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Our winters can be long and cold, so I thought I would share some kid friendly ideas of what Chicago has to offer…
If you follow me on Instagram Stories, then you saw that we got a sneak peak of the Toys R Us Adventure. It’s located right on Michigan Avenue (where TopShop used to be) and is SO MUCH FUN! There are 8 different interactive rooms geared towards kids with lots of hands-on sensory engagement. Elle’s personal favorites included the Melissa & Doug room and the Paw Patrol Room. There is also a gigantic ball pit at the very top. Kids under 3 are FREE and you have to book your ticket in advance here.
2. FIELD MUSEUM
Elle is OBSESSED with dinosaurs and always asks to go to the Field Museum. They have an extensive exhibit and of course SUE. Also over the summer we got to check out their newest bug exhibit called Fantastic Bug Encounters. It was designed by the same set designers as Lord of the Rings and absolutely amazing. They really paid attention to detail and it’s filled with hands-on, interactive activities. If your kids love bugs, then it’s a must.
The Chicago Children’s Museum is located within Navy Pier and offers a bunch of fun + entertainment. It’s open 10AM to 5PM every day and has a FREE family night on Thursdays from 5PM to 8PM. We are currently members here and try to go with friends a few times each month. They also recently opened up a new Mo Willems exhibit that will be there until January.
Elle is obsessed with animals so we try to get down to the zoo as much as we can. There are a lot of indoor options to get a break from the cold and on Wednesday and Saturday mornings they have free music in the barn area with Mr. Singer. They also have ZooLights around the holidays an other fun activities (like this Holiday Market) going on throughout the year.
There are so many kid friendly movies currently coming out so this is always a fun option. Elle is VERY excited about Frozen 2 BTW and we can’t wait to take her. Going to the movies is always an easy morning or afternoon option for your little one when it’s cold outside.
6. WNDR MUSEUM
I’m OBSESSED with this museum. I went to a party recently and saw that they revamped a lot of the rooms. There are a lot of interactive rooms and children are welcomed. I was so impressed that I plan to bring Elle in November. The museum is located in the West Loop and I think you need to buy your tickets in advance.
They have officially opened up the ice skating rink in Millennium Park. My daughter is a little young for this (she is only 2), but it’s a great activity for older kids on a not so cold day. They will have it running until March and even offer lessons.
If your kid loves butterflies and nature then you must check out the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum. It’s located in Lincoln Park and is a great place to venture out to when it’s a cold or rainy day. It’s open every day of the week and is free to Chicago residents on Thursdays. Also it’s nearby the Lincoln Park Conservatory so that’s another warm easy option close by.
The Garfield Park Conservatory is a warm place to escape to on cold days. If your kid loves nature then it’s the place to be. They also have a lot of fun events for littles including Wild Wednesdays and JuiceBox Concerts on Saturdays. It is also all free!
We love The Shedd Aquarium and try to make it out there a few times a year. There are so many different rooms to explore and Elle especially loves the dolphin show. Illinois residents get to go for FREE on certain days specified here.
*BONUS IDEA: HEAD TO THE MALL
We personally love heading to Water Tower Place on super cold days. There are so many kid friendly stores to peruse including the American Girl Store, The Lego Store, Unicorn World, and The Art of Dr. Seuss Gallery (all located on levels 1 and 2). We can honestly make a whole morning of it and then we hit up Foodlife in the basement for lunch. It’s how we survived some of those Polar Vortex days last winter.
So there you have it… 10 cold weather Chicago activities to try out with your kids this winter. Stay warm friends! This is only the beginning and I heard it’s going to be a snowy season 😉 .
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