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Field Museum of Natural History

1400 S Lake Shore Dr, Chicago, Illinois

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  • Little kids (3-5)
Visited: 2013-12-01 | Submitted: 2014-01-24 17:27:19.0 | I traveled with little kids (3-5)

Dinosaurs Rule!

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This is one of the world's best natural history museums. Its most famous exhibit is "Sue," the largest and most complete Tyrannosaurus rex ever discovered. It is a little bit overpowering for kids. But if you like dinosaurs, this is the place to see them. There are a lot of stuffed animals like elephants, famous lions, mummies, famous jewels and other historic artifacts. The Play Lab was a great place to explore all facets of science from bugs to dinosaurs to music. Riley liked playing with the musical instruments like drums from different cultures.

Tips for Families

Go to the Field Museum website and download the App before you go. It will make your visit that much more enjoyable. www.fieldmuseum.org. Also, consider buying the Chicago City Pass because the Field Museum is included. Open every day but X-mas. Go early because there is so much to see.

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Lincoln Park Zoo

2001 N Clark St, Chicago, Illinois

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  • Little kids (3-5)
Visited: 2013-07-01 | Submitted: 2014-01-24 17:02:43.0 | I traveled with little kids (3-5)

Lions and tigers and bears - oh my!

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The Lincoln Park Zoo is really like three zoos in one. The Children's Zoo has an up-close-and-personal view of the animals that Riley loved, although she got a little nervous around the goats. The Farm-in-the-Zoo is a great place to show kids how a Midwestern farm really works with red barns that house cows, sheep, chickens and horses. Best of all, admission is free and it's open every day of the year. Riley loved riding the carousel. And the train provided a great way to see the zoo layout and where we wanted to go next. We liked watching the egg hatch. And the sea lions are always fun for everyone. We ate at the cafe in the park.

Tips for Families

Depending on when you are there, Lincoln Park Zoo also sponsors evening events for adults. Check out the list of events at lpzoo.org.

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Shedd Aquarium

1200 S Lake Shore Dr, Chicago, Illinois

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  • Little kids (3-5)
Visited: 2013-12-01 | Submitted: 2014-01-24 16:20:13.0 | I traveled with little kids (3-5)

Underwater fun for the whole family

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There are more than a million things to see at the Shedd Aquarium. Their special exhibit for Jellies was so popular, they extended it through 2014. We saw 10 different kinds of species from the clear moon jellies to upside-down jellies. They were just fascinating to watch. Many of the exhibits were interactive, so it proved to be an educational experience, too. Riley loved getting to be close to the sea otters. We saw all kinds of climates like the rain forest and cold temperature waters. And, of course, watching the penguins is always great fun. We also saw the 4-D theater show.

Tips for Families

Get your tickets ahead of time so you won't have to wait in line. http://www.sheddaquarium.org/ticketprices.html or buy the Chicago CityPass. Admission to the Shedd Aquarium is included in this discount booklet.

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Millennium Park

201 E Randolph St, Chicago, Illinois

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  • Little kids (3-5)
Visited: 2013-12-01 | Submitted: 2014-01-24 16:07:18.0 | I traveled with little kids (3-5)

Free ice skating

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This was a great family outing. You can ice skate for free at Millennium Park at the McCormick Tribune ice rink through March 9, 2014, weather permitting. The rink is located on Michigan Avenue between Washington and Madison Streets. Skate rentals are available for $10 and you can skate every day, but Sunday. Check the website for hours: explorechicago.org. We had a ball skating to the music, and then having a steaming cup of hot chocolate at the nearby cafe.

Tips for Families

Try to go early to avoid the crowds. If you have your own skates, bring them.

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Chicago Children's Museum

700 E Grand Ave at Navy Pier, Chicago, Illinois

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  • Little kids (3-5)
Visited: 2013-12-01 | Submitted: 2014-01-24 15:51:36.0 | I traveled with little kids (3-5)

Everybody come and play!

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The Chicago Children's Museum is an ideal place to spend the day, for both kids and adults alike. it has 14 interactive exhibits and new activities everyday. It's educational and fun and let's kids play to their heart's content. Some of the popular exhibits include: BIG Backyard, Skyline, Kids Town, My Museum and the Climbing Schooner. Riley loved the Kids Town, like a mini-Chicago and I couldn't get her away from the Waterways. The weather was really cold, so this was a great indoor day. We'll definitely come back the next time we're in town.

Tips for Families

Start at the top floor and work your way down. Also, check out groupon for a discount.

