than 8,0…

Shedd Aquarium

One of Chicago's best known attractions, the Shedd remains one of the world's largest indoor aquariums since its opening in 1930. The octagonal marble building houses more than 8,000 river, lake, and sea creatures. The main attraction is the Caribbean Coral Reef exhibit and other marine habitat recreations of the Amazon basin, the rugged Pacific Northwest coast, and the Great Lakes. Animals in the Shedd include otters, penguins, whales, sharks, sea turtles, and much more. The aquarium also features an indoor saltwater Oceanarium housing marine mammals; dolphin shows are scheduled there daily.

Website www.sheddaquarium.org

Adler Planetarium and Astronomy Museum photo

Adler Planetarium and Astronomy Museum

Located on Lake Michigan, the Adler Planetarium is America's oldest planetarium and boasts a number of theatres. Inside its doors, visitors and locals alike have marvelled at the h…

Adler Planetarium and Astronomy Museum

Located on Lake Michigan, the Adler Planetarium is America's oldest planetarium and boasts a number of theatres. Inside its doors, visitors and locals alike have marvelled at the heavens since 1930. There are also numerous exhibits at the Adler, from design labs to ancient astronomy, the interactive Mission Moon experience to an engaging walk through the history of the cosmos. The Adler hosts many special lectures and events and a visit is an absolute must for stargazers. It is a good family attraction in Chicago as the shows enchant all age groups and much of the programme is carefully designed for children.

Website www.adlerplanetarium.org

Chicago Children's Museum photo

Chicago Children's Museum

The Chicago Children's Museum is a must for kids of all ages. Located on Navy Pier, the museum offers three storeys of interactive exhibits with plenty of hands-on fun. The main at…

Chicago Children's Museum

The Chicago Children's Museum is a must for kids of all ages. Located on Navy Pier, the museum offers three storeys of interactive exhibits with plenty of hands-on fun. The main attraction at the museum is the three-storey tall replica of an 1850s Schooner, which is a huge climbing course. The 'Tinkering Lab', 'Waterways', and Dinosaur attractions are also highly popular with the little ones. Kids can play in anything from tree houses to model skyscrapers and furniture forts, and there are endless toys. Older kids will enjoy the organised craft activities and building workstations. Exhibitions and activities are frequently changed to keep everything new and exciting for regular visitors.

Website www.chicagochildrensmuseum.org