Chicago Family Attractions

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.

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.

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.

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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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More Chicago Family Attractions

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Chicago Family Attractions

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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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Travel with Kids

Maggie Daley Park Chicago | Best Things to Do with Kids 

Maggie Daley Park is an amazing play land for kids built right into downtown Chicago. If you’re looking for things to do with kids in Chicago, this should be at the top of your list along with Millennium Park.  The 20-acre park includes the really cool Play Gardens, ice skating, rock climbing, miniature golf, and more. This Chicago attraction will not disappoint and will make a truly memorable family day out. Follow along with my family guide on things to do, where to park, eat and more family friendly tips to Maggie Daley Park.

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.

Maggie Daley Park Chicago – Best Things to Do with Kids

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Maggie Daley Park Parking and How to Get Here 

The park is located right off Lake Shore Drive and east of Millennium Park.  If you are coming from Millennium Park, just walk over the beautiful Silver BP pedestrian bridge which connects the two parks. You can also enter the park off of Monroe Street and off of Randolph Street.  

Maggie Daley Park Address:  337 East Randolph Street, Chicago, IL 60605 

Maggie Daley Parking 

The closest garage parking for Maggie Daley is the Millennium Lakeside Parking garage located under the park. You can also park in the Millennium Park Garage or the Grant Park North and Grant Park South Garages. I would decide on which parking location based on how you will be spending the rest of your day in Chicago. You do get a discount if you pre-pay for your parking spot in these garages. To find out more about prices, addresses, and hours, follow this link.  (here)

Millennium Lakeside Parking Address: 5 South Columbus Drive, Chicago, IL  60601 

Metra, “L”, or Bus 

Public Transportation is another great way to get to this park and save some money as parking can get pretty expensive. I have found my kids love to ride the train and city bus. They think it’s all part of the adventure of going to the city. Due to the location of the park, it’s pretty easy to walk from all these forms of transportation.  

If you take the Metra train, the downtown stations have staff that can help point you in the right direction to walk. They can also help you purchase bus tickets in case the kids are too tired for the walk back to the train.  

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Things to Do in Chicago’s Maggie Daley Park  

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Maggie Daley Park Play Garden

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Maggie Daley Park Playground

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Maggie Daley Park Play Garden

Play Garden 

The Play Garden is the star of this park. There are six different play areas for the kids to explore, climb, run, and jump. The 12,000 square foot Slide Crater for kids ages 5-12 is filled with all different types of slides, towers, bridges and more to discover. My kids also love the Enchanted Forest with a mirror maze or the huge light house tower to climb and slide down. There is also a splash area for younger children.   

You could definitely spend a couple of hours in this play area. Each section does have signs with recommended ages to give you a better idea of what works for your kids. 

Tip: The Play Garden can get pretty crowded, especially on weekends. I would try and visit during the week if you can. Also, the kids will be climbing all over and can be hard to keep track of while playing. I would suggest putting your kids in bright color so you could spot them as they run around.  

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Maggie Daley Park Skating Ribbon

Maggie Daley Park Skating Ribbon 

Instead of skating in a boring oval rink, check out this cool ice rink that looks like a ribbon cutting through the park landscape. The best part is that it’s free, there is no admission fee. When it’s not cold enough for ice, kids can use roller blades or scooters to skate around so it’s a great spot any time of year.  

There is a snack/hot chocolate stand located right off the Ribbon path called Rink Café which you can enter and leave when you want a break. If you need to rent ice skates, roller blades, or a scooter, you can rent them for a fee in the Field House located next to the Skating Ribbon. 

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Maggie Daley Park Rock Climbing Wall

Maggie Daley Park Rock Climbing Wall  

Maggie Daley Park has over 19,000 square feet of custom designed rocks and boulders which creates an awesome rock-climbing park. Located inside the skating ribbon, the sections are divided for beginner climbers and more experienced climbers. Children must be at least 4 years old and fit in the harness to climb. Equipment for climbing can be rented at the Field House located next to the Skating Ribbon.  

To find more information on pricing, hours, and rules, click on this link  (here)   

You Family will love the Chicago Shedd Aquarium too! Check it out: Chicago Shedd Aquarium | Family Tips and Things to Do 

Maggie Daley Park Miniature Golf 

Located on the southwest end of the park is an 18-hole miniature golf course. What’s makes this miniature golf course different is that it features many replicas of iconic Chicago buildings. This adds a fun spin to this family friendly game.  

