10 Fun Things to Do with Kids in Chicagoland This Weekend

Fun Things to Do with Kids in Chicagoland This Weekend

Looking for exciting ways to spend this weekend with your kids in Chicagoland? Look no further! This article has got you covered with 10 fun-filled activities that will keep your little ones entertained and happy. Whether you’re looking to explore the city’s vibrant museums, enjoy outdoor adventures, or indulge in delicious treats, there’s something on this list for every family. So grab your calendar and get ready to make cherished memories with your children this weekend in the beautiful city of Chicago!
10 Fun Things to Do with Kids in Chicagoland This Weekend

Table of contents

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Visit the Shedd Aquarium

Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium is a must-visit attraction for anyone interested in exploring the fascinating underwater world. With a wide variety of exhibits and interactive displays, you and your family can get up close and personal with marine life from around the globe.

Explore the Underwater World

Step into the mesmerizing world of aquatic creatures as you wander through the Shedd Aquarium. From colorful coral reefs teeming with tropical fish to the mysterious depths of the Amazon River, you will be amazed at the diverse ecosystems that exist beneath the surface of our oceans.

Attend Animal Encounters

Join the animal encounters at the Shedd Aquarium for an unforgettable experience. From penguins waddling across the stage to dolphins showcasing their intelligence and agility, these encounters offer a unique opportunity to learn about these incredible creatures and their habitats.

Watch a Live Aquatic Show

Make sure to catch one of the live aquatic shows at the Shedd Aquarium. Marvel at the acrobatics and grace of the dolphins as they leap and twirl through the air, or watch in awe as beluga whales demonstrate their intelligence and playfulness. These shows are not only entertaining but also educational, providing insights into the behaviors and abilities of these amazing animals.

Spend a Day at the Lincoln Park Zoo

polar bear, bear, underwater
Located in the heart of Chicago, the Lincoln Park Zoo is a fantastic destination for families looking to spend a fun-filled day surrounded by a wide variety of animals.

See a Variety of Animals

At the Lincoln Park Zoo, you and your family will have the opportunity to see animals from all corners of the world. From majestic lions and tigers to playful monkeys and elephants, the zoo houses a diverse range of species that will captivate both children and adults alike.

Enjoy Interactive Exhibits

The Lincoln Park Zoo offers interactive exhibits that provide a hands-on learning experience for children. Whether it’s a petting zoo where they can get up close and personal with goats and sheep or an interactive bird exhibit where they can feed and observe colorful avian species, these exhibits are designed to engage and educate young minds.

Kids can enjoy a ride on the miniature train or carousel at the Lincoln Park Zoo. These classic attractions add an element of nostalgia to the experience and are sure to bring a smile to the faces of children and adults alike. Hop aboard the train for a scenic tour of the zoo or take a spin on the carousel for a whimsical adventure.

Discover the Museum of Science and Industry

If your child is curious about the world around them, there’s no better place to satisfy their thirst for knowledge than the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago.

Engage with Hands-On Exhibits

The Museum of Science and Industry boasts an impressive collection of hands-on exhibits that encourage children to explore and discover scientific concepts through interactive play. From designing and testing their own roller coasters to exploring the properties of electricity and magnetism, these exhibits make learning a fun and immersive experience.

Learn About Science and Technology

With exhibits covering a wide range of scientific disciplines, the Museum of Science and Industry provides endless opportunities for children to learn about everything from biology and chemistry to space exploration and robotics. Through engaging displays and informative presentations, children can expand their knowledge and gain a deeper understanding of the world around them.

Visit the U-505 Submarine Exhibit

One of the highlights of the Museum of Science and Industry is the U-505 Submarine exhibit. Step aboard this historic World War II submarine and learn about its role in naval warfare. Explore the cramped quarters, view interactive displays, and discover the stories of the brave men who served on board.

Have Fun at Navy Pier

Navy Pier is a vibrant entertainment destination that offers a wide range of activities for families. With its iconic Ferris wheel, children’s museum, and arcade, there’s no shortage of fun to be had at Navy Pier.

Ride the Ferris Wheel

A visit to Navy Pier is not complete without a ride on the Ferris wheel. As you ascend to the top, you’ll be rewarded with stunning views of Lake Michigan and the Chicago skyline. It’s the perfect opportunity to snap some memorable photos and create lasting family memories.

Explore the Children’s Museum

The Chicago Children’s Museum at Navy Pier is a haven for young explorers. With interactive exhibits designed to stimulate their creativity, curiosity, and imagination, children can engage in hands-on learning experiences. From building structures with giant foam blocks to experimenting with water and creating art, there’s something to inspire every young mind.

