5 Things to Know: Chicago with Kids

Chicago is such an awesome city to visit: full of history, world-class museums, shopping, fun dining options and kid-friendly attractions. If you are thinking ahead to spring break or summer vacation, Chicago is definitely a place to keep on the list of musts for family trips. I have visited Chicago at least a dozen times over the years. Some trips were for business, some for a girls' only weekend, a few have been a one-day up and back Chicago day trip and, of course, the family vacation.
I have listed 5 top kid attractions that are great fun for the entire family and are sure to be a highlight of your Chicago vacation.

1) Shedd Aquarium- One of the finest aquariums in the country, the backdrop for the Shedd is Lake Michigan. Take a trip to the Amazon, Carribean, and the Artic all in one afternoon. An awesome aquatic show complete with dolphins will top off a fun afternoon. My daughter thought it was so cool to actually see beluga whales up close and personal.
http://www.sheddaquarium.org/

2) Take a Trolley Tour of Chicago- This tour will give the most bang for your buck, traveling all over the downtown area. Get all kinds of Chicago information while enjoying easy and low stress transportation to the top attractions, dining and shopping areas. My kids love riding on the top of the double decker buses for the best views, that is just the ultimate in fun for young ones and will keep their attention while the adults can listen to the tour narration. We purchase a 3-day ticket for unlimited on and off transportation. This ticket also included some Chicago neighborhood tours, taking in the sights of Chinatown, Wrigley Field and the Lincoln Park area.
http://www.coachusa.com/chicagotrolley/

3) Navy Pier - Kids will love Navy Pier! Between the gigantic ferris wheel, carousel, Chicago Children's Museum, 18-hole miniature golf course, lots of fun restaurants and old-fashioned swing ride, you could spend at least half a day or more just hanging out at the pier. It will also give you some perfect picture taking opportunities with the beautiful Lake Michigan as the backdrop.
 http://www.navypier.com/

4) Museum of Science and Industry-This museum is the largest of its kind in the Western Hemisphere and is filled to the brim with exciting exhibits that kids will love. Space exploration, a World War II sub to explore, trains, fairy castles, coal mines, streets of yesteryear and the human body are just a few of the areas to explore in this huge museum.
 http://www.msichicago.org/
The Museum of Science and Industry is listed in the ASTC program so if you have a reciprocal membership you will be able to get free or reduced admission to this attraction. http://travelingkidsonthego.blogspot.com/2012/09/astc-passport-program.html

5) Take a Boat Ride- I love boating on the Chicago River and Lake Michigan. There are many options when considering what type of boat ride to take with kids. A Lake Michigan shoreline cruise, Chicago River architectural tour or a combination of the two are the main options for boat rides. Any of the options will give your kids a bird's eye view of the skyline, buildings and excitement of the city with a little historical education thrown in for good measure.
The following website will list comparisons of the various boat tours in the city:
http://www.chicagotraveler.com/boat_tours.htm

For a comparison of the two main Chicago discount cards that will allow you to visit many attractions at much lower prices, visit:
http://www.chicagotraveler.com/chicago-attractions-card-comparison.htm
Many of the attractions are listed on the discount cards.

The attractions above are just a few of the kid-approved Chicago attractions. Chicago is a a great city to explore with your children!

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