Chicago Family Attractions

Christmas in Chicago 2020 – Best Light Displays

It’s that time of year again to celebrate Christmas in Chicago! Are you wondering what there is to do at Christmas time in Chicago? I’ve got you covered with all the magical Christmas Light Displays throughout the city and suburbs.

There is a wide variety of places to see lights from Museums to Zoo Lights, drive-thru displays, local neighborhoods, Chicago Botanical Gardens, and Morton Arboretum. All are fun ways to celebrate the holidays with your family.

Get inspired by this newly updated Christmas Lights in Chicago list for 2020 and make some fun Holiday memories together. 

**Things are changing fast with social distancing rules or possible shutdowns so keep checking back for updates. Currently, Indoor Museums are temporarily closed. 

Just added – Six Flags Holiday in the Park will Open and added a Drive-Thru Light Show this year only – Find out more below

This post contains affiliate links. If you choose to buy something using my link, I earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. For more information, see my disclaimer here.

Christmas in Chicago 2020 – Best Holiday Light Displays 

Celebrate Christmas in Chicago with the best holiday Light displays. Visit mueums, zoos, and cool drive thru light shows. Find out how to celebrate christmas and still stay socially distanced this year. #christmas #holidaylights #Chicago #christmaslights #holidayevents

 

Chicago Botanic Garden’s Lightscape

Light Scape at Chicago Botanical Gardens Holiday Light Show. A beautiful display of Christmas lights to walk through out the gardens. #lightshow #botanicalgardens #lightscape #holidaylights Beautiful Holiday Light Display at Chicago Botanical Gardens called Light Scape. A fun outside walk through the gardens filled with twinkling lights and fun Christmas displays. #holidaylights #christmaslights #botanicalgardens.

You probably have visited the Chicago Botanic Gardens in the summer but have you seen all the beautiful holiday lights in the wintertime? It’s not to be missed!

For the second year in a row, they are bringing back their popular Lightscape Event. When you enter the gardens, your eyes will be filled with twinkling lights throughout the garden paths.

Visitors will walk through a mile-long lighted path surrounded by a choir of singing trees, hanging ribbons of lights, lighted tunnels, Marshmellow stations, and more. 

Changes for 2020 –This year the event has been updated for Covid-19 with mask requirements, one-way trails, social distancing, and other adjustments. You can not use bathrooms indoors but they did set up porta-potties.

The cafe is closed but there are two outdoor stations to grab hot chocolate & cookies which need to be eaten at the stations. Visitors can not walk around with food or drinks. You can learn more about the requirements at Botanical Gardens

There is an additional fee to enter the Lightscape exhibit. If you buy your tickets in advance you save $2 a ticket. Last year this event sold out so I would highly suggest you purchase your ticket in advance. Find ticket information here 

Event Runs from November 13th, 2020 – January 3, 2021

Be Ready for Christmas in 2020 – 24 Christmas Activities for Families while Social Distancing

Morton Arboretum – Illumination Tree Lights 

This year Morton Arboretum has reimagined their Illumination Tree Lights to a drive-through experience.

This makes it a safe and fun way to still experience the beautiful lighted trees on a 2-mile drive. 

Guests will spend 30-40 minutes driving through multicolored lights, illuminated trees, and festive music. From the warmth of your car, you’ll enjoy old favorites like Symphony Woods and Woodland Wonder.

Your kids will be in awe as you drive through this winter wonderland.

To find ticket information and learn more visit Morton Arboretum

Event Runs November 20, 2020 – January 3, 2021

Related ArticleEasy DIY Christmas Card Display Ideas for Home

Holiday in the Park Lights

Holiday in the Park Light Display at Chicago's Six Flag Great America.

Six Flags Great America has announced they will host their Holiday in the Park Event once again this year. It will be the third year for this cool event.

The big difference in 2020 is there will now be both a walk-thru option and a drive-thru option. Which is pretty cool! No rides are available but there will be tons of lights & music. 

For the Walk-Thru experience, guests can stroll through the park admiring the 3 million dazzling lights and holiday displays. Then enjoy socially distanced outdoor entertainment while munching on holiday treats.

Kids will enjoy doing arts and crafts with the elves and visiting Santa. We went to this event last year without doing any rides and had a great time. So don’t let that keep you from seeing all the beautiful lights.

Guests need to reserve their tickets ahead of time and prices start at $19.99. Check Six Flags for availability. 

The Drive-thru experience will be offered on special days and will have you actually driving through Great America to see the 3 million lights and special holiday characters waving as you go by. 

This is the perfect option for families wanting to social distance but still, experience the holiday lights.

The drive-thru will run select days in December and January. Check dates and pricing starting at $14.99 per person without season membership. Six Flags Great America

Event Runs:

  • Walk-Thru – November 27 – December 30, 2020
  • Drive-thru – Select days in December and January

Museum of Science & Industry 

Christmas in Chicago. Need Things to Do with the kids over the holidays? Use this guide to find the best Christmas Light Displays for Families. #christmasinchicago, #holidaylights, #christmaslightdisplays
Museum of Science & Industry

**Update 11/19/2020: Museums in Illinois are temporarily closed check Science & Industry Site for openings if you plan to go. 

Every year the Museum of Science and Industry hosts its annual Christmas Around the World Display and Holidays of Light. Over 50 beautiful trees are on display representing different countries throughout the world.

Learn about the history and culture of different countries by exploring how they decorate their holiday trees. Your kids will love seeing all the different types of ornaments and big beautiful displays. On weekends you can enjoy live performances too. 

There is no additional fee for this event other than your entrance ticket to the museum. However this year you will need to purchase your tickets in advance as they have reserved time-entry into the museum.

Family members over the age of 2 will need to wear a mask and stay socially distanced. Find more details about restrictions & order tickets in Science & Industry.

Tip: Learn more tips for your visit in our Museum of Science and Industry Review.

Event Runs November 13th – January 3, 2021

24 Christmas Activities for Families while Social Distancing. Fun Holiday ideas for kids to celebrate even when you can't be with friends & family. Holiday traditions like baking cookies, decorating for Christmas, family game nights, volunteering and more. Plus fun Ugly Sweater Zoom Virtual Parties. #christmas #christmasactivities #christmasideas #familychristmas #Christmaswithkids #socialdistancing #virtualchristmas 

Related ArticleDIY Dollar Tree Christmas Decorations & Hostess Gifts

Zoo Lights – Christmas Light Displays

What could be more fun than Christmas Lights and Zoo Animals! Both Chicago Zoos offer great Holiday Light Events for your family. 

Update 11/19/2020: There is now limited capacity for Zoos while Illinois is in Tier 3 Mitigation. Make sure to reserve your tickets to Zoo Lights early. 

Lincoln Park Zoo Lights 

Zoo Lights is celebrating its 26th year at the Lincoln Park Zoo. The entire zoo will be aglow with 2.5 million lights and hundreds of holiday displays.

Kids will love finding all the lite up animal figures and the cool light show set to music. Strolling through the light displays and seeing the animals playing at night what could be more fun?

This year there are some changes to keep in mind. They will be charging $5 for each guest to help support the zoo. You must have a ticket to enter Zoolights and your group can not exceed 10 people. 

There will be 5 bonus free nights offered and tickets will be released the Sunday before at 4 pm. The dates are Nov. 24, December 9, 17, 21,29. Warning these will go fast. 

Make sure to dress warmly as no indoor buildings will be open this year but you will be able to see some animals outside. However, I would mainly go to see the lights not the animals as many go inside when it’s cold. 

Check out more family tips for the Lincoln Park Zoo or visit here to purchase tickets. 

Event Runs – November 21st – January 3, 2021, from 4-10pm

Brookfield Zoo’s Holiday Magic 

Chicago Holiday Light Displays at the Brookfield Zoo

Brookfield Zoo’s Holiday Magic is Chicagoland’s largest light festival. This is the 39th year for Holiday Magic featuring over 1 million twinkling lights, a 41-foot talking tree, ice carvers, an ice skating rink, carolers, and much more.

Make sure to check the schedule when you get there to see all the different events happening that night. We have found this to be a great holiday tradition for our kids and I think yours will love it too. 

Changes for 2020 – Currently only outside animal exhibits are open. Visitors can not go into indoor exhibits. There are also timed entrances to get into the zoo as well as a mask rule while walking around. 

Entrance to the event is included in your entrance fee. If you are a member it is free. For more information and updates visit Brookfield Zoo

Tip: Learn more about the zoo in our Brookfield Zoo Guide for Families and be ready for a fun adventure. 

Event runs on November 27, 28, 29 – December 2-6, 9-13, 16-20 and 26-31 2020 – From 3-9pm

Drive Through Christmas Light Displays 

Why get out and walk around in the cold when you could view the holiday lights from the warmth of your car?

Plus it’s the perfect way to watch holiday lights and social distance. Here are a few great options for drive-through Christmas light displays.

Let It Shine Light Show

Let It Shine is a Beautiful Holiday Light Display in Chicago Suburbs . A drive thru holiday light show set to music families will love.

Fun Holiday Light Display in Chicago Suburbs - Let It Shine. A beautiful drive through Christmas show coordinated to holiday music.

 

This is the Northshore’s largest and newest 2020 Drive-thru Christmas light show. Let It Shine Light Show is located at the Northbrook Court Mall parking lot in Northbrook, IL. 

Guests will drive through dazzling archways, sparkling candy canes, glowing snowmen, huge trees, singing Santas, and more. The lights are set to holiday music you listen to on your car radio as you drive through the display.

The coolest part is they have partnered with Northshore University HealthSystem and a portion of the proceeds will directly benefit Kellogg Cancer Center in honor of their Co-Founder’s battle with throat cancer. 

So you can have a fun family night out and feel good about giving back this year. 

They charge per vehicle, not individuals in your car and there is an optional fast pass to use on busy weekends. You can purchase tickets ahead of time at the Let It Shine website. 

Event Runs –  November 15- January 9, 2021, weekdays 4:30 -10 pm, Weekends 4:30 -11 pm

Santa’s Rock N Lights Drive-Thru Light Show 

Located in Grayslake, IL you will find a fun drive through Santa’s Rock N Lights. Drive through this amazing Holiday light display which is almost a mile long. This year they have added almost double the lights.

While driving through you will find nearly 1,000 programable elements, 700ft of tunnels, and over 100,000 programable lights dancing to music. Watch the display all through the warmth of your car and hear the holiday music on your radio.

It’s a great outing on a cold winter night. Pricing is per car for up to 6 people. The price changes based on the day of the week you come so try for Mondays when it’s the cheapest.  Find more about pricing here.

Event Runs – November 20th – January  3, 2021

Lights on Magnolia 

Christmas in Chicago. Need Things to Do with the kids over the holidays? Use this guide to find the best Christmas Light Displays for Families. #christmasinchicago, #holidaylights, #christmaslightdisplays
Holiday Lights on Magnolia

A cool neighborhood in Rolling Meadows, IL has worked together to create a synchronize Christmas Light Display on their homes. It’s hard to show how cool the show is in pictures but you’ll love it.

When you enter this neighborhood, you will see a sign for the radio station playing their synchronized music. Sit in your car and listen to holiday music while watching the fun light show.

There are tons of details on each house that keeps the kids interested and excited. You can even get out and walk on the sidewalks to get a better view. 

There is no charge to view this light show but they do ask for a donation of non-perishable food which will go to a local food pantry. There are boxes set up to leave your donation.

It’s free entertainment for the family plus you can feel good about helping a local food pantry.  

As this is in a residential neighborhood please make sure to not block anyone’s driveway. 

Here is a link to their website Lights on Magnolia 

Event Runs – Starting December 5th

Sauganash Holiday Lights 

Christmas in Chicago. Need Things to Do with the kids over the holidays? Use this guide to find the best Christmas Light Displays for Families. #christmasinchicago, #holidaylights, #christmaslightdisplays

This Northwest side neighborhood of Chicago has been a popular destination to see neighborhood Christmas light since the ’60s. You will find 6 blocks of homes uniquely decorated for Christmas and Hanukkah.

It gets pretty busy and on weekend nights. You may even find traffic jams as cars slowly drive through looking at the beautiful lights. Load up on some cookies and hot chocolate and take the kids on a fun drive through this historic neighborhood.  

When using GPS put in the corner of Leroy and Albion in Chicago. It’s off Devon just west of the Edens Expressway.

Dates – There are no specific dates for these light displays as they are all on individual homes. Just drive over and check it out all through December.

I hope your family can find a few great places to view Christmas Light Displays this year. Our family has enjoyed spending Christmas in Chicago visiting all of these beautiful light displays and I am sure your family will love them too! 

Do you know any other great Christmas Light Displays in Chicago?

Please share with us in the comments so we can all visit or let us know how you liked visiting the ones on this list. I love to hear from my readers. 

Have a Wonderful Holiday Season!! 

Find More Fun Holiday Ideas

Visit our Holiday Page to Get more Fun Family Ideas this season.

Fun Family Activities in Chicago

Find more ways to enjoy family time in Chicago with these can’t miss Chicago Attractions. 

