There are a ton of free or cheap kid-friendly attractions in Chicagoland that the entire family will enjoy. If you’re in need of some inspiration for your next family outing, we’ve got some ideas for you to consider.
Located at 2001 N. Clark St., Lincoln Park Zoo is home to a wide range of exotic animals and activities. You can enjoy this family-friendly attraction from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. most days, and it is completely free 365 days out of the year. While visiting, you can enjoy a gift shop, restaurants, great views of the city, and sing-a-longs with Mr. Singer if you visit on Wednesday or Friday.
The Field Museum of Natural History explores science and history, providing the whole family with an experience that is as educational as it is fun. Located at 1400 S. Lake Shore Drive, The Field Museum is open 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. seven days a week and 364 days out of the year (it’s closed Christmas Day). Aside from offering great discounts to Illinois residents, the museum also provides free admission to residents on select days.
The Museum of Science and Industry (commonly referred to as MSI), located in Jackson Park, is another family-friendly attraction. You will find no limit of things to do, from the domed wraparound movie theater to the interactive exhibits. This museum, dedicated to inspiring curiosity and innovation, is located at 5700 S. Lake Shore Drive and is open from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. every day of the week. If you’re an Illinois resident, you can get in for free on select days.
You will be submerged in underwater wonder from all around the world when you visit Shedd Aquarium at 1200 S. Lake Shore Drive. This indoor aquarium holds around 32,000 animals and is open from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. during the week (9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday). If you visit on a select day, you can even visit for free. You’ll just have to provide your Illinois ID as proof of residency.
Located at 1852 W. 19th St. in the Pilsen neighborhood is the National Museum of Mexican Art, a free exhibit featuring representations of Chicano, Latino, and Mexican art and culture. This 10,000-piece collection explores the progression of Mexican creativity for 3,000 years and is a great educational experience for every member of the family. After exploring the museum, visit the gift shop that has often been said to be an exhibit of its own. The National Museum of Mexican Art is open from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday.
Free admission and family events are always available at the Garfield Park Conservatory, located at 300 N. Central Park Ave. While there, you can celebrate nature by exploring various biomes and plant species. There is even a special room in the conservatory dedicated to children, allowing them to play among the vines, flowers, and leaves as they learn. You can visit the conservatory 365 days a year. The hours of operation vary by day, but it’s always at least open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Right off of Lake Michigan at 337 E. Randolph St. in Grant Park is Maggie Daley Park. This 20-acre, completely free public park will change your perception of public parks forever. Whether you partake in the climbing walls, miniature golf, play areas, ice skating, or tennis courts, you and your family will find a fun experience that you can share together. The park is open from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. 365 days a year.
Explore this 2,500 square-foot toy store at 1112 W. Madison St., and you will surely be entertained for hours. Cat & Mouse: Games, Books, and Toys is a family-run shop that hosts tons of free events, such as Pokemon lessons, craft hours, story times, and game nights. The store hours vary by day, but you can usually visit any time between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays.
Located in Wheaton at 1N600 County Farm Road is Kline Creek Farm, a living history farm that simulates life in the 1890s. You and the whole family can take part in 19th-century farm activities, like ice cutting, sheep shearing, harvesting, planting, canning, and baking. Aside from holidays, the farm is open Thursday through Monday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m, and you can tour the farmhouse from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The visit to Kline Creek is free, but there is a suggested donation of $5 per person.
If you’re willing to stay up a little late, you can visit the Dearborn Observatory for free on Friday nights for a chance to use their 18.5-inch refracting telescope. Located at 2131 Tech Drive in Evanston, the observatory hosts tours led by students who are majoring in physics and astronomy at Northwestern. You can make a reservation for between 8 and 9 p.m. or take your chances as a walk-in from 9 to 10 p.m.
Every first and third Friday and Saturday of the month, the city of Chicago hosts Juicebox programs at the Chicago Cultural Center and the Garfield Park Conservatory. These programs are geared toward younger children, encouraging them to dance, move, and interact with performers through educational and artistic presentations. Admission to these attractions is completely free and takes place from 11 to 11:45 a.m.
Wildwood Nature Center is located in Park Ridge at 529 Forestview Ave. This 5-acre facility is completely free to visit and is home to a variety of animals, such as prairie dogs and iguanas. You can interact with animals, enjoy nature walks, and participate in workshops and classes during your visit. The center is open Tuesday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
If you’re looking for fun attractions that the whole family will enjoy, there is no shortage in the Chicagoland area. At Dahme Mechanical Industries, we have loved living and serving this area for over 50 years. Contact us today to make an appointment for your next plumbing project.