Chicago is a city rich in culture, history, and activities. The city is known for everything from deep-dish pizza to being the setting of “Home Alone.” With instantly recognizable landmarks like “The Bean” in Millennium Park and the Chicago skyline, it’s a great place for a family vacation or enjoying a day out. From museums and parks to aquariums and zoos, you’ll find plenty of things to entertain children of all interests. So head out to the city and check out some of these fun, family-friendly activities.

Visit the Lincoln Park Zoo

chicago bean
Image via Flickr by tylerkaraszewski

Kids of all ages will enjoy seeing the animals at the Lincoln Park Zoo. It’s located at 2400 N. Cannon Drive, is open every day from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and is completely free, making it a great spot to stop by anytime. Founded in 1868, this long-running zoo has grown with the city and remains an oasis of nature and animals.

There are nearly 200 animal species from around the world on display, and the extensive habitats are designed to promote the animals’ health and well-being. You can see everything from aardvarks to the Yellow-spotted Amazon River turtle, and so much more.

Marvel at the Field Museum

For the young archeologists in your family, you’ll want to stop by the Field Museum, a museum of ancient history featuring everything from dinosaur skeletons to man-made artifacts from different eras around the world. It’s located at 1400 S. DuSable Lake Shore Drive, beside Lake Michigan and near other museum attractions. The museum is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., with the last admission at 4 p.m. Adult ticket prices start at $18 and go up to $40 for an all-day pass, including access to all ticketed exhibits, for out-of-state visitors.

Explore the Chicago Children’s Museum

Kids love exploring the Chicago Children’s Museum. This attraction features interactive exhibits where children can learn through play. You’ll find something for every age group, with play areas for infants and toddlers, and labs and STEM programs for older kids. The majority of the museum’s programs and learning exhibits are perfect for ages 4 through 9. It’s located at 700 E. Grand Ave., Suite 127, at the Navy Pier. The museum is typically open from Friday to Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Some days throughout the year offer special hours. Tickets are $19 for adults and children.

Be Inspired at the Art Institute of Chicago

The Art Institute of Chicago is a prestigious art museum featuring great works from renowned artists around the world. Current exhibits include “Morris and Company: The Business of Beauty,” which celebrates the company of 19th-century designer, artist, and writer, William Morris. Be sure to check out the impressive Hartwell Memorial Window, which is built of 48 separate panels of stained glass. The art institute is open from Thursday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and is located in downtown Chicago at 111 S. Michigan Ave. Tickets for children under 14 are free, while local adult tickets start at $20.

See Sea Life at the Shedd Aquarium

The Shedd Aquarium is located at 1200 S. Lake Shore Drive and is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The aquarium is home to many beautiful animals including Magellanic and Rockhopper penguins, fuzzy sea otters, majestic sharks, hundreds of fishes, sea horses, and other interesting sea creatures. Children will be awed by the sight of the playful beluga whales. You can even book a spot on one of the beluga experiences where attendees can wade into the water and encounter them firsthand.

Play at Maggie Daley Park

Maggie Daley Park is a city park located at 337 E. Randolph St. beside South Lake Shore Drive and across South Columbus Drive from Millennium Park. It offers many play and recreation areas where kids can have a great outing any time of the year. During the winter, you’ll find the Ice-skating Ribbon where everyone can enjoy some open-air skating. The park is open from 6 a.m. until 10 p.m. every day and is free to visit, though certain activities like the rock-climbing wall, ice-skating ribbon, mini-golf course, and some other activities in the park require a fee.

Learn at the Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago

The Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago, is a must-visit for science-loving kids and adults. It has many exciting exhibits throughout the year on everything from architecture to airplanes, steam engines to the future of energy, and from sailing ships to cutting-edge spacecraft. It’s open from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., and tickets cost $12.95 for children ages 3-11, and $21.95 for adults. The museum is located in the Hyde Park area of Chicago, at 5700 S. Lake Shore Drive, across from 57th Drive.

Enjoy Flora at the Garfield Park Conservatory

Longing for a bit of springtime amidst Chicago’s cold winters? Step into the glasshouses at the Garfield Park Conservatory and you’ll be transported into another clime. One of the largest and most impressive such conservatories in the country, you can see plants from all around the world. You can wander through the tropical palm tree house where palms rise high into the canopy, see exotic cacti and succulents in the Desert House, and don’t miss the Elizabeth Morse Genius Children’s Garden. This indoor nature playscape provides year-round joy to children of all ages and abilities. And it’s all completely free!

Chicago has many prestigious museums and world-class institutes that can provide education, cultural enrichment, and just plain fun, making it a great place to take your kids. Who doesn’t want to dig for dinosaur bones or learn about the history of space flight? At Allied Plumbing & Heating Supply Co., we would love to hear which museum or education center we’ve recommended becomes your favorite spot to take the kids. The next time you’re in Chicago for a fun day with the family, contact us and tell us what you love the most about the places you visited.