  1. 7 Can’t-Miss Things to Do in Chicago with Kids
  2. Ultimate Guide to Chicago with Kids
  3. Best Museums in Chicago for Kids
  4. 10 Fun Family Weekend Getaways from Chicago

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Ultimate Family Travel Checklist. Be prepared for roadtrips or beach vacation with the kids. Free printable. Never forget what you need again! #freeprintable, #travelchecklist

Looking for more fun with the kids in Chicago? Check out these fun activities:

7 Fun things to do in Chicago with kids you won't want to miss. Explore an amazing playground and zoo in the summer. Ice skate in Millennium Park in the winter. Don't forget the great Museums and aquariums too. So many awesome Chicago Attractions your family will love for a weekend getaway or stay-cation!! #chicagoattractions, #familyvacation, #traveltips       Tips for a Day at the Shedd Aquarium Chicago with Kids. Things to do, where to eat, park, and free days. Families will love visiting Dolphins, Beluga Whales, Penguins and fish. #sheddaquarium, #chicagoattractions, #traveltips, 

 

 Tips you need for a fund family day out at Chicago's Brookfield Zoo. Things to do and see, where to park, eat. Plus events Summer Nights, Boo at the Zoo and Brookfield Zoo Lights, #brookfieldzoo, #chicagoattractions, #traveltips, #familytravel   Tips to know before you go to the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry with kids, Find out what to see, things to do, where to eat, where to park, free days and more. Use these tips to have a fun family day. #familyvacation, #chicago, #scienceandindustry, #chicagomuseum, #traveltips

 

  What to know before you go to Chicago Field Museum of Natural History. Things to Do with the kids and tips on exhibitions, where to eat, where to park and more. Read this and be ready for a fun Family day at the Museum. #familytravel, #familyvacation, #traveltips, #Chicago, #fieldmuseum  Free Things to do at Lincoln Park Zoo Chicago. This Illinois Zoo offers tons of animals to view and is easy to navigate. Bonus the zoo is free! Your kids will love the Christmas holidays lights event and Halloween event too. #Lincolnparkzoo, #chicagoattractions

 

    Create beautiful Christmas Card displays from your holiday cards. Use these easy DIY ideas for your Christmas decorations on your stairs, walls, around doors or fireplaces. All you need is a ribbon and clothespins to create these festive Christmas card display holders. #christmasdecorations, #holidaycards, #christmascarddisplay

Christmas in Chicago -Top Holiday Light Displays to see with kids. Guide to fun Things to do for the Christmas Holidays throughout the Chicago Area. #chicago #thingstodoinchicago #Christmas #holidaylightdisplay #Christmaslights #kids
Chicago Family Attractions

Six Flags Great America – Ultimate Family Guide

Are you looking for a fun theme park in the Chicago Area? Our family loves Six Flags Great America. The park has a great mix of rides for both younger and older children so it’s perfect for families. The holiday events for Six Flags Fright Fest (Halloween) and Holidays in the Park (Christmas) are can’t miss experiences. In summer time, your family will also enjoy the epic Hurricane Harbor water park. Find out everything you need to know before you go in my Ultimate Guide to Six Flags Great America. It’s filled with tips on Six Flag tickets, location, season pass, where to eat, what to bring and more.

This post contains affiliate links. If you choose to buy something using my link, I earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. For more information, see my disclaimer here.

Six Flags Great America – Ultimate Family Guide

Family Tips for Six Flags Great America Amusement Park. Everything you need to know before you go with kids. Tips on how to save money, the best rides, what to bring with you, holiday events, Hurricane Harbor and more. Be ready for a great day out with the kids at Six Flags. #amusementpark #familyvacation #traveltips #sixflags

Six Flags Chicago Location

The Six Flags location, or as the locals call it, Great America, is not located in the City of Chicago. Instead, it is located in the Chicago suburb of Gurnee, Illinois. The park is just an hour north of the city and only 15 minutes south of the Wisconsin and Illinois border, making it an easy trip from Milwaukee too. It is conveniently located right off of I-94 with easy access for drivers. Just take the Grand Avenue Exit East.

Address: 1 Great America Parkway, Gurnee IL

Six Flags Great America Tickets

I would suggest you buy tickets ahead of time to get the best price. You can often find discounts on the Six Flags website. If you are a local, there are usually coupons on the back of Coke cans which you can bring to the park to get your discount on tickets when you arrive. You also can get discounted tickets at Jewel Osco.

Six Flags Season Pass

Top Tips for Six Flags Great America Amusement Park with kids. Everything you need to know before you go. Tips on how to save money, the best rides,  what to bring with you, holiday events, Hurricane Harbor and more. Be ready for a great day out with the kids at Six Flags. #amusementpark #familyvacation #traveltips #sixflags

If you plan to go more than two times in one year, I would suggest you look into getting a season pass. Our family has purchased season passes for the last couple years and we have always gotten our money’s worth. The great part about having the pass is you can come visit for just a couple hours and not feel you have to stay the whole day to make up for the high ticket prices.

There are several benefits to purchasing a season pass. Each type of pass has different levels so you will need to see which best fits your family’s needs. All passes get you into the Six Flags amusement park and water park for free. Most of the tickets also include parking which is a big help. There are several days out of the year when season pass holders can bring a friend in for free. This is a great way to let your kids bring a friend with them to the park. The pass also includes access to all the holiday events. Find out if a season pass is right for you here.

Tip – We find the cheapest time to purchase a season pass is usually in the fall for the next year.

Six Flags Parking

Top Tips for Six Flags Great America Amusement Park with kids. Everything you need to know before you go. Tips on how to save money, the best rides,  what to bring with you, holiday events, Hurricane Harbor and more. Be ready for a great day out with the kids at Six Flags. #amusementpark #familyvacation #traveltips #sixflags
Six Flags Parking Signs

There is a fee to park in the Six Flags parking lot in addition to your ticket price. They do have a huge lot but it gets pretty full in the summer and weekends. You can pay more and get VIP parking which will get you much closer to the entrance.

Tip: – There are different numbers and characters for each area of the parking lot. Take a picture of the one closest to your car so you remember where you parked.

Eating in the Park

Top Tips for Six Flags Great America Amusement Park with kids. Everything you need to know before you go. Tips on how to save money, the best rides,  what to bring with you, holiday events, Hurricane Harbor and more. Be ready for a great day out with the kids at Six Flags. #amusementpark #familyvacation #traveltips #sixflags

They have a strict policy of not bringing in any outside food. When you enter the park, they will search your bag and take any food they see. So, your stuck buying food in the park. I will be honest, the food is pretty expensive, especially if you need more than one meal. Also, the service is slow and it can take awhile to wait in line for food. Here are a few ways to save money and time on food:

  1. I feed the kids a big meal in the car on the way to the park to fill them up before we go in.
  2. Fill the kids up on Popcorn – You can purchase a popcorn box and after that it only cost $1.00 to refill. This container can be used throughout the season you purchased it. I just bring it back with us every time we visit the park. Bonus: eating the popcorn keep the kids occupied while standing in line for rides.
  3. If you get a season pass, you can purchase a meal plan. We have added just one meal plan onto our family’s season pass and we get a snack, lunch and dinner which we share as family snack. Tip: The chicken finger basket can feed me and two little kids.
  4. Buy a refillable drink cup – Purchase a refillable drink cup for a one time fee and you can bring it back to the park every time you come in that season. If you only plan to go one time, they have a cheaper cup that is only good to refill for one day. You can refill the cup at stations around the park or any food stand.
  5. Bring a Picnic – Get your hand stamped and head out to your car for a picnic at lunch time. There are a few picnic benches in the parking lot to use. Or, most people just throw a few chairs in their trunk and eat right outside their car.
  6. Eat Outside the Park – Often, we will just feed the kids some popcorn or snacks and then head to a restaurant outside the park on our way home. You will find tons of fast food restaurants on Grand Avenue.
  7. Bring a refillable water bottle and you can use their water filling stations for a free drink.
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Related Article – 10 Awesome Family Getaways From Chicago

Favorite Roller Coaster & Attractions

Six Flags Great America has over 75 rides and attractions, featuring everything from kiddie roller coaster to big heart-pumping roller coasters. You’ll also find tons of games, a carousel ride, a scenic railroad ride, and much more. There is something for every age group in your family.

Big Roller Coasters

Top Tips for Six Flags Great America Amusement Park with kids. Everything you need to know before you go. Tips on how to save money, the best rides,  what to bring with you, holiday events, Hurricane Harbor and more. Be ready for a great day out with the kids at Six Flags. #amusementpark #familyvacation #traveltips #sixflags

The park has 14 big roller coasters to ride. The most popular ride is the Goliath which opened in 2014 as the world’s tallest, steepest, and fastest wooden roller coaster. Some more thrilling roller coasters are Batman the ride with non stop loops and twists, the high speed Demon, and Raging Bull the tallest, longest, and fastest ride at the park. If you want an old classic, make sure to ride the American Eagle. Be prepared to wait in long lines to enjoy these thrilling rides on busy days. Tip: make sure to take off your hat so it doesn’t fly away.

Medium Size Roller Coasters

Top Tips for Six Flags Great America Amusement Park with kids. Everything you need to know before you go. Tips on how to save money, the best rides,  what to bring with you, holiday events, Hurricane Harbor and more. Be ready for a great day out with the kids at Six Flags. #amusementpark #familyvacation #traveltips #sixflags
The Whizzer

There are two roller coasters that are perfect for kids who are not quite tall enough yet for the big roller Coasters. Try the Little Dipper, a family friendly wooden roller coaster, and the Whizzer.

Little Kid Rides

Top Tips for Six Flags Great America Amusement Park with kids. Everything you need to know before you go. Tips on how to save money, the best rides,  what to bring with you, holiday events, Hurricane Harbor and more. Be ready for a great day out with the kids at Six Flags. #amusementpark #familyvacation #traveltips #sixflags

There are two great areas to find rides for younger kids. Head to Kidzoplis in the County Fair area for a teacup ride, airplane ride, and krazy cars. There is also a spray pad and huge pirate ship to run around. When done there, head to Camp Cartoon in Yukon Territory for a small roller coaster and more fun kid rides.

Favorite Attractions

Top Tips for Six Flags Great America Amusement Park with kids. Everything you need to know before you go. Tips on how to save money, the best rides,  what to bring with you, holiday events, Hurricane Harbor and more. Be ready for a great day out with the kids at Six Flags. #amusementpark #familyvacation #traveltips #sixflags
Justice League Battle of Metropolis

There are two attractions that are not roller coasters or rides that we also love. The first is driving the Rue Le Dodge bumper cars, which is always fun when you’re with a group of people. The other is the Justice League Battle of Metropolis. It’s a 4D interactive experience that makes you feel like you are in the city of Metropolis fighting the bad guys. Everyone has a laser gun to shoot and at the end, you can see who has the highest score. Tip: Beware if you get motion sickness, you will feel it on this attraction.

Water Rides

Top Tips for Six Flags Great America Amusement Park with kids. Everything you need to know before you go. Tips on how to save money, the best rides,  what to bring with you, holiday events, Hurricane Harbor and more. Be ready for a great day out with the kids at Six Flags. #amusementpark #familyvacation #traveltips #sixflags

There are several fun water rides in the theme park that are perfect for warm summer days. Younger kids will love Buccaneer Battle where you pretend to be a pirate and shoot water cannons at passersby, but be aware that they can shoot at you, too. For the older kids, hop on Loggers Run and Roaring Rapids, both will have you soaking wet at the end.

Tip: Bring a poncho to try and stay a little dry. Here is a family pack of ponchos we like to use at amusement parks and for hiking. They easily fit into your purse.

Related Article – 7 Can’t Miss Things to Do in Chicago with Kids

Tips for Your Visit to Six Flag Great America

Here are 10 simple tips to make your visit to Six Flags easier.

  1. Wear comfy shoes. You will be walking a lot.
  2. Get to the park early before the crowds get too big
  3. When you get into the park, head to your left for smaller crowds. Most people automatically go to their right when they enter. Or head to a ride you know will have a longer line later in the day.
  4. Bring a lightweight poncho instead of a heavy rain coat. They are perfect for rain days or when you go on the water rides.
  5. Bring a stroller if you have younger kids. It’s a lot of walking and the kids get tired. Also, it’s a great way to carry all your stuff. You’ll find places to park your stroller outside each ride.
  6. Wear a fanny pack. When you get to the ride, you will have to put your purse or bag in a big bin before getting on a ride. I wear a fanny pack so I can keep my wallet and phone with me.
  7. Bring a cooling towel to use on hot days when you’re waiting in a long line.
  8. Don’t forget to wear a hat and sunscreen. There is not a lot of shade.
  9. Wear layers when you come in the colder months.
  10. Download the Great America App to see how long the lines are for different rides, find out show times, and view the interactive map. It will also give you directions from your location to where you want to go.

Six Flags – Hurricane Harbor

Best Water Park Hurricane Harbor at Six Flags Great America. Tips you need for your visit to Six Flags Water park and amusement park with kids. Everything you need to know before you go! #waterpark #kids #traveltips #amusementpark #sixflags

Did you know Six Flags has it’s own water park called Hurricane Harbor? You’ll find a huge wave pool, tons of water slides, kids area, lazy river, and big play pool. You can easily spend a whole day here swimming and having fun. Another option is to do half the day at the water park and the other half at the amusement park. There is an entrance to Six Flags amusement park inside of the water park so it makes it easy to go back and forth.

