fun things to do with kids in chicago   Travel for Kids
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Chicago - Museum Campus

  Field Museum – The Field Museum is a “must see” for your visit with kids to Chicago. In the main hall is 67 million year old Sue, a humongous Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton (what big teeth you have) – the African elephants next to her look shrimpy by comparison. Upstairs, watch people at work on real fossils in the fossil prep lab, and see dinosaurs and wooly mammoths in the Evolving Planet exhibit.
     

The cultural exhibits are also outstanding. "Inside Ancient Egypt," start upstairs in a reconstructed Egyptian tomb, lined with painted stone reliefs, follow the tunnels downstairs, to see mummies, a pharoah's woooden boat, re-created Egyptian village (and be sure to try out the Egyptian bed, not very comfortable).

    In other galleries, explore the ancient Americas and Plains Indians, cultures and peoples of Africa, and don't miss the incredible totem poles of the Arctic and Northwest.
   

Crown Family Play Lab – This section of the museum has younger children totally in mind (ages 2-6), where kids can dig up dinosaur bones and play with dino egg puppets, grind and cook corn meal, play musical instruments from all over the world, dress up in costumes of animals native to Illinois, and more hands on activities.

     

Tip: Use Chicago CityPass and no waiting in long ticket lines.

   

Children's Garden – Across from the Field Museum (south side E. McFetridge Dr.) is a play area for kids, with grass to run around, spiffy climbing structure, benches, globes to turn.

   

Shedd Aquarium – Our favorite marine mammals in the Shedd Aquarium are white beluga whales, playing underwater in the Oceanarium.

    Little kids will have fun watching Magellanic and Rockhopper penguins, and playing on a slide in the Polar Play Area.
shedd aquarium play video
    Wild Reef has colorful tropical fish and corals from the Philippines, and check out unusual Amazon creatures, anacondas, arapaima, piranhas in Amazon Rising.
    May to October is an outdoor stingray touch pool. Check the schedule for daily dolphin and whale shows, and feeding of sharks, belugas, sea lions and penguins.
    For a local experience, in At Home on the Great Lakes exhibit, don't miss the touch pool – kids can touch lake sturgeons!
    Tip: Use Chicago CityPass and no waiting in long ticket lines.
      West of the aquarium on the lake is a boat landing for the Shoreline water taxi. From here, it's fun to the water taxi up to Navy Pier in the summer months (an expensive ride on the lake).
   

Adler Planetarium – In the theater, there are shows that are out of this world (space, the stars and night skies), plus a Zulu Patrol show for younger kids. Star gazers will want to come at night (first Friday of the month) for telescope viewing of the night sky. And there’s a wealth of exhibits, about galaxies and our solar system.

      Outside the Planetarium, walk out by the water, and look back to the west. There are great views of the skyline, you can see how the Willis Tower is just so much taller than all the other skyscrapers.
      12th Street Beach - To the south of the planetarium is a nice sandy beach, good for playing in the sand and wading in the warm weather.
kids books
     
A Dinosaur Named Sue - kids books Chicago  
A Dinosaur Named Sue
Fay Robinson, The Field Museum

Kids can read for themselves about Sue, the gigantic Tyrannosaurus rex you’ll see at the Field Museum – how she was discovered, preserved and re-assembled in the museum. (Easy reader)

 

     
Uncover a T. Rex
Dennis Schatz

Combination three-dimensional model and book, each page reveals Tyrannosaurus rex, layer by layer – skeletal system (what were those tiny arms used for?), lungs and heart, two stomachs, nervous system and muscles. (Picture book)

 

 
Uncover a T. Rex
     
 

All about dinosaurs, from Allosaurus to T. rex, with 25 different activities to do – make "mummified" skin, swim like a Pleisosaur, create your own fossils, walk like a quadruped, and more. Good for older kids. (Picture book)

 

More children's books on other Chicago pages
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