Movies in the Park 

Maggie Daley Park host free kids’ movies in the park every summer. Spend the day exploring the park and stay for the movie. 

Millennium Park  

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Want to make it a full family day out? Then head over to Millennium Park before or after going to Maggie Daley Park. The two are connected by the BP Bridge which makes it an easy walk for the family. To learn more about what there is to do in Millennium Park with kids, read my article Millennium Park Chicago | What to do with Kids

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Maggie Daley Park Play Garden

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Maggie Daley Park Play Garden

Tips for a Day out at Maggie Daley Park 

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Maggie Daley Park Field House

Field House 

You will find more than just the rental equipment for the Skating Ribbon in the Field House. Here you will find nice bathrooms for your families as well as rental lockers, vending machines, and a refillable water station. Lastly, you will find any class events, camps or programs in this facility. There is a desk when you walk in where you can ask questions about Chicago events and activities.  

Bathrooms 

There are no bathrooms in the Play Garden area and so keep this in mind when taking younger children. You will need to walk over to the Field House. 

Food/Snacks 

There is a snack stand called Rink Café located next to the Ribbon on the south side. They have snacks, hot dogs, hamburgers and ice cream. There are some picnic tables located by this snack stand and an easy exit off the Skating Ribbon.   

You will also find Vending machines in the Field house. If you want something more, take a walk over to Millennium Park to find more food choices or the restaurants in the surrounding city area.  

Related Chicago Article: Chicago Lincoln Park Zoo | What to Know Before You Go 

Picnic Groves 

Looking to save some money? Bring a picnic lunch to the park. There are four picnic grove areas located on the east side of the park with picnic benches. You could also bring a blanket and have a seat in the many open grassy areas. 

I love this picnic blanket and take it wherever I go with the kids. It’s great for a picnic or watching a movie in the park.

Need a cooler to keep your picnic lunch cold? Check out the cooler I use on all our family excursions. It has a great strap to make it easy to carry and space on the outside for your water bottles, too.


Maggie Daley Park Map 

Want a map of the park? Click on this link to download a map. (here)

Are you ready now for a great family day out at Maggie Daley Park? I hope these tips and things to do help prepare you for a fun day out. If you learn any new tips or have questions, please let me know in the comments. 

Want to save more money visiting Chicago?

While Maggie Daley is a free park much of the city is not. 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 51% 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 51% on Chicago’s 5 best attractions with CityPASS. Shop Now!

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Top Tips Maggie Daley Park Chicago. All the things to do with kids all year. Fun winter activities like the Skating Ribbon and Fun summer adventures in the amazing playground. Learn everything you need to know before you go with your family. #maggiedaleypark, #thingstodochicago, #chicagokids
Maggie Daley Park Chicago- Best Things to Do in Chicago with kids. Easy tips to make it a great visit to Maggie Daley Park and Millennium Park. Go ice skating around the Ribbon, climb the rock wall, run through the playground and more. #chicago #thingstodoinchicago #maggiedaleypark #playground

Looking for more ideas for things to do with families in Chicago? Check out these family friendly Chicago locations.

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Travel with Kids

Millennium Park Chicago | 8 Things to Do with Kids

Millennium Park is one of the can’t miss Chicago Attractions when visiting the city. A beautiful 24.5 acre park filled with art, gardens, monuments, play grounds, music, and more right in the heart of the city.  If you’re looking for free things to do in Chicago with kids, you won’t want to miss this amazing park.  

You will find Millennium Park offers a wide range of things to do. In the summer, kids can splash around the Crown Fountain, visit the Bean, and walk through the Lurie Gardens. In the winter months, adults and kids can enjoy some hot chocolate while ice skating at the McCormick Tribune Ice Rink.  Everyone will love the Millennium Park events, movies and concert series. You also can’t miss strolling over to Maggie Daley Park one of the best playgrounds in Chicago.  Wondering what you need to know before spending a fun family day out at Chicago’s Millennium Park? Follow along with me for all the tips you need to know.  

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.

