If you and the family are heading to Chicago, youíll want to check out the sites listed below. Chicago can be a very expensive city to visit, but you can enjoy your time there without breaking the bank by choosing your excursions carefully. I present these as excellent options based on our familyís trip to the Windy City.
Chicago Art Institute
This extensive museum is free to Illinois residents every Thursday evening. Otherwise there is a fee for adults, but children age 14 and under are always free. Also, you and your little ones can make use of just the children art activities in the Ryan Education Center for no charge. There are a variety of dining options available. The Museum Cafe is very family friendly, but there are some fine dining options as well.
Explore the monolithic water features and splash around in the sunshine. This piece of Millennium Park provided our family with almost an hour of fun and great photo ops. Also check for family concerts in the park.
Maggie Daly Park
Just behind Millennium Park is the recently opened gargantuan playground, Maggie Daly Park. This massive area has castle turrets and rope bridges in addition to an uncountable number of slides. There are smaller areas sectioned off for kids of different ages. There are splash pads and swing sets as well. The park also has a mini golf course (for a fee). In the winter, the park is converted into an ice skating rink and path. If you put this park on your list, be prepared to spend a good chunk of time here, itís that good.
Lincoln Park Zoo
This world wildlife zoo is on the north end of Chicago. It is open 365 days a year and requires no admission. Aside from the fact that itís free, there are many other things about this place that make it a top family friendly destination in Chicago. See animals from all around the world. Get up close and personal (and hands on) with small mammals and reptiles. Experience one of the many enrichment programs offered for families (some for a fee, some for free). Since youíll probably want to spend most of the day here, consider your lunch options. There is Park Place Cafe with child-friendly options. If the weather is cooperating, you can make use of the picnic areas or outdoor eateries. Be sure to check out the seasonal offerings at the Lincoln Park Zoo such as their fall festival and zoolights.
Beaches on Lake Michigan
There are many beaches along Lake Michigan just steps away from the metropolis of Chicago. These beaches are free to the public and offer a great source of entertainment for the family during the months of May through October.
Donít break the bank the next time your family visits Chicago, Illinois. Choose some of the above destinations for entertaining your family.