Now that the kiddos are out of school, it’s time to start thinking of cool things for them to do during summer break. When it comes to exciting attractions and activities, Chicago is the ultimate playground for children of all ages. The city is a fantastic place for families to spend quality time, whether they’re exploring museums, running around outside, or eating at fun restaurants. Parents, if you need inspiration, check out these amazing options to discover together.
Time to Learn Something New
Even if the little ones are on vacation, there are still plenty of opportunities to stimulate their minds. Downtown Chicago is a good place to start. Set along Lake Michigan and part of the Museum Campus in Grant Park, the Adler Planetarium is out of this world. The planetarium happens to be the first of its kind in America, and continues to appeal to lovers of the universe thanks to fascinating exhibits such as “Mission Moon,” which follows the United States’ first steps into space through the eyes of James A. Lovell, Jr., NASA Captain and former astronaut who commanded the Apollo 13.
Nearby, Shedd Aquarium, one of the largest indoor aquariums in the world, leaves visitors in awe with incredible animal encounters including beluga whales and Pacific white-sided dolphins at the Abbott Oceanarium, and 100 species of reef fish from around the world as part of the “Underwater Beauty” exhibit. A short stroll away, The Field Museum wows with the Griffin Halls of Evolving Planet, where hands-on interactive activities and larger than life dinosaur fossils including SUE, the T. Rex await.
Time to Get Outside
Kids can enjoy an extended recess all over Chicago. Navy Pier doesn’t disappoint with rides, shops, restaurants, and attractions that appeal to the young at heart. Pier Park is where you’ll find awesome rides including the Carousel, Centennial Wheel, the Pepsi Wave Swinger, and the Light Tower as well as carnival games and sweet treats. Maggie Daley Park offers activities galore with a massive climbing wall, the Out of Site interactive, public artwork that looks a lot like hopscotch, and the Play Garden featuring whimsical spaces including The Sea featuring a custom-built ship adorned with ladders and nets, and the animal-themed Watering Hole, ideal for children ages two to five.
Time to Eat
All that exploring is bound to make the gang hungry. Chicago has a nice choice of family-friendly restaurants to grab a bite. After a fun morning at The Escape Game, Secret agents in training love going to SafeHouse Chicago, a spy-themed establishment complete with hidden passageways, gadgets, covert missions and other surprises. As for the food, the Kids Menu offers the Jr. Spy Burger, Undercover Mac & Cheese, among other dishes. Across the street from the Lincoln Park Zoo, R.J. Grunts is a family-friendly spot that caters to kids with adorable meals on cafeteria-style trays and scrumptious milkshakes.