Millennium Park Chicago – 8 Things to Do with Kids

8 Awesome Things to Do with Kids in Chicago's Millennium Park. Visit the Lurie Gardens and the Cloud Gate or the Bean as locals call it. Let the kids splash in the Crown Fountain and in the winter go ice skating at the park. Plan your trip to this Illinois park with this helpful guide. Learn where to park and eat too! #millenniumpark, #chicagoattractions, #traveltips, #familyvacation

Millennium Park Parking and How to Get There 

How to Get There

The first thing you need to know is how to get to Millennium Park. It is located just north of Grant Park and is between Michigan Avenue, East Monroe Drive and East Randolph Street. Several bus lines stop on Michigan Avenue and East Randolph Street.   

You can also take the Metra Train from the suburbs and walk over. We did this with my kids and it was a pretty easy walk. The kids had a great time walking by all the tall buildings and taking a train ride. I would suggest taking a stroller for the walk if you have little ones.  If the kids get too tired after running around the park, you could always take a cab or bus back to the train station.  

Millennium Park Parking 

If you plan to drive to the city, I suggest you park in the Millennium Park Parking Garage. Located under Millennium Park, it is the closest parking garage.  

Millennium Park Parking Address5 South Columbus Drive, Chicago, IL 60601 

You can also find parking at the Millennium Lakeside garage (good for Maggie Daley Park), Grant Park North Garage, and Grant Park South Garage. If you buy your spot ahead of time, you can save money too. Click on the link below to get more information about rates, locations, and hours for these parking garage.  

Millennium Park Garage – https://www.millenniumgarages.com/ 

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Things to Do at Millennium Park Chicago 

8 Awesome Things to Do with Kids in Chicago's Millennium Park. Visit the Lurie Gardens and the Cloud Gate or the Bean as locals call it. Let the kids splash in the Crown Fountain and in the winter go ice skating at the park. Plan your trip to this Illinois park with this helpful guide. Learn where to park and eat too! #millenniumpark, #chicagoattractions, #traveltips, #familyvacation
Millennium Park Crown Fountain

Crown Fountain

You will be able to see two huge fountains as you walk up to Millennium Park. These large glass block towers have images of Chicagoan’s faces on LED screens. Kids will enjoy watching the faces change but what they will love is when the mouth opens and water squirts out.  In the summer months between the two towers, there is a shallow pool of water a couple inches deep. Make sure to bring bathing suits or a change of clothes cause the kids will want to splash around.  

8 Awesome Things to Do with Kids in Chicago's Millennium Park. Visit the Lurie Gardens and the Cloud Gate or the Bean as locals call it. Let the kids splash in the Crown Fountain and in the winter go ice skating at the park. Plan your trip to this Illinois park with this helpful guide. Learn where to park and eat too! #millenniumpark, #chicagoattractions, #traveltips, #familyvacation
Millennium Park Cloud Gate

Cloud Gate / The Bean

The most popular spot to take pictures in Millennium Park is the Cloud Gate, affectionately known by Chicagoans as The Bean. The large silver sculpture reflects all the city buildings and you can view yourself in the mirrors. Kid will enjoy walking around and beneath the bean while finding their image among the crowd.  

8 Awesome Things to Do with Kids in Chicago's Millennium Park. Visit the Lurie Gardens and the Cloud Gate or the Bean as locals call it. Let the kids splash in the Crown Fountain and in the winter go ice skating at the park. Plan your trip to this Illinois park with this helpful guide. Learn where to park and eat too! #millenniumpark, #chicagoattractions, #traveltips, #familyvacation
Millennium Park – Lurie Garden

Related Article – Lincoln Park Zoo Chicago | What to Know Before You Go

Lurie Garden

This 3.5 acre garden is set in the southern portion of Millennium Park. Stroll through these beautiful gardens and water features all with the backdrop of the city buildings. It is tucked inside of large hedges so it can be easily missed. You can enter this garden from Monroe Street or on a path south of the Jay Pritzker Pavilion.  Don’t miss this quick stroll, it is really beautiful. 

8 Awesome Things to Do with Kids in Chicago's Millennium Park. Visit the Lurie Gardens and the Cloud Gate or the Bean as locals call it. Let the kids splash in the Crown Fountain and in the winter go ice skating at the park. Plan your trip to this Illinois park with this helpful guide. Learn where to park and eat too! #millenniumpark, #chicagoattractions, #traveltips, #familyvacation
Jay Pritzker Pavilion

Jay Pritzker Pavilion

The Jay Pritzker Pavilion was designed by Frank Gehry and it is pretty amazing to see. It stands 120 feet high with a billowing “headdress” composed of stainless-steel ribbons which frame the stage. Coming out of the stage area are overhead trellises with speakers so that even the lawn seats have great acoustics. The Pavilion is right in the middle of Millennium Park and is Chicago’s premier outdoor concert venue.  

