Chicago Attractions for Children

(Chicago, Illinois - IL, USA)

If you are vacationing in Chicago as a family, then the lengthy beachfront will likely be your first port of call. However, there are also a number of very noteworthy attractions which are highly suitable for children and therefore well worth bearing in mind. The Lincoln Park Zoo should feature at the very top of your list and these extensive zoological gardens date all the way back to the late 1860s, and with free admission, visitor numbers are estimated to exceed three million people each year.

Located next to Northerly Island Park and south of Grant Park, the Shedd Aquarium and Oceanarium is another major family friendly attraction in Chicago, being founded in 1930 and today called home by more than 30,000 aquatic creatures from all over the world. If you are prepared to travel a little, then consider visiting the Kohl Children's Museum at Glenview, or taking a trip to East Dundee, where the Polar Dome Ice Arena and the Racing Rapids Action Park are both part of the Santa's Village AZoosment Park.

Chicago Attractions for Children

Lincoln Park Zoo

Address: 2200 North Cannon Drive, Chicago, 60614, Illinois, USA
Tel: +1 312 742 2000
Covering approximately 35 acres / 14 hectares, the Lincoln Park Zoo is America's oldest and boasts free admission throughout the year. With successful breeding programs for many of the world's endangered wild animals, the park has countless interesting and appealing attractions, including more than 1,200 animals, such as lions, tigers, zebras, elephants, antelope and many exotic birds, as well as one of the world's best collections of gorillas and monkeys. The zoo also comes with landscaped gardens, an enormous greenhouse complete with rainforest, seating areas, shops, cafés, paddle boat rides on the South Lagoon, and the Lincoln Park Zoo Express - a small train which travels around the grounds.
Open hours: April to May, daily - 08:00 to 18:00
June to August, Monday to Friday - 08:00 to 18:00, Saturday and Sunday - 08:00 to 19:00
September to October, daily - 08:00 to 18:00
November to March, daily - 08:00 to 17:00
Admission: free

Kid 'n' Me

Address: 126 South Waukegan Road, Deerfield, 60015, Illinois, USA
Tel: +1 847 272 6660
This indoor play area resides just over 30 minutes to the north, being located between Deerfield and Northbrook, just off the Edens Expressway (Interstate I-94). With many soft toys, climbing equipment, bouncy areas and tunnels, Kid 'n' Me also has a special area for very young children, where they can crawl around in complete safety and play with all kinds of toys.
Open hours: Monday to Saturday - 10:00 to 19:00, Sunday - hours vary

Chicago Attractions for Children

John G. Shedd Aquarium and Oceanarium

Address: 1200 South Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, 60605, Illinois, USA
Tel: +1 312 939 2438
Boasting some wonderful views across Lake Michigan, the Shedd Aquarium and Oceanarium is actually the world's largest indoor aquarium and ranks amongst the city's leading attractions. Some of the highlights include enormous sea turtles, beluga whales, piranhas, dolphins and large sharks, which are displayed in a huge 400,000-gallon habitat. There is also a gift shop and various dining options, including the Bubble Net food court and the Deep Ocean Café, within the Polar Play Zone. The aquarium attracts over two million visitors each year and is located within the South Loop district.
Open hours: September to April, Monday to Friday - 09:00 to 18:00, Saturday and Sunday - 09:00 to 18:00; May to August, daily - 09:00 to 18:00
Admission: charge, discount available for children aged between three to 11 years old and seniors, children three years old and under are free

Kohl Children's Museum

Address: 2100 Patriot Boulevard, Glenview, 60026, Illinois, USA
Tel: +1 847 724 6469
Established in the mid-1980s, the Kohl Children's Museum is situated just past the northerly suburb of Glenview, being a little more than 20 miles / 32 km from Chicago, after moving from its previous location in Wilmette in 2005. With many enjoyable and informative interactive displays, learning has never been so much fun. The museum is specifically aimed at children under eight years old and is full of hands-on activities. Especially notable are the themed permanent exhibits entitled Adventures in Art, Baby Nursery, City on the Move, Habitat Park, Music Makers, Pet Vet and Water Works, where both the scientific properties and the practical uses of water can be explored. There is also a café, should you be in need of refreshments.
Open hours: Monday to Saturday - 09:00 to 17:00, Sunday 12:00 to 17:00 (open until 19:30 in the summer)
Admission: charge, children under one year old are free

Polar Dome Ice Arena

Address: 601 East Dundee Road, East Dundee, 60118, Illinois, USA
Tel: +1 847 426 6751
Situated within the nearby Santa's Village complex, the Polar Dome Ice Arena is a popular indoor attraction for families visiting the area. The rink is suitable for both beginners and more experienced skaters alike, with ice skating lessons being available for those looking to improve their skills.
Open hours: April to September, Monday to Friday - 08:30 to 22:30, Saturday - 13:30 to 15:30 and 20:30 to 22:30, Sunday - 13:30 to 16:00
Admission: charge

Racing Rapids Action Park

Address: 880 East Main Street, East Dundee, 60118, Illinois, USA
Tel: +1 847 426 5525
Situated in nearby East Dundee, the Racing Rapids Action Park features over 10 acres / 4 hectares of fun. There are three exciting water slides, slopes for riding down on inner tube floats, a splash and play area known as 'Fun Island', a fast Twister Tube slide, and two enormous sidewinder slides where you can reach speeds of up to 25 miles per hour / 40 km per hour. Quieter areas are available for younger children at the water park.
Open hours: Summer, Monday to Friday - 11:00 to 19:00, Saturday and Sunday 11:00 to 20:00
Admission: charge, a dual pass is also available for access to nearby Santa's Village

Santa's Village AZoosment Park

Address: 601 East Dundee Road, East Dundee, 60118, Illinois, USA
Tel: +1 847 426 6751
Santa's Village is a large theme park located in East Dundee, being roughly an hours' drive to the northwest. Popular with families, this attraction is where Santa goes in the summer! Children will particularly enjoy the small interactive petting zoo, where they can touch and feed the friendly farmyard animals, including goats and rabbits. There is also a walk-through aviary with budgies, a pond filled with large koi carp, sleigh rides, reindeer and educational exotic animal shows. If you have come here for the rides, then youngsters will enjoy the Dragon Coaster, the Balloon Race, the Kiddie Ferris Wheel and the rocking Sea Dragon. Of note, a free car park and picnic areas are available here.
Open hours: May to September, Monday to Friday - 10:00 to 18:00, Saturday and Sunday - 11:00 to 20:00
Admission: charge, a dual pass is available for access to nearby Racing Rapids Action Park