Top Places to Take Your Grandchildren in Chicago
Looking for things to do in Chicago with your grandkids? Well then, we’ve got good news for you. The list of Chicago kids’ activities could run for miles. From visiting animals at the zoo, to exploring the planetarium and discovering one of Chicago’s largest backyards—these activities will keep everyone in your family entertained.
Plus, if you’re in the market—we have a few over 55 communities in the Chicago area that are worth the exploration. So you can paint the town red with your grandkids whenever you want.
A 35-acre zoo located in the charming neighborhood of Lincoln Park—this zoo was founded in 1868, making it the fourth oldest zoo in North America. It’s also home to nearly 200 unique species from around the world—from critically endangered eastern black rhinoceroses to thought-to-be-extinct Jamaican iguanas. Plus you’ll find more than 2,000 individual plants, representing 1,200+ species and 49-acres of landscape, including hydrangeas and 100-year-old oak trees. The best thing about this Chicago attraction? It’s totally free.
Make a visit to the top three museums in Chicago, all in one day. Museum Campus is a 57-acre museum park that sits near Lake Michigan and surrounds three of the city's most notable museums, all dedicated to the natural sciences. These museums include the Shedd Aquarium, the Adler Planetarium, and the Field Museum of Natural History.
Start at the Shedd Aquarium, an indoor public aquarium that first opened on May 30, 1930. A 5-million US gallon aquarium, it holds about 32,000 animals including a permanent saltwater fish collection. Next, head over to the Adler Planetarium. Dedicated to the study of astronomy and astrophysics, it was founded in 1930 by Chicago business leader Max Adler and was the first planetarium ever built in the United States. It was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1987.
Inside the museum, you’ll find three full-size theaters, extensive space science exhibitions, the Gemini 12 Space Capsule, and a significant collection of antique scientific instruments and print materials. In addition, the Adler is also home to the Doane Observatory, one of the only research-active, public urban observatories.
Finish off your visit to Museum Campus at the Field Museum of Natural History—one of the largest museums of its kind in the world. Inside you’ll find extensive specimen and artifact collections, permanent exhibitions of fossils, studies of cultures from around the world, plus interactive programming demonstrating today's urgent conservation needs.
A public park composed of 319 acres, it’s no wonder why so many call Grant Park Chicago’s “front yard.” Located in Chicago’s central business district, casually referred to as the Loop –Grant Park’s most sought-after spotlights include Millennium Park, Buckingham Fountain, and the Art Institute of Chicago. It’s also conveniently located near Museum Campus.
Within the park, you can find regular performances, artwork, and sports activities. If you plan your visit in advance, it’s worth checking the calendar. You’ll likely find a number of scheduled events, some of which could be great Chicago kids’ activities.
Does anyone fancy a tea party? We couldn’t write a list of Chicago attractions for kids without at least mentioning this one. Probably because it was a childhood fantasy of one particular writer we both know. But this place is legit if you’re the sort of person who likes dolls. Here, you can book tea parties, salon visits, and even interactive classes—and they all include the participation of your American Girl doll.
Looking for over 55 communities in Chicago that make all of these things to do in Chicago a possibility? Consider Briargate, located in Lindenhurst. Liberty Green, located in Bolingbrook. Or Trillium Farm, located in Winfield. Within these communities, you’ll find unique amenities and opportunities to stay active, all conveniently located near golf courses, shopping, and dining options.
Give your grandchildren the tour of their life with these top Chicago attractions for kids. And maybe, just maybe, find the right over 55 community for you that puts all of Chicago at your fingertips.
Contributed to The 55+ Society
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