Play Games at the Arcade

The Navy Pier Arcade is a playground for both kids and adults. Challenge each other to a game of air hockey, try your luck at the claw machines, or test your skills at the classic arcade games. With a wide variety of games and prizes to be won, the whole family can enjoy some friendly competition and laughter.

Enjoy the Skydeck Chicago Experience

For breathtaking views of the city and a thrilling adrenaline rush, the Skydeck Chicago is a must-visit attraction.

Take in Breathtaking Views of the City

Step onto the Skydeck and be prepared to be awe-struck by the panoramic views of the Chicago skyline. From this vantage point, you can see iconic landmarks such as Willis Tower, Navy Pier, and Millennium Park. The views stretch as far as the eye can see, providing a unique perspective of the Windy City.

Step Onto The Ledge for an Adrenaline Rush

If you’re feeling brave, step onto The Ledge at the Skydeck. This glass box extends out from the side of the building, allowing you to look straight down at the city streets below. It’s a heart-pounding experience that will leave you with a sense of exhilaration and a newfound appreciation for the heights.

Learn About Chicago’s Architecture

The Skydeck Chicago also offers informative exhibits that delve into the history and architecture of Chicago. Discover the engineering marvels that make the city’s skyline so unique and learn about the architects who shaped the city’s landscape. It’s a fascinating journey through time that will deepen your understanding and appreciation of Chicago’s architectural heritage.

Visit Millennium Park

chicago, dusk, evening
Millennium Park is a vibrant oasis in the heart of downtown Chicago, offering an array of activities and attractions for families to enjoy.

Snap a Photo with The Bean

No visit to Millennium Park is complete without a photo-op in front of Cloud Gate, affectionately known as “The Bean.” This iconic sculpture reflects the city’s skyline and offers a playful and interactive experience. Whether you’re posing for a family portrait or capturing a silly moment, The Bean is the perfect backdrop for creating lasting memories.

Attend a Concert at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion

If you happen to visit Millennium Park during the summer months, check the schedule for concerts and performances at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion. From jazz ensembles to symphony orchestras, the open-air venue hosts a wide variety of musical acts. Pack a picnic blanket and snacks, sit back, and enjoy the magical sounds of live music floating through the park.

Cool Off in the Crown Fountain

On a hot summer day, head to the Crown Fountain to beat the heat. This interactive installation features two 50-foot towers that display digital images of Chicago residents. At regular intervals, water cascades down from the mouth of each tower, providing a refreshing and playful experience for children. Let them splash and play in the shallow reflecting pool, and don’t forget to bring a change of clothes!

Explore Brookfield Zoo

Brookfield Zoo is a sprawling 216-acre oasis located just outside of Chicago. With a wide variety of animal exhibits and educational programs, it’s an ideal destination for a day of family fun.

Observe a Variety of Animals

Brookfield Zoo is home to over 2,000 animals representing more than 350 species. From the majestic lions and tigers to the playful meerkats and penguins, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. Take your time exploring the different exhibits and learning about the fascinating creatures that call the zoo home.

Attend Animal Feedings and Shows

Enhance your zoo experience by attending animal feedings and shows. From watching the dolphins jump and play during a live presentation to witnessing the power and grace of the big cats during feeding, these events provide an up-close and personal look at the animals and their behaviors. It’s a chance to learn more about their habitats, diets, and conservation efforts.

End your day at Brookfield Zoo on a whimsical note by taking a ride on the carousel. Let the music and colorful lights transport you and your family on a carousel journey through time. With a variety of beautifully crafted animals to choose from, both big and small, this nostalgic experience is sure to bring smiles to the faces of children and adults alike.

Embark on an Adventure at the Adler Planetarium

chicago, adler planetarium, astronomy
If you have little space enthusiasts in your family, a visit to the Adler Planetarium is a must. With its fascinating exhibits and engaging shows, it’s the perfect place to learn about astronomy and space exploration.

Learn About Astronomy and Astrophysics

At the Adler Planetarium, children can embark on a journey through the universe, learning about the stars, planets, and galaxies that make up our vast cosmos. Interactive exhibits allow them to explore the mysteries of space and gain a deeper understanding of the scientific principles behind the celestial bodies that surround us.

Enjoy Planetarium Shows

The planetarium shows at Adler are a mesmerizing experience. Sit back and let the immersive dome theater transport you to distant galaxies, witness the birth and death of stars, and explore the wonders of our solar system. With captivating visuals and informative narration, these shows are a gateway to the wonders of the universe.