Tips – Get to the water park early if you want seats up close to the pools. There are lockers to store your belongings and changing rooms near the bathroom. Life vests are also available in different sizes by the pools. If you get hungry, there are several food stands and your meal plan for Six Flags also works in the water park. They have free water bottle refilling stations in the water park too.

When we are at the water park, we wear a waterproof cell phone holder around our neck or wrist. It also holds our Six Flags cards and money. That way when we leave our stuff on the chairs, we don’t have to worry about anything important being stolen. Find our favorite cell phone holder below and a few more of our favorite water park items.

Celebrating Holidays at Six Flags Great America

Fright Fest

If you love Halloween time, head over to Six Flags for Fright Fest. You will be amazed at all the Halloween decorations around the park. We would go just to see all the decorations.

During the day time, the event is family friendly and not too scary. However, after 6 pm, it is not recommended for children under 12. At that time, you will find roaming staff in elaborate scary costumes who’s job it is to jump out and scare you. They will sometimes even follow you around. There is a night time parade which is pretty cool to see but also scary. I would say attending this event at night depends on your children’s age and how scared they get. My youngest son loves it even though he’s under 12 while my older one not so much. Rides are open the whole time plus there’s a cool light show in Carousel Plaza.

Holiday in the Park

Six Flags Great America started a fun new Winter Holiday event in 2018. The park is decorated with Christmas trees, beautiful lights, and decorations. Watch a light show while you’re there and listen to the carolers.

There are not many rides open but if you get a season pass, I highly recommend strolling around the park to visit this winter wonderland. Throughout the park, you will also find s’mores stations and hot chocolate to warm up. We found this to be a really fun way to celebrate the holidays and will now make it an annual holiday tradition.

Related Article – 10 Best Christmas Light Displays in Chicagoland

Are You Ready to Go to Six Flags Great America?

Are you ready now for your family adventure at Six Flags Great America? Hopefully my tips for visiting the park will help everyone have a great day. If you have any questions or great tips of your own, please leave them in the comments. I love to hear from my readers.

Want more fun ideas of things to do in Chicago with Kids? Check out my Chicago Family Attractions Guide and be ready for more fun family adventures.

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8 Best Museums in Chicago Including Cool Children’s Museums

Are you planning to visit Chicago this year? There are so many amazing places to visit in Chicago with kids. Explore the city’s cool parks, museums, and zoos as well as the countless restaurants and shops. Our favorite Chicago Attractions are the outstanding large museums and Chicago Children’s museums.

Kids and adults will love exploring the different types of museums learning about space, history, aquatic life, and so much more. Follow along with me to find out which museums in Chicago are can’t miss on your family vacation.

This post contains affiliate links. If you choose to buy something using my link, I earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. For more information, see my disclaimer here.

8 Best Museums in Chicago Including Cool Children’s Museums

8 Best Museums in Chicago with kids. Things to do while visiting these cool Chicago Attractions. Find out which is museum is right for your family. Check out the Field Museums, Science and Industry, Shedd Aquarium, Planetarium, Chicago Children's Museum and more. Fun Places to visit in Chicago with Kids! #museum #chicagoattractions #chicagomuseums #kids #familytravel #traveltips

Chicago Museum of Science and Industry

8 Best Museums in Chicago with kids. Things to do while visiting these cool Chicago Attractions. Find out which is museum is right for your family. Check out the Field Museums, Science and Industry, Shedd Aquarium, Planetarium, Chicago Children's Museum and more. Fun Places to visit in Chicago with Kids! #museum #chicagoattractions #chicagomuseums #kids #familytravel #traveltips

Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry is one of the largest museums in the world covering over 400,000 square feet of exhibit space. The museum is designed to peak your curiosity about science and teach you through hands-on exhibits. Families will learn about astronauts, weather, visit a coal mine, and see an original German submarine from World War II.

Kids will love the miniature trains, baby chicks, farm, and kids play area. While you’re there, don’t miss the IMax theater experience, you and your kids will be in awe.

This museum is huge and will take you a full day to explore. They do have a nice cafeteria and areas to eat your own lunch when you’re ready for a break.

Find out all the tips you need for a great first visit in my 14 Tips to Visiting Chicago Museum of Science and Industry with Kids.

Chicago Field Museum of Natural History

8 Best Museums in Chicago with kids. Things to do while visiting these cool Chicago Attractions. Find out which is museum is right for your family. Check out the Field Museums, Science and Industry, Shedd Aquarium, Planetarium, Chicago Children's Museum and more. Fun Places to visit in Chicago with Kids! #museum #chicagoattractions #chicagomuseums #kids #familytravel #traveltips

If you love history, culture, and dinosaurs, this is the museum for you. Families can walk through Ancient Egypt, China, a Native American home, and more. The immersion into history really helps kids understand different cultures from around the world.

There is also a new dinosaur exhibit for Sue the T Rex, which is pretty amazing to see. Plus you’ll find a great children’s area where kids can play music, be an archaeologist, learn to farm, and be a forest animal.

The Field Museum is located in Chicago’s Museum Campus right on the lakeshore. It’s another huge museum that will take a full day to explore. Take a break by going on a beautiful walk along the lake or having a bite to eat in the museum’s cafeteria.

Find out more great tips in All You Need to Know Before Going to Chicago Field Museum.

Related Article 7 Can’t-Miss Things to Do in Chicago with Kids

Shedd Aquarium

8 Best Museums in Chicago with kids. Things to do while visiting these cool Chicago Attractions. Find out which is museum is right for your family. Check out the Field Museums, Science and Industry, Shedd Aquarium, Planetarium, Chicago Children's Museum and more. Fun Places to visit in Chicago with Kids! #museum #chicagoattractions #chicagomuseums #kids #familytravel #traveltips

This is where you visit to see fish, dolphins, whales, penguins, and more amazing sea life. When visiting, you will get to see incredible fish from around the world and also learn about local fish from Lake Michigan.

Kids can jump, play, and explore in the kid’s areas around the penguin and beluga whale exhibits. There is also a great touch-area to feel starfish and plant life in the ocean. Top it all off by watching an awesome dolphin show or 4D movie.

The Shedd Aquarium is also located in Chicago’s Museum Campus and has great areas to explore both inside and outside the building. The Aquarium can get very crowded so before you go make sure to check out my Tips on Visiting the Shedd Aquarium so you’ll be prepared for a fun day out.

Adler Planetarium

8 Best Museums in Chicago with kids. Things to do while visiting these cool Chicago Attractions. Find out which is museum is right for your family. Check out the Field Museums, Science and Industry, Shedd Aquarium, Planetarium, Chicago Children's Museum and more. Fun Places to visit in Chicago with Kids! #museum #chicagoattractions #chicagomuseums #kids #familytravel #traveltips

The third Chicago attraction on the Museum Campus is the Adler Planetarium. This smaller museum lets you explore space, astronauts, planets, and so much more with great hands-on exhibits.

Kids can launch a rocket ship, drive a moon rover, and create their own spaceships in the design lab. Don’t let the small size fool you, there are tons of great exhibits and movies your family will love watching.

I would give yourself a couple of hours to explore the Adler Planetarium. As it tends to be less crowded than the other Museum Campus Attractions, you could add this as an afternoon activity after visiting the Shedd Aquarium or Field Museum.

Learn more in my Guide to the Adler Planetarium.

Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum

8 Best Museums in Chicago with kids. Things to do while visiting these cool Chicago Attractions. Find out which is museum is right for your family. Check out the Field Museums, Science and Industry, Shedd Aquarium, Planetarium, Chicago Children's Museum and more. Fun Places to visit in Chicago with Kids! #museum #chicagoattractions #chicagomuseums #kids #familytravel #traveltips

This fun nature museum is located in the heart of Lincoln Park just north of downtown Chicago. As you walk up to the museum, you will immediately be immersed in nature with their beautiful walking trails and paths.

Once inside, you can visit an amazing butterfly sanctuary, explore the wetlands, learn how the Chicago River lock systems work, learn about local animal life and more. Find tons of great hands-on activities to keep the kids interested and engaged.

As you only need a couple of hours to explore this museum, we often add on visiting the free Lincoln Park Zoo which is located across the street. This makes it a great full day of exploring animals and nature.

Get all the tips you need before your visit in my Guide to the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum.

Related Article10 Fun Weekend Getaways from Chicago for Families

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Best Chicago Children’s Museums

Chicago Children’s Museum

The Chicago Children’s Museum, located on Navy Pier, is one of the biggest Chicago Attractions in the city. Navy Pier has restaurants, shops, boat rides, a Ferris wheel, and more.

But the best attraction for kids is the Children’s Museum. Kids can explore the sounds of music, be creative in the art room, find dinosaur bones, run a grocery store, be a fireman, and more. What I love about this museum is they change up their exhibits often so there is always something new to explore and see.

Find out more at Chicago Children’s Museum.

Kohl Children’s Museum

8 Best Museums in Chicago with kids. Things to do while visiting these cool Chicago Attractions. Find out which is museum is right for your family. Check out the Field Museums, Science and Industry, Shedd Aquarium, Planetarium, Chicago Children's Museum and more. Fun Places to visit in Chicago with Kids! #museum #chicagoattractions #chicagomuseums #kids #familytravel #traveltips

You will find the Kohl Children’s Museum located in the northern suburb of Glenview, Illinois. They have 17 permanent exhibits for kids to explore and enjoy. All have great hands-on activities that keep kids active and involved.

I really love all the imaginative play weaved into their exhibits. Kids can be a veterinarian, run a grocery store, be a doctor, or a train conductor. Plus, they run fun children’s programs every day and have an outdoor area to explore, too.

This is hands down my favorite museum in Chicago for young children to about age 10. You’ll find something there to keep all your kids happy.

Find out what you need to know before you go in my Guide to the Kohl Children’s Museum.

DuPage Children’s Museum

If you are out in the western suburbs, DuPage Children’s Museum is a great place to explore with kids. Kids make their own creations with building blocks, become an artist in the art room, play in the water room, and more.

One of our highlights here is the wooden building area where kids are allowed to use a hammer and nails to make their own creation under supervision. It’s something fun we don’t do at home so our kids loved it.

To learn more about this fun museum go to DuPage Children’s Museum.

How to Save Money on Chicago Museums

Chicago CityPass

I will be honest, many of the museums in Chicago are pretty expensive for families. So I am always looking to save money on our ticket prices. I found a deal that can save you up to 50% off your ticket price for several Chicago Museums by bundling your visits together with CityPass.

You are able to visit 5 different museums during a 9 day period, which is perfect if you are vacationing in Chicago or just doing a summer staycation.

From my museum list, you will be able to use CityPass at the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry, Adler Planetarium, Shedd Aquarium, and Field Museum. Find out how to use this pass and if it’s right for you in my Chicago CityPass Review.

Chicago Museum Free Days

Are you a resident of Illinois? Then you are eligible for Chicago Museum free days. All you need to do is show your driver’s license and you get in for free. I have used this many times and it’s great! Check out this list of Chicago Museum Free Days.

Did you find a few museums in Chicago to visit with your family? Make sure to share it with me in the comments. I love to hear from my readers!

If you’re looking for more fun places to visit in Chicago, make sure to check out my Ultimate Guide to Chicago Attractions for more great ideas.

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8 Can't Miss Chicago Museums with kids. Find out Things to do at Science and Industry, Field Museums of Natural History, Shedd Aquarium, Chicago Children's Museums and more. Decide which places to visit in Chicago your whole family will love. #chicago #chicagomuseums #museums #childrensmuseum #chicagoattractions #familyvacation #traveltips #kids

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Chicago’s Adler Planetarium |Tips for Your Visit

If you enjoy learning about space, planets, and astronauts, you will love Chicago’s Adler Planetarium. It’s a small Chicago museum located along the shores of Lake Michigan and is part of the Chicago Museum Campus.

The Planetarium is a Chicago attraction that should really be on everyone’s must-see list. It’s packed with tons of cool exhibits both kids and adults will enjoy. Children will especially love exploring the fun kid’s area and pretending to fly a rocket ship.

Find out all the great things to see and do by following my Adler Planetarium Guide to parking, hours, free days, tickets, exhibits, and so much more. Be ready for a great visit to Chicago’s Adler Planetarium.

This post contains affiliate links. If you choose to buy something using my link, I earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. For more information, see my disclaimer here.
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Chicago Adler Planetarium – All You Need to Know Before You Go

Adler Planetarium Hours

The Planetarium is open every day from 9 am to 4 pm and extends their hours to 6 pm during the summer months. This museum is not as crowded as the other big Chicago museums so you don’t need to get here as early to beat the crowds.

Parking and Location

The Adler Planetarium is located on the tip of Chicago’s lakeshore in the Chicago Museum Campus. You’ll find it right by the Field Museum, Shedd Aquarium, and Soldier Field.

Address: 1300 South Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, IL 60605

Parking

Adler Planetarium Lot – This parking lot is located right outside of the Adler Planetarium and is the most convenient parking lot. You will typically find parking here on most days as it is further away from the other museums.

Soldier Field Lot – This is a huge parking garage located on the east side of Soldier Field. If the Adler Planetarium Lot is filled, this would be your next best option as it’s not too far of a walk to the Planetarium from here. Check at Soldier Field Parking for parking rates.