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American Girl Place

835 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, Illinois

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  • Little kids (3-5)
  • Big kids (6-8)
Visited: 2013-12-01 | Submitted: 2014-01-24 14:54:15.0 | I traveled with little kids (3-5) and big kids (6-8)

It's a Dolls World -- American Girl Place!

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Girls who love the American Girl Dolls collection will adore this experience...shop for clothes. accessories, furniture for all of the different doll characters. Plus, you can enjoy brunch, lunch, tea or dinner. If you bring a doll or buy a new one, be sure to to have her hair styled. And, you can also design a Tee-shirt for both you and your doll to wear. There's also a bookstore to bring the dolls' stories to life. It's like a 3 story doll house. If you want your daughter to be treated like a princess for a day, this is the place to go. One word of caution: this is an expensive outing, so be prepared.

Tips for Families

Be sure to make reservations for a personal shopper. There is no cost and it made navigating the store a little easier.

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Oz Park

2021 N Burling St, Chicago, Illinois

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  • Little kids (3-5)
Visited: 2013-08-01 | Submitted: 2014-01-24 04:22:34.0 | I traveled with little kids (3-5)

There's no place like Oz Park

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Oz Park is a great park in Chicago, near Lincoln Park. The statues from the Wizard of Oz are fun to look at and take pictures with. The Emerald City Garden is beautiful to walk through. Riley loved Dorothy's Play Lot because there were so many places to climb and play. There are 2 huge wooden structures with cubbyholes, bridges, climbing areas, etc. You can swing, hang and be a super hero or pirate.

Tips for Families

Don't miss walking through Dorothy's Gardens.

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Travelodge Hotel Downtown Chicago

65 East Harrison Street, Chicago, Illinois

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  • Little kids (3-5)

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Visited: 2013-07-01 | Submitted: 2014-01-24 04:11:30.0 | I traveled with little kids (3-5)

Ideal location in the South Loop

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If you're looking for a budget hotel in a great location, the Travelodge Hotel Downtown Chicago is the perfect place for families. It offers easy access to the most popular attractions in the area. Our suite had a wet bar, microwave and refrigerator, which made it easy to pick up food on the go and heat it up in our room. Plus, kids 17 and under are free with an adult. It was very convenient to take the bus to the museum campus and up to Michigan Avenue, plus it was just a few blocks from Millennium Park.

Tips for Families

Check out their website for special offers before you book.

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Omni Hotel Chicago

676 North Michigan Avenue, Chicago, Illinois

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KID-FRIENDLY AMENITIES

  • Rollaway beds available
  • Kids stay free
  • Smoke-free property
  • Pet friendly
  • Kids' club
  • On-site restaurant(s)
  • Refrigerator in room
  • Cribs (infant beds) available


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  • Little kids (3-5)

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Visited: 2013-06-01 | Submitted: 2014-01-24 04:01:24.0 | I traveled with little kids (3-5)

Kids get the royal treatment

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This all-suite hotel is ideal for families. With the two rooms, there's enough space for everyone and a little privacy for the adults. When we arrived, they had a special program called the Omni Sensational Kids program and Riley got a special backpack filled with lots of fun things to do. Plus she got milk and cookies delivered to our room on the first night. They also offered us a rolling backpack full of toys, books and games to borrow for the stay. The Omni has a great location on North Michigan Avenue and it was convenient for the American Girl store. Kids also receive milk and cookies delivered to their guest room on the first night and can request to borrow a rolling backpack full of toys, books and games.

Tips for Families

Be sure to ask for a refrigerator so you can keep snacks on hand for the kids.

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Millennium Centre

33 W Ontario St, Chicago, Illinois

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  • Little kids (3-5)
Visited: 2013-07-01 | Submitted: 2014-01-24 03:45:26.0 | I traveled with little kids (3-5)

Day or night, Millennium Park is the place to play

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This urban park is a great place to walk around and see the classic Millennium Monument, beautiful gardens, art and changing exhibitions. Your kids will love splashing around Crown Fountain, which has two 50-foot towers with images of Chicago citizens spitting out water. On a hot day, this is the most refreshing place to be! Cloud Gate, or the Bean as it’s affectionately called, is one of the largest sculptures of its kind in the world. Made of polished stainless steel plates, it reflects Chicago’s beautiful skyline from every angle. Your kids will love going inside and taking pictures of themselves in funny, distorted images. At night, you can picnic on the lawn at Pritzger Pavilion and listen to a concert.

Tips for Families

If it's warm, get wet at Crown Fountain. Time it right, and see what's happening at the Amphitheatre. Don't miss the lush Lurie Garden with colorful, flowering vegetatio

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