Interact with Exhibits on Space Exploration

The Adler Planetarium also offers exhibits that focus on space exploration and the future of space travel. From learning about the history of the space race to discovering the latest advancements in technology, children can engage with hands-on displays that inspire their curiosity and ignite their imagination.

Have a Blast at LEGOLAND Discovery Center

a group of buildings with people walking around
For LEGO enthusiasts of all ages, the LEGOLAND Discovery Center is a dream come true. With its endless opportunities for building and play, it’s the perfect destination for a day of family fun.

Build and Play with LEGO Bricks

At LEGOLAND Discovery Center, children can let their creativity run wild as they build and play with LEGO bricks of all shapes and sizes. From constructing towering structures to designing and racing their own LEGO cars, there’s no limit to the imaginative adventures they can create.

Experience 4D Movies

Step into the LEGO 4D cinema for an immersive movie experience like no other. Watch as your favorite LEGO characters come to life on the big screen, with special effects that make you feel like you’re right in the middle of the action. From wind and rain to swirling bubbles, the 4D experience adds an extra layer of excitement to the movie-watching experience.

Explore Rides and Attractions

LEGOLAND Discovery Center offers a variety of rides and attractions that are sure to delight children and adults alike. Hop aboard the Kingdom Quest laser ride and join the battle against the trolls, embark on a thrilling LEGO Ninjago ride, or take a spin on the Merlin’s Apprentice LEGO-themed flying ride. With something for everyone, it’s a day of adventure that will leave you wanting to come back for more.

Visit the Art Institute of Chicago

For families who appreciate art and culture, a visit to the Art Institute of Chicago is a must. With its extensive collection of famous artwork and interactive programs, it’s a place where creativity and imagination thrive.

View Famous Artwork

The Art Institute of Chicago is home to an impressive collection of artwork from around the world. From iconic masterpieces like Grant Wood’s “American Gothic” to Vincent van Gogh’s “The Bedroom,” children can gaze upon these timeless works and gain a deeper appreciation for the world of art. Take your time exploring the galleries, and don’t hesitate to ask questions or start conversations with the little ones about what they see.

Participate in Family Programs and Workshops

The Art Institute of Chicago offers a variety of family programs and workshops that encourage creativity and engagement with the artworks. From hands-on art-making activities to interactive storytelling sessions, these programs provide a safe and nurturing environment for children to express themselves and develop their artistic skills.

Explore the Thorne Miniature Rooms

Step into the fascinating world of the Thorne Miniature Rooms at the Art Institute of Chicago. These meticulously crafted miniature rooms depict different historical periods and styles of interior design. Children can marvel at the intricate details and imagine the stories that unfold within these tiny worlds. It’s a chance to travel through time and witness the evolution of domestic spaces.


How much time should I allocate for each attraction?

The time you allocate for each attraction depends on your family’s interests and pace. However, a general guideline is to allocate around 2-3 hours for each major attraction like the Shedd Aquarium, the Lincoln Park Zoo, the Museum of Science and Industry, and Brookfield Zoo. For smaller attractions like Navy Pier, Millennium Park, the Skydeck Chicago, the Adler Planetarium, LEGOLAND Discovery Center, and the Art Institute of Chicago, you can allocate approximately 1-2 hours.

Are there any age restrictions for the attractions?

Most of the attractions mentioned are suitable for all ages, including children and adults. However, some attractions, such as the Art Institute of Chicago and the Adler Planetarium, may have exhibits or programs that cater specifically to certain age groups. It’s always a good idea to check the attraction’s website or contact them directly for more information on age restrictions or recommendations.

Are there any discounts or special offers available for these attractions?

Many of these attractions offer various discounts or special offers, especially for families, students, seniors, or military personnel. It’s advisable to check their websites or inquire about any ongoing promotions to make the most of your visit and potentially save some money.

Are there any dining options available at these attractions?

Yes, most of these attractions have dining options available, ranging from casual cafes and snack bars to full-service restaurants. You can grab a quick bite or indulge in a leisurely meal depending on your preferences and the attraction you are visiting. It’s recommended to check the attraction’s website for information on dining options and to plan accordingly.

Is it necessary to book tickets in advance?

While some attractions allow walk-ins, it’s generally advisable to book tickets in advance, especially during peak times or weekends. This helps you avoid long lines and ensures that you secure your preferred time slot. It’s best to check the attraction’s website for ticketing details and to book in advance if possible.

Are there any additional activities or attractions nearby?

Each of these attractions is part of a larger area with many other attractions, parks, restaurants, and shopping centers nearby. Feel free to explore the surrounding areas and make the most of your visit to Chicagoland. Additionally, you can check with the local tourism office for more information on nearby activities and attractions that might complement your itinerary.

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