Street Parking – There is metered street parking located outside of the Planetarium, however, it is very hard to get these spots, especially on weekends.

Public Transportation – You can also take public transportation to the Planetarium. Take Bus # 146 Inner Drive/ Michigan Express all year and Bus #130 Museum Campus from mid-May through Labor Day. The train stops are further away and you will need to take a bus or Uber to get to the Museum.

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Adler Planetarium Free Days

If you are an Illinois resident, you can take advantage of Chicago Museum Free Days. We love to visit the museums on these days and save a little money on our visit. You get basic entrance into the Planetarium but can pay to upgrade if you want to see their Sky Shows. Check this link for dates: Adler Planetarium Free Days

Related Article – 8 Can’t Miss Things to Do in Chicago with Kids

How to Save Money on Your Visit

In Chicago, you can save money by bundling the best Chicago Attractions through CityPass. It allows you to visit the Adler Planetarium, Field Museum, Shedd Aquarium, Museum of Science and Industry, and SkyDeck for a 50% off savings on ticket prices. Find out more about how to use this cool pass and if it’s worth it in my Chicago City Pass Review.

Tickets

I have found that the Adler Planetarium has the most reasonable prices of any Chicago Museum. It’s a little smaller so you are not spending an entire day there like other museums but you’re also not spending a large amount of money to visit.

The basic entrance for Adults is $19 and kids are only $8. You can also add on the Sky Show (movie) if you would like. Get all the updated ticket costs here.

Membership

If you plan to go to a museum several times, I often suggest you buy a membership to save money. The Planetarium, however, is cheaper than many other Chicago museums and it’s not as quick of savings. I would decide how often you plan to come and then calculate the cost to see if it works for your family.

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Where to Eat in the Planetarium

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Galileo’s Cafe

The Planetarium has a small cafeteria called Galileo’s Cafe where they serve freshly prepared lunch and snack options. You will find a beautiful view of the lake and the city while you eat from their floor to ceiling windows. Another option is to picnic on the lawn of the Museum Campus right outside.

With this being a smaller museum, you will be spending less time here so you could also eat before and after outside of the Planetarium and just get a quick snack while visiting.

Related ArticleBest Chicago Family Attractions

Best Adler Planetarium Exhibits with Kids

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Mission to the Moon Exhibit

Mission to the Moon – Start out by learning how the US put a man on the moon. Kids will find several hands on areas and can even write a note to an astronaut.

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Our Solar System Exhibit

Our Solar System – Explore the different planets and what they look like on a large scale. Find several hands on displays here for families to explore. It’s also located right next to Galileo’s cafe and a good stop before or after your snack.

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The Universe – A Walk Through Space and Time

The Universe – A Walk Through Space and Time – Here you will learn about the origins of the universe and find out how the galaxy, stars, and planets formed. Kids will enjoy jumping on exploding stars and using the computers to look around space.

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The Community Design Lab

The Community Design Lab – This is where kids and adults can do hands on activities to solve problems. When we were here, the kids used Legos to try and build a spacecraft that could fly to the end of a long string. The kids loved this area and spent a ton of time creating and testing their spaceships. Definitely worth a stop with kids.

Planet Explores – This fun kids exhibit lets them burn off some energy as they crawl, climb, and fly their way to a new world. Kids can launch a computer animated rocket ship, walk through a mock space ship, drive a rover over the moon, and so much more. The whole family will love exploring this area.

Related Article10 Best Weekend Getaways in the Midwest

Shows

You will find several different movie choices to see in the Adler Sky Shows. Learn about the stars, planets, the moon, and more. For the kids, they have a Sesame Street show where Elmo and Big Bird go to the moon and back.

More Fun Activities in the Area

Take advantage of all the great Chicago Attractions by adding another fun activity to your day when you’re done at the Planetarium.

Add a Beach Day

You will find a great little beach just a short walk south of the Planetarium called 12th Street Beach. Walk over after the Planetarium to dig in the sand, swim, or have a picnic. The beach has restroom facilities and a food stand. If you park in the Adler Planetarium Lot, you can just grab your beach stuff on your walk over.

Museums and Aquarium

Also located in the same area as the Adler Planetarium are the Shedd Aquarium and Chicago Field Museum. All three are in easy walking distance and share the same parking lots. I would suggest doing either the Shedd Aquarium or Chicago Field Museum first as they both tend to get more crowded and then head over to the Planetarium in the afternoon.

Learn more about the Best Things to Do at the Chicago Shedd Aquarium and Chicago Field Museum. To get even more fun family destinations in Chicago, check out my Ultimate Guide to Chicago Attractions with Kids.

Are you now ready for a fun family day out at Chicago’s Adler Planetarium? If you have more questions or great tips of your own, please leave them in the comments. I love to hear from my readers.

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Adler Planetarium with Kids. A Fun Chicago Museum you can't miss when visiting Chicago. Kids will love learning about space, science, astronauts and playing in the cool kids area. Get all the tips you need before you go. #adlerplanetarium #chicagoattractions #chicago #familyvacation #familytravel
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Chicago CityPass 2020 – Is it Worth It for You

Are you planning a vacation in Chicago? Want to save some money while visiting the best Chicago attractions? An easy way to do this is by getting the Chicago CityPASS. Save time researching things to do in Chicago by using their list of top attractions and Chicago Museums.

With a CityPASS, you’ll bundle your activities together and save 50% off ticket prices. How great would that be! With the pass, you can visit the Skydeck Chicago, Shedd Aquarium, Field Museum, Adler Planetarium and Museum of Science and Industry.

Read on to get all your questions answered on how to use a Chicago CityPASS on your next visit to Chicago.

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Chicago CityPass 2020- Is it Worth it for You

How to Save Money with Chicago CityPASS on Chicago Attractions.  See the Best Museums and Chicago Skydeck. Click here to find out how to save 50% on your visit to Chicago.  #chicago #chicagoattractions #citypass #familytravel #museums

What is a Chicago CityPASS?

A Chicago CityPASS is a bundled ticket to all of Chicago’s Best Attractions. By purchasing your tickets as a bundle, you get a discounted rate on entrance fees. This lets you save up to 50% off.

Using a Chicago CityPASS is pretty easy. Once you purchase your pass, you just present it at the participating attractions. Some even have an expedited entrance for CityPASS users.

You can visit each attraction only one time, but if you have a bigger group, you can visit attractions on different days. There is no need to decide ahead of time which location you are going to so you can be flexible on your vacation. If you plan to visit several museums and attractions, this is the best way to save money.

See the Best Chicago Attractions with the Chicago CityPASS- Learn what's Included and how it works. You'll save 50% on Chicago Attractions including 4 museums on your next visit to Chicago. #chicagoattractions #visitchicago #museums #chicago #familytravel

What Does A Chicago CityPASS Include?

A Chicago CityPASS includes admission to five top Chicago Attractions. All are family-friendly locations the kids will have a blast exploring. The bundling of these attractions is how you get the big savings of 50% off.

Here is a list of the attractions. Numbers 4 and 5 are a choice of two different attractions and you may only pick one.

  1. Shedd Aquarium – With Priority Entrance – See exotic fish from around the world, dolphins, whales, and local Lake Michigan sea life.
  2. Skydeck Chicago – Day/ Night Entrance – Located in Willis Tower, you will head up to the top of one of the tallest buildings in the world for stunning views of the city.
  3. The Field Museum of Natural History – All Access Pass – Check out the Field’s latest dinosaur exhibit SUE, learn about cultures around the world, and let the kids explore their fun kid zone.
  4. Adler Planetarium Premium Pass or Art Institute of Chicago – Fast Pass ** You can choose one of these options.
  5. Museum of Science & Industry – Ticketed experience – Immerse your family in the world of science with cool exhibits and fun children’s play areas. or 360 Chicago Observation Deck Express Entrance – Located in the John Hancock Building, the deck is over 1000 feet above the Magnificent Mile where you will get 360 Degree views of Chicago.

Tip: For the locations that have an option, if you would like to see the second option, ask the attraction about CityPASS discounts.

Where Can You Buy A CityPass

You can purchase your CityPASS online with the link below or you can purchase the passes at participating Chicago Attractions. When you purchase ahead of time, you will be able to skip lines at some attractions.

If you purchase online, you will get a choice to have it sent to your mobile phone or emailed so you can print it out. There is also an option to have a ticket booklet mailed to you at home or to your hotel. However, there is a shipping fee for this service.

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How Long is a Chicago City Pass Good For?

You CityPASS is good for 9 consecutive days starting on the first day you use your pass.

What will You Save and Cost of Tickets?

When you visit Chicago, you will realize quickly the ticket prices on most of the attractions are pretty high. This is why I am always looking for ways to cut costs so that my family can experience everything while visiting a new city.

CityPASS Cost

Current prices for a Chicago CityPASS

  • Adults ages 12+ – $108.00
  • Kids ages 3-11 – 89.99

Savings

If you add up the current ticket prices for the 5 attractions, you will save $105 per adult ticket and $85 per child ticket. That’s a savings of almost $400.00 for a family of four. I think that is pretty awesome!

Is the CityPASS worth it?

I think the main thing to ask yourself is how much you want to see during your vacation in Chicago while also considering the length of time you will be visiting.

Some of the attractions are shorter visits, like the Skydecks, while the Science & Industry and Field Museum can be an all-day visit. If you only do one or two of the attractions, it’s not worth the cost. However, if you have time for more attractions, it makes sense to save some money.

For our family, these attractions pretty much cover the top paid locations we would want to visit. You can also sprinkle in some free attractions such as Millennium Park, Maggie Daley Park, and the Lincoln Park Zoo.

Did that answer all your questions? If not, you can learn more about CityPASS on their link below. Or feel free to leave questions in the comments section. I love to hear from my readers and answer questions.

Learn more about our favorite Chicago Attractions in Ultimate Guide to Chicago with Kids.

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Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum | Best Tips for Parking, Free Days, Butterflies

Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum is a family favorite located in the heart of Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood. This Chicago attraction will transport you out of the city and into Nature exploring butterfly habitats, river locks, and wetlands. Follow along with me in this complete guide to visiting the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum to learn where to park (which can be tricky), which days are free, admission, membership, exhibits to visit, and more. All the details you need to know before you go!

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Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum | Best Tips for Parking, Free Days, Butterflies

Parking at Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum

Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum is located in the City of Chicago and this can make parking a little more of a challenge. The first and free option is finding street parking on Cannon or Stockton Drive. You can search the surrounding streets and even across Fullerton Parkway by the Lincoln Park Zoo. We often park by this free zoo and walk through it on our way in and out of the Nature Museum. It’s a great way to make it a full day of fun. Learn more about Lincoln Park Zoo with kids here.

Option two is to pay for parking. There is a small Chicago Park District lot located across the street from the Museum at 2431 North Cannon Drive. However, this lot fills up quickly, especially during the summer months. You can also find a few more paid lots if you are willing to walk a bit. Here is a link to a few parking lots in the area.

You could also park in the Lincoln Park Zoo lot which is located at Fullerton Parkway and Cannon Drive, 2400 North Cannon Drive, Chicago
Here is a link to that parking lot. This is an easy walk to the Museum.

Best Tips Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum. Chicago Musuem for kids with unforgettable Butterly exhibit, reptiles, playareas and more. Learn where to park, eat and things to do for a great Family day out. #notebaert, #chicago, #traveltips, #familytravel

Free Days & Admission to Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum

Free Days

I love that Chicago Museums offer free days and I try to take advantage of as many of them as possible. Every Thursday, the Peggy Notebaert offers Illinois residents a suggested donation day. So, it is not totally free but you can throw in a couple bucks for your whole family vs. the higher daily rate. The nice part about it being offered every week is that it’s not as crowded as other Chicago Museums on free days.

Admissions

As of January 2019 here are the admission prices at Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum.


• $9 for adults
‌• $7 for students and seniors (60+)
‌• $6 for children ages 3 – 12
‌• Free for children under 3

Membership to Peggy Notebaert

If you plan to visit a couple times a year, you might consider buying a Membership. Some great perks are free admission everyday, free coat check, and free stroller check. I love the stroller check. It’s a great option when you have a long walk to the car but don’t want to be burdened with a stroller while visiting the museum. The other added bonus is reciprocal admission to 300 other museums around the world.

Best Tips Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum. Chicago Musuem for kids with unforgettable Butterly exhibit, reptiles, playareas and more. Learn where to park, eat and things to do for a great Family day out. #notebaert, #chicago, #traveltips, #familytravel
Eat Your Lunch in the Nature’s Lunchbox Room

Where to Eat

The Nature Museum offers a small cafe at the entrance to the Museum. You will find some pastries, snacks. hearty salads and small dishes. However this is not open all day.

You can also bring your own food and eat at tables provided in the lobby and at Nature’s Lunchbox. The other option is finding a restaurant in the Lincoln Park area or eating at a restaurant in the Lincoln Park Zoo.

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Butterfly Exhibit and More

Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum has 10 different exhibits plus the outside nature trails. Let me highlight a few of my kids’ favorites that I think your kids will love too.