Head over to this pavilion for their summer concert series and summer movie night events. Bring a blanket and picnic to enjoy the music and movie nights with kids.  

Check out this link to see concert schedules (here)

Boeing Galleries

Located on the North and South ends of Millennium Park you will find artistic displays of modern and contemporary art. Make sure to walk by these and check out the current art displays on your walk from the Crown Fountain to the Bean.  

McCormick Tribune Ice Rink

A fun way to enjoy winter time in Millennium Park is to go ice skating. The area is festive and you have a great view of the city while skating around the rink. You are able to rent skates at the park so no need to carry your own down to the park. Stop for some hot chocolate and a snack when you are done at the stand next to the rink.  Weather permitting, the rink is open from November through March but check this link before you go to make sure.  

McCormick Tribune Ice Rink

Related Article – Chicago Shedd Aquarium | Family Tips and Things to Do

8 Awesome Things to Do with Kids in Chicago's Millennium Park. Visit the Lurie Gardens and the Cloud Gate or the Bean as locals call it. Let the kids splash in the Crown Fountain and in the winter go ice skating at the park. Plan your trip to this Illinois park with this helpful guide. Learn where to park and eat too! #millenniumpark, #chicagoattractions, #traveltips, #familyvacation
BP Pedestrian Bridge

BP Pedestrian Bridge

For a beautiful view of the city take a stroll over the BP Pedestrian Bridge which connects Millennium Park to Maggie Daley Park. The silver snake like bridge was also created by Frank Gehry and is a fun way to walk over with the kids to Maggie Daley Park. 

8 Awesome Things to Do with Kids in Chicago's Millennium Park. Visit the Lurie Gardens and the Cloud Gate or the Bean as locals call it. Let the kids splash in the Crown Fountain and in the winter go ice skating at the park. Plan your trip to this Illinois park with this helpful guide. Learn where to park and eat too! #millenniumpark, #chicagoattractions, #traveltips, #familyvacation
Maggie Daley Park

Maggie Daley Park

Maggie Daley Park is an awesome 20-acre park created for kids. Walk over the bridge from Millennium Park to find a fun play land for the kids at Maggie Daley Park. In this area, kids can rock-climb and play a game of miniature golf. At the Skating Ribbon, kids can ice skate in the winter and roller blade or ride scooters in the summer. But hands down, the best part of the park is the Play Garden. With six different play areas for kids to climb, swing, and explore, you will spend endless hours just running around this free park. Learn more about Things to do at this park and tips for exploring it (Here) 

If you are looking for a fun day out with the kids, you can’t miss Millennium Park. You family will love all the different areas to explore both in the winter months and summer months. I hope your family has as much fun exploring this park as we did.  

Do you have another great tip or questions about visiting Millennium Park? Please let us know in the comments. 

Want to save more money visiting Chicago?

While Millennium Park is a free park much of the city is not. 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 51% 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 51% on Chicago’s 5 best attractions with CityPASS. Shop Now!

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Don’t forget to pin this article for later. 8 Awesome Things to Do with Kids in Chicago's Millennium Park. Visit the Lurie Gardens and the Cloud Gate or the Bean as locals call it. Let the kids splash in the Crown Fountain and in the winter go ice skating at the park. Plan your trip to this Illinois park with this helpful guide. Learn where to park and eat too! #millenniumpark, #chicagoattractions, #traveltips, #familyvacation

Want more ideas for family fun in Chicago? Check out these great locations and tips. 

 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 Visit the ultimate playground in Chicago - Maggie Daley Park, Just walk over the ribbons from Millennium Park and find an amazing play area over looking Lake Michigan. Follow this guide to find fun things to do such as ice skating, climbing walls and Play garden. #maggiedaleypark, #chicagoattractions, #traveltips, #familytravel Best Things to do at the 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  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  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,         Chicago Lincoln Park Zoo Tips you need for your family trip to the zoo. Learn which animals to visit such as the polar bears, lions and Apes. Plan your day knowing where to park, eat and hours. Get ready for a fun day with the kids! #lincolnparkzoo, #chicagoattractions, #traveltips, #familyvacation

 

 

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! 

 

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.

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.  

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
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

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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.  

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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.  

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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

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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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