I could use help putting…

I could use help putting together a list of cool things to do in the Chicagoland area while Karina is visiting. Mostly, we're likely to have the kids (age almost-2 and just-4) with us, but it's possible that I could dump them with Kevin if need be for a day. We can't spend a lot of money, but we can probably do one or two things that require serious tickets. Suggestions? This is what I have so far:

in Oak Park or nearby:

  • Frank Lloyd Wright home and studio tour
  • Hemingway house
  • Brookfield Zoo (can take small children with!)

in Chicago:

  • Garfield Park Conservatory (can take small children with!)
  • Navy Pier (stained glass museum, chain swing and other rides)
  • architectural boat tour
  • aquarium (can take small children with!)
  • field museum

a couple hours away:

  • Bristol Renaissance Faire (can take small children with?)
  • Six Flags Great America

    One concern is that most of these are outdoors, and outdoors is sadly going to be pretty hot for the next few weeks of her visit. Karina doesn't like hot, neither do I, and the kids hate it; they melt down into miserable crankmonsters very fast. So all suggestions welcome, but particularly cool indoor things!

8 thoughts on “I could use help putting…”

  1. Has she been to Millennium Park? A free evening concert on the lawn would let the kids play and may not be as hot as the afternoon. Also, the kids can run through Crown Fountain and look for bunnies in the Lurie Gardens. The bridge to the Art Institute is fun for kids and has great camera shot views. I hear Thursday evenings are no longer free, sadly.

    We love Michigan Ave and have spent much of our time there with the children. The flowers, the people, the window shopping, just being able to talk and explore. We start at 4th Pres church’s gardens where the kids can roam free and if you turn around once in there, a great view of the Hancock. A visit to the Hancock Observatory (or the restaurant for ice cream and cheap views). A jaunt to Water Tower Place to ride the escalator next to the jumping water fountain then back out across the street to Water Tower Park with the horses and fountain. And Hershey’s (the kids would like that).

    Notice, there is outdoor walking but lots of indoor cooling off.

    The kids, of course, will love visiting the Disney Store, then the Apple Store where they can play with the iPads and iPods.

  2. No specific ideas but just a suggestion to go to places as early in the day as possible then do something cool indoors during the middle of the day. Itlooks like the horrid heat doesn’t really set in until lunchtime.

    Are there any cool swimming places around?

    Try going places in the evening w/ Karina when it is cooler and the kids are in bed?

  3. What about an architectural boat ride? Preferably in the morning before the heat sets in (though I *think* the boats have an indoor space? I can’t remember). I really enjoyed the boat tour there about a decade ago.

  4. Does Navy Pier still have the Children’s Museum, or is my out-of-date info, um, out of date?

    Lincoln Park has the nice zoo on a smaller scale than Brookfield and very close to the North Ave beach, too. All free, except the parking of course.

    If you’re doing several city attractions, there’s that multi-attraction pass that gives discount admissions to things….

    There’s all the little odd museums, for holography (downtown), surgical science (LSD north of Oak St), the historical society (sometimes with concerts), the Cultural Center, and various things in Hyde Park. Is the PEace Museum open at the moment?

    You could also pick up a copy of TimeOut Chicago and a local guide book to help scope things out and plan.

  5. Dupage Childrens museum in Naperville followed by some wine drinking (for the adults, ofcourse) at our house? Not that I am trying to get you to come to Naperville or anything ;-))

  6. Just a heads up: Garfield Park Conservatory had immense amounts of hail/storm damage. A lot of areas were closed off, although they might have reopened by now. But a call first might be a good idea. 🙂

  7. Last I heard, the Garfield Park Conservatory had re-opened some sections, but some are still closed for repair.

    The Bristol Renaissance Faire might be tough for the little ones–it’s a looong drive, and it’s a lot of walking.

    How about the Museum of Science and Industry? There are a lot of exhibits geared toward kids–mine love it. The Planetarium has a lot of cool stuff for kids too, and is usually less crowded than the other museums. Little kids always dig the Aquarium, but if you can, go on a day where there’s paid admission–that place is jam-packed on free days and that’s hard with little kids.

    I also second Simone’s recommendation for Millennium Park. If you do that, bring bathing suits or at least a change of clothes for the kids, because keeping them out of the fountain would just be cruel. 🙂

  8. Check with your local library too for museum passes and such. These usually have decent discounts…

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