Best Tips Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum. Chicago Musuem for kids with unforgettable Butterly exhibit, reptiles, playareas and more. Learn where to park, eat and things to do for a great Family day out. #notebaert, #chicago, #traveltips, #familytravel
Judy Istock Butterfly Haven

Judy Istock Butterfly Haven

Walkthrough the fantastic world of butterflies in this 2,700 square foot tropical greenhouse filled with more than 1,000 butterflies. Children will be immersed in colorful butterflies and exotic birds. Even more exciting is that children can watch museum staff release new butterflies into the exhibit every day. This was really fun to see!

Best Tips Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum. Chicago Musuem for kids with unforgettable Butterly exhibit, reptiles, playareas and more. Learn where to park, eat and things to do for a great Family day out. #notebaert, #chicago, #traveltips, #familytravel
Riverworks Water Play

Riverworks

This cool water table exhibit is not your typical water play. Kids will get to build dams, learn about the Chicago locks, control water turbines, and change the flow of the river. I found this area great for all ages as younger kids can splash around while older ones enjoy building and learning Chicago’s water systems.

Tip: There are no water smocks so I would go to this exhibit at the end of your visit and bring a change of clothes.

Best Tips Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum. Chicago Musuem for kids with unforgettable Butterly exhibit, reptiles, playareas and more. Learn where to park, eat and things to do for a great Family day out. #notebaert, #chicago, #traveltips, #familytravel
Turtle Habitat at Mysteries of the Marsh

Mysteries of the Marsh

In this exhibit, kids will get to visit their living collection of reptiles, amphibians, and various invertebrates. There are seven different types of wetlands represented here. What I liked about this exhibit is the reptiles are easy for all age kids to view up close.

Best Tips Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum. Chicago Musuem for kids with unforgettable Butterly exhibit, reptiles, playareas and more. Learn where to park, eat and things to do for a great Family day out. #notebaert, #chicago, #traveltips, #familytravel
Feeding the Turtles at the Peggy Notebaert Museum

Tip: The kids can watch an animal feeding in this area every day. Check the daily schedule for times. The last time we were there, we got to watch the turtles being fed up close.

Best Tips Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum. Chicago Musuem for kids with unforgettable Butterly exhibit, reptiles, playareas and more. Learn where to park, eat and things to do for a great Family day out. #notebaert, #chicago, #traveltips, #familytravel
Hands-On Habitat Play Area

Hands-On Habitat

When the kids just need to run around, this is where you go. Kids can explore a cave and swing like a squirrel, steer a ship, dress up as animals, explore a beaver lodge, and climb up and down a two-story tree with slide. It’s a great indoor play area.

Best Things to do-Chicago Field Museum of Natural History with kids. All the tips you need to know before you go with your family. #fieldmuseum, #chicagomuseum, #traveltips, #familyvacation
Wilderness Walk – Coyote Habitat

Wilderness Walk

Take a stroll through a re-created Illinois prairie, savanna, and dune ecosystem and see all the birds and animals who live here. Also in this exhibit is the Family Look in Lab where you can watch and question museum scientists who are preserving animals in their living collection. The staff here was great at interacting with the kids and teaching them about the different animals they preserve. My kids loved this area.

Final Nature Museum Tips

Coat Check – Coat Check costs 50 cents and is located at the entrance of the museum. If you plan to go in the winter, I think it’s worth the 50 cents to not have to lug around all your kids, coats.

Bathrooms – The bathrooms are pretty spread out so just keep this in mind if you have a newly potty trained child.

Crowds – It tends to be less crowded in the afternoon after groups leave and little kids nap.

Explore Lincoln Park– Take advantage of finding parking in Lincoln Park and take time to explore the outdoor Nature Trails and visit Lincoln Park Zoo. The museum only takes 2-3 hours so use the rest of the day to have a city adventure.

Age Range – Wondering what’s a good age to take kids here? I think a range of children can find things to do here due to the different levels of learning. However, I do think it is more for younger kids. I would suggest age 12 and younger.

I hope you are now prepared for a great day out at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum. You will not regret exploring this amazing nature museum and Chicago attraction with your kids. It’s sure to be a fun-filled family day out.

Do you have any questions or great tips? Please leave them in the comments I love to hear from my readers. Want to get more great family travel ideas, easy meals, household hacks and more? Join the Happy Mom Hacks Community and receive our weekly newsletter to keep you up to date. Bonus – you’ll get a free printable Family Travel Checklist.

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Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum Chicago. Visit beautiful butterflies, reptiles, nature trails your kids will love. Be prepared for your visiting to this amazing nature museum in chicago with these tips. #notebaert, #nature, #familytravel, #chicago


Need More fun ideas for Kids in the Chicagoland Area? Check out more Happy Mom Hacks suggestions below and follow me on twitter for more Family adventures.

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Chicago Family Attractions

7 Can’t Miss Things to Do in Chicago with Kids  

Are you looking for things to do in Chicago with kids this weekend or on vacation? There are so many great Chicago Attractions to see whether you’re visiting the city or just looking for a staycation.

Some of our favorite Chicago attractions are the world class museums, a fabulous zoo and the best children’s playground we have ever been to. You will love exploring this great city and finding all the fun kids’ activities it has to offer.

I have put together a list of our favorite things to do in Chicago with kids to make it easier for you. Bonus there are even a couple of free things to do in Chicago with kids too! 

7 Can’t Miss Things to Do in Chicago with Kids  

7 Fun things to do in Chicago with kids you won't want to miss. Explore an amazing playground and zoo in the summer. Ice skate in Millennium Park in the winter. Don't forget the great Museums and aquariums too. So many awesome Chicago Attractions your family will love for a weekend getaway or stay-cation!! #chicagoattractions, #familyvacation, #traveltips

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Chicago Museums & Aquariums

7 Awesome Things to Do in Chicago with Kids. Guide to the Best downtown Chicago Attractions for your family. Bonus it even includes some free activities! Find Museums to go to in the winter and great parks for the summer months. You'll love these family friendly ideas. #chicagoattractions, #thingstodochicagoShedd Aquarium Chicago 

If your kids love fish, dolphins and penguins this is a stop you will want to make. With 32,000 animals from the worlds’ aquatic environment there is something for everyone. The Shedd Aquarium is located on the Museum Campus on Lake Michigan. Which gives you a great view while watching the dolphin show or eating lunch at their cafeteria.

Kids can also experience a 4D movie and pet sting rays while visiting. There are three levels of fun so I would give yourself the good part of the day to explore this aquarium.  

Tips to exploring the Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium 7 Awesome Things to Do in Chicago with Kids. Guide to the Best downtown Chicago Attractions for your family. Bonus it even includes some free activities! Find Museums to go to in the winter and great parks for the summer months. You'll love these family friendly ideas. #chicagoattractions, #thingstodochicago

Chicago Field Museum of Natural History 

The Field Museum is also located on the Museum Campus in Chicago. Here your kids are able to explore the history of people from around the world. Several of the exhibits immerse you into the lives of these people. Visit a pyramid and mummies in Ancient Egypt or Native Americans’ life in a Pawnee Earth Lodge from the 1800s.

Kids will love playing in the Crown Family Play lab where they can explore science through growing plants at a Pueblo home, playing music from around the world and uncovering dinosaur bones.

But the most popular exhibit for kids is the amazing dinosaurs located in the Evolving Planet exhibit. Your kids will be in awe looking at the huge creatures that used to roam the earth. 

Tips to exploring Chicago Field Museum With Kids

7 Awesome Things to Do in Chicago with Kids. Guide to the Best downtown Chicago Attractions for your family. Bonus it even includes some free activities! Find Museums to go to in the winter and great parks for the summer months. You'll love these family friendly ideas. #chicagoattractions, #thingstodochicago

Chicago Science and Industry Museum  

Chicago is lucky to have one of the largest science museums in the world. This huge museum originally built for the World’s Fair has over 400,000 square feet of exhibit space. The Science and Industry has done a great job of offering ways to learn about science at any age.

Little kids will love the farm, baby chicks, miniature trains and the hands on Idea Factory. Older kids will enjoy the Coal Mine, Uboat, Imax movies and Science Storms Hall.

Holiday time is a great time to visit as the Christmas trees from around the world are on display. Don’t forget to check out the science exhibit carts spaced throughout the museum for the kids to do quick science experiments.  

Tips to exploring the Museum of Science and Industry

7 Awesome Things to Do in Chicago with Kids. Guide to the Best downtown Chicago Attractions for your family. Bonus it even includes some free activities! Find Museums to go to in the winter and great parks for the summer months. You'll love these family friendly ideas. #chicagoattractions, #thingstodochicago

Adler Planetarium 

Are your kids interested in astronauts, stars and space? Then they will enjoy learning at this small Planetarium located on Museum Campus. Kids can drive a mock rover over the moon, do experiments in the community design lab, learn what a planet is and explore the stars.

What I love about this museum is their general admission rate is only $8 for kids and $12 for adults which is a steal compared to the other museums. It is small enough you could add this stop onto the Field Museum or Shedd Aquarium also located on the Museum Campus. All three share the same parking lots and are in a short walking distance. 

Tips to Exploring Adler Planetarium

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Free Things to Do in Chicago with Kids

Fun Things to Do In Chicago with Kids. Enjoy Chicago Attractions at free playgrounds like Maggie Daley Park, Museums, Zoo, Aquarium and more.  Your guide to visiting the best Chicago Attractions on your family vacation or Staycation. Get inspired and make it a trip to remember! #chicago #chicagoattractions #thingstodoinchicago #kids #familyvacationSave money on your trip with free activities in Chicago for kids. Let’s be honest, the Museums are amazing but can get pretty expensive. So, I try to add in a few free activities to balance out the visit.  Here are two free places in Chicago my kids absolutely love going to! 

7 Awesome Things to Do in Chicago with Kids. Guide to the Best downtown Chicago Attractions for your family. Bonus it even includes some free activities! Find Museums to go to in the winter and great parks for the summer months. You'll love these family friendly ideas. #chicagoattractions, #thingstodochicago

Millennium Park 

This downtown Chicago attraction is located right in the heart of the city. It also is one of the most photographed areas of the city. Here you will find the famous Cloud Gate or Bean as Chicagoans call it. A huge silver art piece that reflects the buildings in the city. Your kids will love running around it and finding their image.

Kids will also enjoy the Crown Fountain featuring two huge glass towers with images of Chicagoans faces that squirt water for the kids to play.

Want some entertainment? Head over to the Jay Pritzker Pavillion which host concerts and summer movie nights. Bring a picnic blanket and enjoy a concert in the park. Don’t forget to stroll through the beautiful Lurie Gardens located on the south end of the park.

If your heading over in the wintertime, rent some ice skates and skate around the McCormick Tribune Ice Rink while watching the city buildings go by. It’s a great way to spend an afternoon in the city. 

Tips to Exploring Millennium Park Chicago | 8 Things to Do with Kids

7 Awesome Things to Do in Chicago with Kids. Guide to the Best downtown Chicago Attractions for your family. Bonus it even includes some free activities! Find Museums to go to in the winter and great parks for the summer months. You'll love these family friendly ideas. #chicagoattractions, #thingstodochicago

Maggie Daley Park 

Ready to see the best playground in the city? Then head over to Maggie Daley Park! It’s connected to Millennium Park by a silver ribbon walkway called the BP Pedestrian Bridge. Once you walk over you will see the towering slides, bridges and ladders in the 3 acre Play Gardens. I have never seen any playground like this with six sections of fun.

In the park you will also find a huge skating ribbon for ice skates in the winter and roller blades in the summer. Bonus no charge if you bring your own skates! Don’t forget to check out the huge climbing walls and miniature golf course created with Iconic Chicago buildings. The kids will be amazed at all the cool places to climb and run in this park! 

Tips to exploring Maggie Daley Park Chicago

How to Save Money Visiting Chicago Attractions 

  1. If you are visiting the city and plan to go to several of these attractions look into purchasing a CityPASS. The CityPASS bundles together the price to visit 5 Chicago attractions over a 9-day period and saves you up to 50% on admission fees. Plus you’re a VIP and get to skip the lines in many of the museums. It’s a great deal. Learn more at my CityPass Reveiw
  2. Pack a lunch and snacks for the kids. All the museum and parks have areas to picnic both inside and outside. Take advantage of these and bring your own food.  
  3. If there is a museum you think your family will want to return to consider buying a family membership pass for the year. Usually you only have to go 2 or 3 times to pay for the membership fee. Bonus: Science and Industry Museum Membership includes underground parking with your pass. Great for visiting in the winter months.
  4. Save money on parking by taking public transportation. The kids will love taking a ride on a train or bus and you will save on parking fees.  

Where to Stay in Chicago

There are tons of hotels in the City of Chicago. I would suggest staying in the loop area, off Michigan Avenue or Lincoln Park to be close to all the attractions.

However if you go further west you will probably find better pricing. Get some ideas by looking at one of our favorite travel sites Booking.com. You’ll find tons of hotel options to choose for with helpful reviews.

Things to Do in Chicago Suburbs

You’ll find more great family friendly attractions in the Chicago suburbs. Just a few of our favorites are the Kohl Museum in Glenview and Six Flags Great America just north of the city. Find out more great places to expore in our best Chicago Family Attractions.

I hope this list of Things to do in Chicago with Kids got you excited about exploring Chicago Attractions. It’s a great city for family adventures and I hope your family will enjoy it as much as mine!

Do you have any great Chicago tips to share? Please let me know in the comments or any questions you may have.

