There are plenty of fun-filled adventures to take your children on in Chicago. Whether you’re taking a trip to Navy Pier or relaxing along the lake, there are infinite spaces in the city for both adults and kids to enjoy. Here are some of the best spots for family-friendly activities on the north side.
What would a list about Lincoln Park be without the illustrious Lincoln Park Zoo? Located just north of Armitage and west of the lakefront, this massive zoo has mammals, reptiles, and insects from all over the world. The zoo also has programming designed for kids, ensuring they have tailored learning and exploration experiences.
Inside the park, you’ll find the Pritzker Family Children’s Zoo area, which is filled with interactive exhibits and play spaces. The zoo includes an impressive treehouse for kids to explore and the Wild Sapling Play Forest for climbing and crawling through.
Alongside the playground, there’s Lincoln Park’s notable Farm-in-a-Zoo attraction. This area allows for hands-on learning excursions for both kids and adults, showcasing real farm animals and everyday tasks farmers do to keep their companions strong and healthy. It’s a fantastic introduction for children excited to interact with cows, chickens, and goats in a safe, controlled environment.
One of the most family-friendly museums in the city, the Peggy Notebaert Museum has been a cornerstone in the Lincoln Park neighborhood for over 100 years.
There are many exhibits to peruse, but the Judy Istock Butterfly Haven is the most iconic. This 2,700-square-foot greenhouse hosts over 1,000 butterflies of 40 different species that glide through the space freely and majestically. Kids and parents can see these insects up close and personal, providing an unforgettable and educational encounter for any age. The greenhouse also contains immaculate birds from the southern hemisphere and tropical flora unlike anywhere in the midwest.
For the family’s youngest members, the museum has a specifically designed play area for toddlers and young children. This playground recreates outdoor habitats indoors, with life-size bird nests and beaver logs for kids to climb and relax in. There are over 25 activities in this play area, too, including unique touchable, interactive games that teach children about our various ecosystems.
Before the autumn weather gets too cold, take your children to the lakefront for quality outdoor time. Though many beaches in Chicago exist, the beach on North Avenue has some of the best amenities for family-oriented adventures.
While swimming and making sandcastles are expected at the lakefront, you’ll also be able to rent kayaks and paddleboards for optimal fun on the water. Lakeshore Bike N’ Tune is also nearby, providing bike rentals and same-day purchases if you need a more stimulating group activity.
Are your kids into team sports? There are beachfront volleyball nets and equipment rentals, with courts operating for $10 an hour. Even though the summer weather is coming to an end, there’s still plenty to do on the North Avenue shoreline this fall.
If your kids have gone through all the Lincoln Park Zoo exhibits and aren’t tired yet, you can walk just a few hundred feet north until you reach the iconic Lincoln Park Conservatory. Located adjacent to the zoo, this conservatory is perfect for kids of all ages and sizes.
For over 100 years, this humungous greenhouse has hosted thousands of tropical and subtropical plant species from around the globe. Take a stroll through the orchid room and watch your kids admire all the colorful, exuberant flowers on display.
If strolling through exotic landscapes isn’t stimulating enough for your youngins, there’s a playscape located just outside the conservatory. This play space includes slides, swings, and climbable, rocky formations intended to inspire connection with nature.
Chicago’s northside is home to unlimited adventures for kids and their parents. With Lincoln Park’s inimitable zoo and sprawling lakefront, it’s almost impossible to run out of family-friendly activities that’ll satisfy everyone.