The Art Institute of Chicago

Located on the lower half of Chi-Town’s Magnificent Mile, you can’t miss The Art Institute with its two, huge marble lions that guard its doors (they wear wreaths at Christmas). The renowned musuem’s regular collection includes exhibts such as Arms and Armor, Amerindian, and Textiles, and it also has fascinating changing exhibitions. As much a trip through history as it is through art, you and your children will be fascinated by what you see while you’re there.

Contact number: (312) 443-3600

Location: 111 South Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL 60603

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Shedd Aquarium

A jewel in the museum crown (that also includes Adler Planetarium and The Field Museum) on Lake Shore Drive, Shedd Aquarium is among the largest indoor aquariums in the world. With fascinating exhibits like Wild Reef and Amazon Rising to add to its almost endless maze of marine life, your young Jacques Cousteau will learn a lot at Shedd. Highly recommended is splurging a little and attending the fascinating dolphin show. Not only will you be entertained, but the facilites are breathtaking, with a view of Lake Michigan in the background.

Contact number: (312) 939-2438

Location: 1200 South Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, IL 60605

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Museum of Contemporary Art

Housed in a building by architect Josef Paul Kleihues of Germany (the first building he designed in the nation), MCA is home to an impressive collection of art created between 1945 and the present. Current exhibitions include names such as Murakami and the late LeWitt. Visit with children interested in up-to-the-minute art; you can spend a day appreciating contemporary works, strolling through the sculpture garden, or dining on a highly architectured meal at Puck’s Restaurant inside.


Contact number: (312) 280-2660

Location:220 East Chicago Avenue, Chicago, IL 60611

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Museum of Science and Industry

The Museum of Science and Industry is one of the world’s most exciting museums. When you visit, you and your children will learn a lot, but you’ll also have a lot of fun. The children will talk about the Fairy Castle for weeks to come, little tykes will adore the Pioneer Zephyr, and boys and girls will go ga-ga for the Coal Mine. Adding to the fun, there is much science-learning, especially in the Prenatal Development exhibit (displaying preserved embryos and prenatal babies), and the giant, walk-through human heart.

Contact number: (773) 684-1414

Location: South Lake Shore Drive and East 57th Street, Chicago, IL 60637

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Chicago Children’s Museum

Located on the already action-packed Navy Pier, Chicago Children’s Museum is going to be an easy sell to your children. Younger tots will adore the Climbing Schooner, toddlers will love Treehouse Trails and everybody will love Dinosaur Expedition. But the museum isn’t all games. The museum makes fun a learning experience, leaving you with the biggest smile of all.

Contact number: (312) 527-1000

Location:700 East Grand Avenue, Chicago, IL 60611

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American Indian Center of Chicago

If your children know little else about American Indians than what they’ve seen in old Westerns and TV ads, a trip to this cultural center is definitely in order. The American Indian Center of Chicago strives to preserve cultural, traditional, and community bonds for all Americans through compelling art exhibits, workshops, and of course, authentic pow-wows. Visit the medicinal garden and learn about the various healing herbs and plants native Americans were using long before there were pharmacies.

Contact number:  (773) 275-5871

Location:1630 West Wilson Avenue, Chicago, IL 60640

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Field Museum

You don’t really know Chicago until you’ve met Field Museum resident Sue. The oldest unearthed skeleton of a T.rex, Sue (who’s originally from South Dakota) greets all visitors to the museum at its front door. From there, you and your children will walk through its fascinating halls of wisdom and wonder that include exhibits on geology, human history, anthropology, and botany. Kids will especially love the exhibits Inside Ancient Egypt, Underground Adventure (where they learn what it’s like to live like a bug), and Evolving Planet (in the dinosaur hall).

Contact number:  (312) 922-9410

Location:1400 South Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, IL 60605

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Adler Planetarium

Explore the mysteries of the skies and stars with your children at the Adler Planetarium. Located on the shore of Lake Michigan (conveniently next to The Field Museum), it’s an exciting way to spend an afternoon learning together. For visitors of all ages, the Planetarium offers education and entertainment from The Zula Patrol (for youngsters) to the Egyptian Nights Sky Theater Show. Perfect for the budding Galileo in your clan, it also offers a variety of interesting programs, like Family Week and Far Out Fridays.


Contact number: (312) 922-7827

Location:1300 South Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, IL 60605

Learn more here.