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7 Epic Things to Do in Chicago with Kids. Explore the Fun Chicago Attractions like museums, zoos, and parks. Unforgettable activities in the Summer or Winter months. #chicago #chicagoattractions #thingstodowithkids #familytravel #familyvacation   7 Awesome Things to Do in Chicago with Kids. Guide to the Best downtown Chicago Attractions for your family. Bonus it even includes some free activities! Find Museums to go to in the winter and great parks for the summer months. You'll love these family friendly ideas. #chicagoattractions, #thingstodochicago

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Chicago Family Attractions · Travel with Kids

Chicago Shedd Aquarium | Family Tips and Things to Do

The Chicago Shedd Aquarium is an amazing place to visit for both kids and adults. This Chicago attraction hosts 32,000 animals from the world’s aquatic environment giving everyone something fun to see and do. Visit at the Shedd dolphins, penguins, beluga whales, lake Michigan fish, pet the sting rays, and watch a 4D movie. It is a full day of fun and adventure. Plan your family’s visit with this helpful guide filled with Shedd Aquarium family tips on parking, where to eat, how to get tickets, free days, exhibits to visit, and much more.

Chicago Shedd Aquarium | Family Tips and Things to Do

Tips for a Day at the Chicago Shedd Aquarium with Kids. Things to do, where to eat, park, and free days. Families will love visiting Dolphins, Beluga Whales, Penguins and fish. #sheddaquarium, #chicagoattractions, #traveltips,

This post contains affiliate links. If you choose to buy something using my link, I earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. For more information, see my disclaimer here.

Shedd Aquarium Parking

The Shedd Aquarium does not have their own parking lot for visitors. However, you can park in the Soldier Field North parking garage or in the small lots by the Adler Planetarium Lot and Field Museum East Parking lot. The Shedd is located on the Museum Campus right in between these two Museums. Here is a link to the website for Soldier Field Parking with prices and address. (parking link)

The Aquarium also offers valet parking during most weekends. Located at the guest drop off area on the southside of the Aquarium. For more details or general directions, check out this link to the Shedd Aquarium parking (here).

If you don’t want the stress of parking a car, there are several public transportation options. You can take the Metra or the L down to the city and then take a bus to the Museum Campus.

Shedd Aquarium Tickets

Shedd Aquarium Prices – The Shedd has a set rate for general admission to the Aquarium. This includes the stingray exhibit and animal presentations. If you would like to see the 4D movie, there is an additional cost. When you buy your tickets, make sure to reserve your time for any shows you would like to see as you will need a ticket to enter.  At the time of writing this article, prices for general admission were $39.95 for adults and $29.95 for children ages 3-11 years old. Check this link to see any price changes (here)

Shedd Aquarium Membership -It is not cheap to take the family to the Shedd. If you think you may go several times in one year it might be worth getting the membership. It allows you to get in through a member’s line which is great on busy days. You also get discounted tickets to 4D movies, stores, and restaurants.

Tip: Check Groupon for discounted tickets, they often run promos with discounted tickets.

Save Money on your visit by bundling Chicago Attractions

If you are visiting the city and plan to go to several Chicago attractions look into purchasing a CityPASS. The CityPASS bundles together the price to visit 5 Chicago attractions over a 9-day period and saves you up to 50% on admission fees. Plus you’re a VIP and get to skip the lines in many of the museums. It’s a great deal for tourists. Learn more by clicking Save 50% on Chicago’s 5 best attractions with CityPASS. Shop Now!

Shedd Aquarium Free Days

Free days are a great way to take the whole family to the Aquarium and save some money. All Illinois residents are eligible for these days, you just need to bring your Illinois state license. However, it is very crowded on free days and the line will reach all the way to the Field Museum. If you choose to go on one of these days, try to get there when they open to avoid the long lines. If you have younger children, go when the older kids are in school, it’s much less crowded. Here is a link to Shedd Aquarium Free Days for 2018.  (Free Days)

More Chicago Travel Articles – Top Chicago Brookfield Zoo Tips with Kids

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Where to Eat at the Shedd

You will probably spend several hours at the Aquarium to see everything and will need to eat either lunch or a snack. You have three options at the Shedd Aquarium restaurants or you can pack your own lunch.

Bubble Net – This cafeteria-style restaurant offers a variety of food to please everyone. It does get very busy at lunchtimes and when a Dolphin show or 4D movie lets out. I would suggest trying to time your stop for lunch when a show is going on to reduce the number of people eating. The seating overlooks the lakefront so kids can watch the boats go by while they eat.

Tips for a Day at the Chicago Shedd Aquarium with Kids. Things to do, tickets, where to eat, parking, and free days. Families will love visiting Dolphins, Beluga Whales, Penguins and fish. #sheddaquarium, #chicagoattractions, #traveltips,
The Bubble Net

Tip: The best value is ordering the whole pizza deal with four drinks. Easily feeds a family.

Tips for a Day at the Chicago Shedd Aquarium with Kids. Things to do, tickets, where to eat, parking, and free days. Families will love visiting Dolphins, Beluga Whales, Penguins and fish. #sheddaquarium, #chicagoattractions, #traveltips,
Pizza and Drink Deal

Deep Ocean Café – Located in the lower level at the Polar Play Zone, it has quick snacks like pretzels, popcorn, and hot dogs. They also have picnic tables located across from the dolphins which makes for a great show while you eatTips for a Day at the Chicago Shedd Aquarium with Kids. Things to do, tickets, where to eat, parking, and free days. Families will love visiting Dolphins, Beluga Whales, Penguins and fish. #sheddaquarium, #chicagoattractions, #traveltips,

The Deep Ocean CafeSoundings Café – This café offers wraps, fresh salads, and burgers. It tends to be a little less crowded and quieter than the Bubble Net. It also has windows that overlook the lakefront.

Pack your own lunch – Looking to save some money? You are allowed to bring your own food and snacks into the Aquarium. You will find picnic tables and vending machines at the ground level entrance lunch room. My only caution is often field trip groups use this space. I have also let the kids eat in the Polar Play Zone by the Deep Ocean Café. Kids can sit at the table or by the windows to watch the Dolphins swim by.

If the weather is nice, you can find picnic tables outside on the North Terrace Lakeside Lawn. You are able to leave and come back inside if you keep your ticket.

Need something to bring your lunch in? Check out this easy lightweight lunch bag I bring with the kids.

More Chicago Travel Articles – 14 Tips for Visiting the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry with Kids

Shedd Aquarium Exhibits

Main Floor Exhibits

Caribbean Reef – When you enter the Aquarium you will see a huge round tank you can walk all the way around and view fish, sting rays, and a really huge tortoise swimming. Often there is a diver in their cleaning or feeding the fish which is cool for the kids to see.

Tips for a Day at the Chicago Shedd Aquarium with Kids. Things to do, tickets, where to eat, parking, and free days. Families will love visiting Dolphins, Beluga Whales, Penguins and fish. #sheddaquarium, #chicagoattractions, #traveltips,
Caribbean Reef

At Home on the Great Lakes – Check out all the animals and fish that live in the Great Lakes area. You can even touch a swimming Sturgeon which is pretty cool for the kids.

Tips for a Day at the Chicago Shedd Aquarium with Kids. Things to do, tickets, where to eat, parking, and free days. Families will love visiting Dolphins, Beluga Whales, Penguins and fish. #sheddaquarium, #chicagoattractions, #traveltips,
At Home on the Great Lakes Exhibit

 

Amazon Rising – This is a great area for younger children because the glass windows go all the way to the floor making it easy for everyone to see the fish, birds, snakes and small monkeys. Yes, Monkeys!

Tips for a Day at the Chicago Shedd Aquarium with Kids. Things to do, tickets, where to eat, parking, and free days. Families will love visiting Dolphins, Beluga Whales, Penguins and fish. #sheddaquarium, #chicagoattractions, #traveltips,
Amazon Rising Exhibit

Wild Reef – From the main floor, take an elevator down a level to the Wild Reef. There is no additional fee for this area. Here you will see Nemo and Dory plus walk through an enormous tank with floor-to-ceiling windows and see sharks and stingrays. They also have interactive iPads to answer questions about all the fish and animals you will see. It is worth the trip down with the kids.

Tips for a Day at the Chicago Shedd Aquarium with Kids. Things to do, tickets, where to eat, parking, and free days. Families will love visiting Dolphins, Beluga Whales, Penguins and fish. #sheddaquarium, #chicagoattractions, #traveltips,
Wild Reef

Tips for a Day at the Chicago Shedd Aquarium with Kids. Things to do, tickets, where to eat, parking, and free days. Families will love visiting Dolphins, Beluga Whales, Penguins and fish. #sheddaquarium, #chicagoattractions, #traveltips,
Wild Reef

 

 

 

Second Floor Exhibits

Abbott Oceanarium – One floor down from the main level you will find the Abbott Oceanarium. This has two sections – one house the Beluga Whales and the other side has the Dolphin Show. If there is no show going on, you are able to walk around the large tanks and view them from the top of the water.

You will also find stairs on the left side to view otters and a small touch area with starfish. The Dolphin show is fun but it is geared toward being educational so maybe a little long for small children. Don’t forget to reserve your ticket time if you want to watch the dolphin show.

Tips for a Day at the Chicago Shedd Aquarium with Kids. Things to do, tickets, where to eat, parking, and free days. Families will love visiting Dolphins, Beluga Whales, Penguins and fish. #sheddaquarium, #chicagoattractions, #traveltips,
Abbott Oceanarium

4D Movies – On this same level as the Abbott Oceanarium will find the 4D movie. This is a pretty cool experience for kids. You wear 3D glass but you will also feel the seats shake and water or bubbles may spray out at you. They are usually only about 15 minutes long so even younger squirmy kids can make it through. People line up early to get “better” seats but I have found all the seats are pretty good. There is a documentary about sea life to watch in the waiting room, too.

Tips for a Day at the Chicago Shedd Aquarium with Kids. Things to do, tickets, where to eat, parking, and free days. Families will love visiting Dolphins, Beluga Whales, Penguins and fish. #sheddaquarium, #chicagoattractions, #traveltips,
4-D Experience Movie

Polar Play Zone – On the bottom level is where you will find the Polar Play Zone. Here kids can touch starfish, watch dolphins and beluga whales in their underwater tanks, and see penguins. There are two play areas also for kids to get some energy out. The Penguin Playscape lets the kids dress up like penguins and crawl and slide all over fake boulders and hills. Across from the Beluga Whales, you will find a huge play submarine for the kids to play in. They can move the gears and pretend they are diving underwater to find sea life.

Tips for a Day at the Chicago Shedd Aquarium with Kids. Things to do, tickets, where to eat, parking, and free days. Families will love visiting Dolphins, Beluga Whales, Penguins and fish. #sheddaquarium, #chicagoattractions, #traveltips,
Penguins in the Polar Play Zone

Tips for a Day at the Chicago Shedd Aquarium with Kids. Things to do, tickets, where to eat, parking, and free days. Families will love visiting Dolphins, Beluga Whales, Penguins and fish. #sheddaquarium, #chicagoattractions, #traveltips,
Starfish in the Polar Play Zone

Tips for a Day at the Chicago Shedd Aquarium with Kids. Things to do, tickets, where to eat, parking, and free days. Families will love visiting Dolphins, Beluga Whales, Penguins and fish. #sheddaquarium, #chicagoattractions, #traveltips,
Penguin Playscape in the Polar Play Zone

Tips for a Day at the Chicago Shedd Aquarium with Kids. Things to do, tickets, where to eat, parking, and free days. Families will love visiting Dolphins, Beluga Whales, Penguins and fish. #sheddaquarium, #chicagoattractions, #traveltips,
Submarine at the Polar Play Zone

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stingray Exhibit – Outside from May to October, you will find a tented area housing stingray. Kids and adults can reach over and touch the stingrays as they swim by. The line for this will often seem long but the staff is very good about moving people along to keep the line moving.

Tips for a Day at the Chicago Shedd Aquarium with Kids. Things to do, tickets, where to eat, parking, and free days. Families will love visiting Dolphins, Beluga Whales, Penguins and fish. #sheddaquarium, #chicagoattractions, #traveltips,
Stingray Exhibit

More Chicago Travel Articles – What to Know Before You Go to The Chicago Field Museum

Final Shedd Aquarium Tips

Strollers

With so many levels a stroller can be a pain with the long lines for the elevators. I would suggest using an umbrella stroller you can fold up and carry downstairs to save time.

Lockers

There are coin-operated lockers to store winter coats or other things you don’t want to carry around the museum on the main level and ground-level entrance.

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Get There Early

The Aquarium is not as large as some of the other Chicago museums and can feel pretty crowded as the day goes on. I would suggest coming during the week or when they open to avoid huge crowds. If you need to go on a weekend, try Sunday mornings.

Need a Break

You can re-enter the Aquarium if you keep your ticket. So, if it’s a nice day, take a break with a walk along the waterfront or have a picnic lunch.

Tips for a Day at the Chicago Shedd Aquarium with Kids. Things to do, tickets, where to eat, parking, and free days. Families will love visiting Dolphins, Beluga Whales, Penguins and fish. #sheddaquarium, #chicagoattractions, #traveltips,
Paths on the Museum Campus along Lake Michigan.

Add on a Beach Day

Just east of the Aquarium and south of the Adler Planetarium you will find the 12th Street Beach. You can walk over from the Aquarium with the kids and swim or dig in the sand. This beach has restrooms and a food stand. If you park in the Adler Planetarium Parking lot you can grab all your beach gear on your walk over from the aquarium. I find it to be a fun end to the day in the summer plus keep you from heading home in rush hour traffic. Here is a link to this Chicago Public beach. (Beach)

I love this beach blanket for families. It’s easy to carry and water-resistant. Throw it in your car and pick it up on your walk to the beach from the Aquarium.

I hope these Chicago Shedd Aquarium Tips will help your family have a wonderful day out in Chicago. Do you have any great tips to share? Please leave them in the comments below.

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Top Tips for your visit to Chicago Shedd Aquarium with kids. Things to do, where to park, eat, and best exhibits for families. #sheddaquarium, #familytravel, #chicagoattractions  Chicago Shedd Aquarium - Tips on what to see and do with kids. This fun Illinois aquarium houses dolphins, fish, penguins, jellyfish and more aquatic animals your family will love. #sheddaquarium, #chicagoattractions, #chicagomuseums, #traveltips

Want to find more family fun things to do in Chicago? Check out more of my family-friendly travel tips.

 

Chicago Family Attractions · Travel with Kids

Brookfield Zoo Tips with Kids

Looking for a fun Chicago Attraction the whole family can enjoy? Look no further than the amazing Brookfield Zoo.  This world-renowned zoo is set on 216 acres and has over 2,000 animals to visit. Kids will enjoy seeing everything from lions and monkeys to penguins and the dolphin show.

Each season brings great special events like the Brookfield Zoo Summer Nights and Holiday Magic Zoo Lights during Christmas. With so many things to do at the Brookfield Zoo, it’s hard to know where to start. Use this helpful guide to figure out all the tips on parking, membership, hours, maps, and best exhibits to see for a great day out at the Brookfield Zoo! 

 

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Brookfield Zoo Tips for Families 

Top Brookfield Zoo Tips for families visiting this fun Chicago Attraction. Learn all the things to do while visiting including where to eat, park and activities, Plus special Events like Brookfield Zoo Summer Nights, Boo at the Zoo and Zoo Lights. #familytravel, #brookfieldzoo, #zoo, #chicagoattraction

Safety Procedures

The Brookfield Zoo has made several changes for the safety of their guests and staff. You must wear a mask and social distance as best as you can while visiting the zoo. They also offer hand sanitizer and safety stations throughout the zoo. 

Brookfield Zoo Hours

You can visit the zoo from 10 am to 5pm for most of the year. During summer months the zoo extends their hours from 9:30 am to 6 pm. There is a lot to see at this zoo so I would suggest you plan on spending a full day here. 

Brookfield Zoo Parking

**change for 2020  – you must purchase your parking ticket before you go to the park. 

There is a south and north parking lot for the zoo. The North parking lot is much bigger and easier to get to so I would suggest this lot.  There is a fee for parking at the zoo. At the time of writing, this it was $14.00 per car.  

North Parking Lot (Golfview Road)
GPS Address: 8400 31st Street, Brookfield, IL 60513 

Once in the parking lot, I suggest going straight back and then left into the southwest corner. This is usually less crowded and is closer to the entrance.  

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Brookfield Zoo Suggested Parking Area

The downside to parking in the North lot is that it’s a long walk to get into the zoo via a tunnel under the road. Here is a link to directions and parking (here)

Brookfield Zoo Membership

The decision to get a Brookfield Zoo membership depends on how often you plan to visit the zoo. What we like about the family membership pass is it includes parking, entrance into the Hamill Family Play Zoo and one time use special attraction tickets.

You will also receive extra guest passes to bring friends or family. It’s always fun for the kids to be able to bring a friend with them to the zoo.

Watch out for deals if you have time that often includes entrance into their newest attractions. If you want all the ticketed attractions to be included upgrade to the Unlimited Membership.

Check out more at Membership and see if it’s right for your family.

Tickets  

Top Brookfield Zoo Tips for families visiting this fun Chicago Attraction. Learn all the things to do while visiting including where to eat, park and activities, Plus special Events like Brookfield Zoo Summer Nights, Boo at the Zoo and Zoo Lights. #familytravel, #brookfieldzoo, #zoo, #chicagoattraction
Ticket Booth in North Parking Lot

***As of 2020 you can no longer purchase tickets at the zoo you must purchase them in advance before you arrive along with your parking fee. 

If you park in the North Lot, you will purchase tickets at the ticket booths located at the end of the parking lot. Make sure you buy them here before you take the long walk to the actual entrance to the zoo.  

If you park in the south lot, you can buy tickets at the South Entrance.  

Tip: if you plan to go on a busy day, I would suggest buying your tickets ahead of time online. 

Bathrooms  

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Restrooms in the North Parking Lot

Bathrooms can be pretty spread out so keep your eye out for them if you are traveling with younger children. There is a nice bathroom with family bathrooms in the North Parking lot near the ticket booth.

It is a great place to stop at the beginning and end of your day. After that, the bathrooms are spread throughout the zoo. 

Strollers and Wagons

With 216 acres, the zoo is a big park to walk around with little kids. I would suggest bringing a stroller to push the kids and to hold your stuff.

As my kids have gotten older, I started bringing a wagon to pull a cooler and for kids when they get too tired. Both work great and there are designated spots to park strollers for exhibits.  

The zoo rents strollers, wagons, and wheelchairs at the North and South Entrances. So, if you are traveling, you don’t need to worry about bringing your own. Check here for rentals (here) 

Here is the wagon we use and love.

 

Map  

Make sure to grab a map when you enter the park, it is a huge zoo and you will need the map for guidance. I would also suggest taking a few minutes before you start to figure out what you want to see and come up with a plan for the day. Due to the size of the zoo, it is really hard to fit in everything in one day. 

You can also print out a zoo map before you go. 

Extra Attractions 

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Carousel Ride

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Hamill Family Wild Encounters

Top Brookfield Zoo Tips for families visiting this fun Chicago Attraction. Learn all the things to do while visiting including where to eat, park and activities, Plus special Events like Brookfield Zoo Summer Nights, Boo at the Zoo and Zoo Lights. #familytravel, #brookfieldzoo, #zoo, #chicagoattraction
Butterfly Exhibit

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Motor Safari Ride

 

 

 

 

 

** As of 2020 you are unable to watch the dolphin show or go to the Theater.

The zoo has several attractions that cost an additional fee above the general ticket price.  These include the New 3D Theatre, Dolphin Show, Hamill Family Play Zoo, Hamill Family Wild Encounters, the Carousel, Butterfly exhibit, and Motor Safari.

I will go over several of these extra attractions in more detail below. You can purchase tickets for these online or while you’re at the zoo. If you really want to see something, purchase it online ahead of time so they don’t run out of showtimes.

However, if you’re flexible, just see how your day is going and what you can fit in. 

For first time visitors to the zoo, there is plenty to do just with the included areas to keep you busy all day.  

Where to Eat 

**As of 2020 all indoor dining facilities are closed only walk-up dining is offered. 

The Brookfield Zoo offers many places to eat including restaurants and picnic areas. The food at the restaurants is a typical museum/zoo food. A little overpriced but convenient if you don’t want to pack your own meal.  

If you choose to pack a lunch, each side of the zoo has a picnic area with a playground for the kids. If it’s raining, we usually take our lunch down to the dolphin observation area and let the kids watch the dolphins swim while we eat.  

I love this picnic tote for the zoo! It holds all of our food, has a pocket for napkins and silverware plus holds water bottles on the side pockets.

The Roebury Picnic blanket is a great purchase too. I use this awesome fold-up waterproof blanket at the zoo, beach, playground, summer concerts in the park and basically, anywhere we stop in the summer. I leave it in my trunk so that we can use it at whatever outdoor event we end up hanging out.


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Brookfield Zoo Exhibits

The great part about visiting this zoo is the huge variety of animals and exhibits you can visit. My family finds that each time we visit, we find a new little area we hadn’t discovered before. I would definitely plan a whole day for this zoo. There are too many areas to list but let me highlight a few areas that make this zoo extra special. 

**in 2020 many indoor exhibits are closed so check before you go. 

 

Animal Encounters 

Brookfield offers you several ways to get up close with the animals. However, all of these come with an additional fee. 

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Giraffe Feeding

Giraffe Feeding – for a fee kids get the thrill of feeding a Giraffe 

 

 

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Penguins in The Living Coast

Penguin Encounter – Families can get up close and personal with a penguin while learning more about them from the zookeeper. 

 

Hamill Family Wild Encounters – This three-acre exhibit has three ways for kids to interact with animals. The first is feeding and brushing the goats. 

Second, they get to feed parakeets off a stick with bird seeds. This is really fun for all ages because the bird sits right on the stick your holding so it’s close up for all to see. The last encounter I have never seen before. Kids are able to walk around in an enclosure with Wallabies. I will admit the Wallabies tend to be sleeping but they do get up and hop around which is fun for the kids to see.  

Top Brookfield Zoo Tips for families visiting this fun Chicago Attraction. Learn all the things to do while visiting including where to eat, park and activities, Plus special Events like Brookfield Zoo Summer Nights, Boo at the Zoo and Zoo Lights. #familytravel, #brookfieldzoo, #zoo, #chicagoattraction
Wallaby Enclousure

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Parakeets to feed.

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Goats the kids can feed and brush.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dolphin Show 

Although you are not able to touch the dolphins, you do get a close-up view of them jumping and swimming while learning more about their species. My one note would be the show is focused more on teaching you about the dolphins than having a performance. This is very interesting but can sometimes be slow for younger children waiting to watch the dolphins swim and jump by.  

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Free Dolphin Viewing Area.

If you think your kids might be too antsy, check out the dolphins below the show in the observation room swimming around. This is free.  

Hamill Family Play Zoo 

This is a great area for younger kids especially on days the weather is not great. This area of the zoo offers tons of pretend play with a mock zoo office and a zoo kitchen area for the kids to pretend they’re a zookeeper. 

Kids can also dress up like a lemur while watching the real lemurs play. In the greenhouse area, kids get water bottles and are able to spray all the plants. There is also face painting and a ton of small animals to visit.  

Weather Tips

What to do on hot days at the Zoo 

The summer can get hot at the zoo so head over with the kids to the spray and play area outside of the Penguin Exhibit (Living Coast). Bring a bathing suit or a change of clothes and let the kids run around the water.  

You will also find misters throughout the zoo to run through and cool off.  We usually take with some cooling towels too, which just need some water from the water fountain at the zoo to work. They really cool you down and makes a huge difference on hot days.

 

The indoor exhibits are also air-conditioned so head inside them for a break from the heat.  

Top Brookfield Zoo Tips for families visiting this fun Chicago Attraction. Learn all the things to do while visiting including where to eat, park and activities, Plus special Events like Brookfield Zoo Summer Nights, Boo at the Zoo and Zoo Lights. #familytravel, #brookfieldzoo, #zoo, #chicagoattraction
Spray and Play located outside the Living Coast

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Zoo misters spread throughout the park.

What To Do On cold or Rainy Days 

The zoo is filled with indoor exhibits that are included with the price of your ticket. So, don’t skip out on the zoo just because of bad weather.

When it rains or gets cold, head to the Penguin Exhibit (Living Coast), Tropic World to see the Monkeys, The Fragile Desert, the Swamp, or the many other indoor buildings.  

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Tropic World – Visit the Monkeys

Top Brookfield Zoo Tips for families visiting this fun Chicago Attraction. Learn all the things to do while visiting including where to eat, park and activities, Plus special Events like Brookfield Zoo Summer Nights, Boo at the Zoo and Zoo Lights. #familytravel, #brookfieldzoo, #zoo, #chicagoattraction
The Living Coast – Visit the Penguins

 

Brookfield Zoo Yearly Events 

All these events are covered with your admission ticket price or membership.

Summer Night Concerts

Hang out at the zoo and listen to some great music with the kids on Friday and Saturday Summer nights. The zoo hosts these events starting around 5 pm.  You’ll find different kids’ activities, roaming entertainers, and different concerts each night. The best part is the laser show at the end of the concert.

They also have several beer and wine tents set up for adults. Seats and picnic tables are limited so make sure to bring a blanket to sit on. Plan a fun day visiting the animals and end with a picnic in the zoo and a concert. 

Boo at the Zoo 

Head to the zoo on select weekends in October in your costume to celebrate Halloween. Watch the animals play with pumpkins and walk through all the non-scary decorations. It’s a really fun October outing.  

Brookfield Zoo Lights 

Holiday Magic is a little different in 2020 visit our Christmas in Chicago Light Displays to get the most updated information. 

The zoo’s Holiday Magic event is a great excuse to get yourself out of the house on cooler days in December. Come see the zoo all lit up in lights and check out kid’s entertainers perform and have a hot chocolate. Head over before it’s dark to visit the animals and then stroll the lanes looking at lights. 

Tip For Night Events

For the night events, don’t wait until night time to come because the entrance and parking get crazy. Head over in the afternoon and see the animals, then stay for the night time entertainment. Less stress and you’ll enjoy it more. 

You should now be ready for your visit with Brookfield Zoo hours, parking, maps, membership, and the best exhibits. I hope these tips will help you have a great family day out at the Brookfield Zoo.  Do you have any great tips to add? Please leave in the comments so we all can learn. I love to hear from my readers. 

More Chicago Attractions

While in Chicago make sure to check out the Lincoln Park Zoo too. This fun zoo is located in the city and is free. You’ll find it’s smaller than the Brookfield Zoo but still has tons of fun things for the kids to do and see. Learn more in my Lincoln Park Zoo What to Know Before You Go

Want to find out the best parks and museums to visit with the kids in Chicago? Check out my 7 Can’t-Miss Things to Do in Chicago with Kids

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Don’t forget to Pin this for later.  Tips you need for a fund family day out at Chicago's Brookfield Zoo. Things to do and see, where to park, eat. Plus events Summer Nights, Boo at the Zoo and Brookfield Zoo Lights, #brookfieldzoo, #chicagoattractions, #traveltips, #familytravelTop Tips for visiting Chicago's Brookfield Zoo. All the things to do, where to eat, park, and the best activities and exhibits to see. Learn about events too Summer Nights, Boo at the Zoo and Brookfield Zoo Lights. #brookfieldzoo, #traveltips, #zoo, #familyvacationTop Tips and Things to Do at Chicago's Brookfield Zoo with Kids. Where to eat, park and which exhibits to visit. Plus event tips for Boo at the Zoo, Summer Nights and Brookfield Zoo Lights. #brookfieldzoo, #chicagoattractions, #traveltips

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What to know before you go to Chicago Field Museum of Natural History. Things to Do with the kids and tips on exhibitions, where to eat, where to park and more. Read this and be ready for a fun Family day at the Museum. #familytravel, #familyvacation, #traveltips, #Chicago, #fieldmuseum14 Tips to the Chicago Museum and Science and Industry with Kids. Learn tips for exploring the exhibits, where to eat, where to park and how to have the best family trip to the museum. #scienceandindustry, #musuemtips, #familytravel, #traveltips

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Chicago Family Attractions · Travel with Kids

14 Tips for the Chicago Museum of Science & Industry with Kids

The Chicago Museum of Science and Industry is one of the largest Science Museums in the world and a great place for kids. If you are visiting Chicago and looking for a family-friendly museum, you will want to make sure to check out this museum.  

The Science Museum has over 400,00 square feet of exhibits designed to pique your curiosity and teach you about science.  With so many exhibits, you will find things to entertain all ages of kids and adults.  

To help you explore and enjoy this huge museum, I have come up with family-friendly tips for the Museum of Science and Industry to ensure you have the best visit.

Follow along with me to learn what to see, where to park, where to eat, find free days at the museum, and more helpful tips.

This post contains affiliate links. If you choose to buy something using my link, I earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. For more information, see my disclaimer here.

Tips to know before you go to the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry with kids, Find out what to see, things to do, where to eat, where to park, free days and more. Use these tips to have a fun family day. #familyvacation, #chicago, #scienceandindustry, #chicagomuseum, #traveltips

Top Tips for the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry 

** 2020 Updates – Throughout the article, I will add in 2020 changes being made. These keep evolving so check back before you go or on the Science in Industry Page

Two big changes are visitors must reserve tickets online before you go and will need to wear a mask inside if you are older than 2 years old. 

Parking – 

A bonus to the Museum of Science and Industry is that it has its own underground parking garage. This makes it a convenient museum to drive to especially in the cold winter months.

The best place to park in the garage is on the east side of the garage on the lower level. I would suggest Green Level C. With this parking location, you can walk right into the museum without taking an elevator with the kids.  

Tip: on busy days, you need to get to the museum early because the garage will fill up.  

Bathrooms – 

The bathrooms are spaced far apart in this older museum which can be an issue for younger children.  Check out your map to find the locations throughout the museum. You will find family bathrooms located on the lower level near the Farm Tech and Brain Food Court and on Main level 2 near Yesterday’s Main Street.  

Coat Check – 

If you are going in the winter, don’t worry about carrying your big winter coat as you can use the coat check located across from the ticket counter. Or, if you parked in the garage, leave your coat in the car and just run into the museum.  

Strollers –  

It’s a large museum so strollers for the little ones are helpful. However, there are not many elevators and the lines for the few elevators get long.

You are also unable to take strollers on several exhibits but you can park your stroller outside the exhibits. 

Get a Map –  

When you get your tickets grab a map and plan out your day before you start. The museum is very spread out and has three levels. You want to make sure you are not wasting time running all over the museum.

Figure out which exhibits the family will like best and then what is around those exhibits to see while you are there. Also, keep in mind the ticket times for any movies or exhibits you purchased when deciding your plan for the day.  

Where to Eat –  

** 2020 Update – Only grab and go food located in the Museum Cafe is available but you can bring your own food to eat. Visitors can remove their masks while eating and drinking.

All food areas are located on Lower Level 1 and in the same general area. 

The Brain Food Court located on the lower level is a huge cafeteria-style dining experience. It offers a wide variety of food and seating. The downside is you have to wait in different lines for each type of food which can be a pain when your kids want different meals. 

Museum Café This is a quick place to grab a snack, a pre-made sandwich, or a Starbucks Coffee.   

Bring your own lunch – You will find tables to eat your own lunch or food from the Museum Café located on the Ground Level right by the Escalators.

This area is fun for the kids because of the Swiss Jolly Ball exhibit, which consists of a marble going through the Swiss Alps using gravity. It sounds funny but it’s pretty cool. Find a table near this exhibit and the kids can be entertained while you eat.  

Finnigan’s Ice Cream Parlor 

Set in Yesterday’s Main Street area, this old fashioned soda shop is a really fun place to grab an ice cream for a much-needed break. It’s also a great place to bribe the kids for good behavior at the museum. Not that I would ever do such a thing. LOL  

There are also family-friendly bathrooms located outside of the parlor. 

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More Chicago Travel Ideas – What to Know Before You Go to The Chicago Field Museum

Science and Industry Must-See Exhibits

** 2020 Update – The following exhibits are closed at this time. The Idea FactoryFuture Energy Chicago, and tours inside the Coal Mine and inside the U-505 submarine (the U-505 Submarine exhibit remains open).

Other exhibits have been modified to promote social distancing. 

I-Max Movie – 

A really cool thing about the Science and Industry is their giant dome theater. You can watch amazing Science I-Max movies that make you feel like you are a part of the movie. My note of caution is taking young children into these movies.

If your child is having a hard time sitting and you need to leave, it is hard to get out of this theater while the movie is playing due to the steep seating. I would suggest if you think you might need to leave to sit up near the top all the way near the middle aisle so you can make an easy escape.  

The other issue is the movies can activate motion sickness.  The further up you sit in the theatre the less dizzy you will feel. So, make sure to get in line early for the best seats in the theatre.  

Tip: if there is a Movie you really want to see, order your tickets in advance because they do sell out on busy days. 

Before or after the movie, check out all the cool space exhibits outside the theatre. 

Idea Factory –

This hands-on kid’s area for children 10 and younger is so much fun. Kids will love exploring the different science concepts they can test out themselves.

There is a water area with balls but don’t worry, they have raincoats. The Idea Factory is divided into an older area and a younger area so small children are also safe to explore.

It has a timed entrance so that it never gets too crowded. Stop by and pick up a ticket and come back when it’s your time.  

Next door is a farm area with a real tractor and combine to climb into which is always a big hit with the kids. This is a great place to wait for your time to come up in the Idea Factory.   

U-505 Submarine –

The museum has its own World War II German Submarine. It is a really cool exhibit where you not only see the submarine but also learn all about WWII.

This is a great area for a little bit older kids as there is nothing hands-on for younger children to do and a long walk to get to it.

You can take a really fun tour of the inside of the submarine also, but keep in mind it is very tight in there so again harder with younger kids. I will say this is a favorite of my 9-year-old but the 6-year-old is bored.

So, decide to go based on your children’s ages and what they like.  

Tips to know before you go to the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry with kids, Find out what to see, things to do, where to eat, where to park, free days and more. Use these tips to have a fun family day. #familyvacation, #chicago, #scienceandindustry, #chicagomuseum, #traveltips

More Chicago Travel Ideas – Chicago Shedd Aquarium Family Tips and Things to Do

Favorite Kids Exhibits 

Here are some more kid-friendly exhibits.  

The Great Train Story has a huge train display with a miniature Chicago, Seattle, Illinois countryside, and more. Look for the buttons for the kids to press and have fun finding the many different types of trains.  

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Tips to know before you go to the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry with kids, Find out what to see, things to do, where to eat, where to park, free days and more. Use these tips to have a fun family day. #familyvacation, #chicago, #scienceandindustry, #chicagomuseum, #traveltips

 

In the Genetics Room, you will find the cutest baby chicks. There is an incubator with eggs where you can see baby chicks hatching out of their eggs and other newly born chicks walking around.

Kids love it! You can go through the back entrance by the trains if you just want to see the baby chicks and not the whole Genetics hall.  

The Science Storms Hall has huge displays of different weather patterns. Make sure to check out the simulated tornado area. Often the museum staff let the children in to see and touch the storm. There are also several hands-on areas for kids, too.

Tips to know before you go to the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry with kids, Find out what to see, things to do, where to eat, where to park, free days and more. Use these tips to have a fun family day. #familyvacation, #chicago, #scienceandindustry, #chicagomuseum, #traveltips 

The Coal Mine Ride takes you down into a mock coal mine to experience what it was like working in a coal mine. You will take an elevator ride and a tram ride once below.

This is a neat experience for kids who aren’t too squirmy. You can’t take strollers in this exhibit.  For this exhibit, you will need to purchase a ticket.

Fairy Castle has a miniature fairy home with amazing details for any princess and fairy loving kids.  

The Circus area is a long hallway on your way to the U-Boat and Theater. Here the kids can look at silly mirrors, catch falling bubbles on a cool screen, and see miniature circus wagons.

At the beginning of the hall, lights are located on the floor that the kids can run through and it sounds like a piano.   

There are so many other great exhibits, too. Your family will have so much fun exploring all the museum has to offer. 

Christmas Around the World and Holidays of Lights

Best Tips to Chicago Museum of Science and Industry with kids. Find out what to see, things to do, where to eat, where to park, free days and more. Use these tips to have a fun family day. #familyvacation, #chicago, #scienceandindustry, #chicagomuseum, #traveltips

Every year the Science and Industry displays over 50 Holiday Trees from around the world plus one huge 4 story tree. Each tree represents a different country and has ornaments and decorations to reflect the countries traditions.

It’s both amazing to see and educational at the same time. Both children and adults will enjoy strolling through all the decorations before visiting the other science exhibits. 

On weekends they also have holiday performances to entertain guests. 

In 2020 this event starts on November 13th and runs Through January 3, 2021. 

Find more fun places to see Holiday Light Displays in our Christmas in Chicago Holiday Lights 2020

Membership – 

Do you plan on going to the museum more than one time this year? If yes, I would consider getting a membership.

The museum prices are not cheap and depending on how many family members you have, it may pay for itself in 2 visits.

We enjoy being a member of the Science and Industry because it includes free parking which is a huge bonus, especially in the winter months. I also like the member’s lounge that is included. You can go there to take a break and have a free coffee or hot chocolate. They will also help you purchase tickets to shows and exhibits.

A big bonus to membership is on busy days you just walk right in and skip the long entrance lines.

You can head up to the member’s lounge to get your parking ticket validated. So no waiting in lines which is great with kids.

Another bonus – if you are a nursing mother, they have a private nursing room in the member’s lounge. Plus, there is a member’s bathroom.

For this museum, I find it to be a good deal to be a member. 

Tips to know before you go to the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry with kids, Find out what to see, things to do, where to eat, where to park, free days and more. Use these tips to have a fun family day. #familyvacation, #chicago, #scienceandindustry, #chicagomuseum, #traveltipsTips to know before you go to the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry with kids, Find out what to see, things to do, where to eat, where to park, free days and more. Use these tips to have a fun family day. #familyvacation, #chicago, #scienceandindustry, #chicagomuseum, #traveltips

 

 

 

 

 

Free Days –

Are you an Illinois resident? If so, you are eligible to get in free during the free days at the museum. Check out this link to see upcoming dates.

The museum does tend to get crowded on these free days but it is such a huge building I find that it does not hinder your experience.  

Free Days link (here)

More Chicago Travel Ideas – Brookfield Zoo with Kids 

Final Tip –

You can order Movie tickets and exhibit tickets in advance. If you plan to go at a busy time a year such as a holiday or a summer, I would purchase your tickets ahead of time. They often sell out.  

I hope these tips will help you and your family have an amazing trip to the Museum of Science and Industry.  It is a place my family loves and I am sure yours will love it too! 

Do you have any questions or tips of your own? Please share with me in the comments. I love to hear from my readers. 

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Tips to know before you go to the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry with kids, Find out what to see, things to do, where to eat, where to park, free days and more. Use these tips to have a fun family day. #familyvacation, #chicago, #scienceandindustry, #chicagomuseum, #traveltips14 Tips to the Chicago Museum and Science and Industry with Kids. Learn tips for exploring the exhibits, where to eat, where to park and how to have the best family trip to the museum. #scienceandindustry, #musuemtips, #familytravel, #traveltips

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