Chicago is the perfect destination for a family spring break. Spend the day exploring the amazing Museum Campus, home to The Field Museum, Shedd Aquarium and Adler Planetarium. Take an outdoor adventure at Navy Pier and Millennium Park Campus. And immerse yourself in the wonders of science at the Museum of Science and Industry, where more than 800 interactive exhibits await.


Mummies at the Field Museum

Unlock the secrets of natural history at The Field Museum. You'll be greeted by Máximo, the largest dinosaur fossil ever to be discovered, from his home in Stanley Field Hall. Then head upstairs to meet, SUE, the world's most complete T.rex skeleton. In the Evolving Planet exhibit, you’ll find the museum’s impressive dinosaur hall, with a vast collection of dinosaurs depicted in their natural environments. And don't miss the Inside Ancient Egypt exhibit: Walk through a 5,000-year-old tomb, see one of the largest collections of mummies in the United States, and wander through an Egyptian marketplace.


Shedd Aquarium

The Shedd is home to more than 32,000 aquatic animals, but the stars of the show are the beluga whales and Pacific white-sided dolphins housed in the Shedd’s stunning Abbott Oceanarium that overlooks Lake Michigan. In the underwater viewing gallery, watch the torpedo-like dolphins zip through the water and come face-to-face with a beluga whale. At the Polar Play Zone, kids can dress up as a penguin or play scientist and explore ice caves. Visit the Wild Reef, a recreation of a coral reef in the Philippines, housing menacing sharks, stingrays and live coral. The Caribbean Reef is a long-time favorite, where a diver feeds sharks, sea turtles and moray eels while talking to visitors. And don’t miss the 4-D Experience, where you’ll get up close to the action on the big screen.


Copy of Planet Nine

Explore infinity and beyond at the dazzling Adler Planetarium. Catch a show in the state-of-the-art sky theater, where you’ll zoom off into space to explore planets, swirling galaxies and brilliant stars. Check out the Mission Moon exhibit, where you can launch a stomp rocket, get a peek inside the Gemini 12 spacecraft, and experience America’s first steps on the moon through the eyes of NASA astronaut Jim Lovell. Touch an actual moon rock and examine a meteorite that crashed to earth in the Our Solar System exhibit. Kids love to play in the Community Design Lab, where they can conduct science experiments with unusual supplies like marshmallows and bubble wrap. Little ones love Planet Explorers, where they can operate the controls in a two-story rocket and man the Space Station.


Shoreline Sightseeing at Navy Pier

Navy Pier is one of Chicago’s most popular family attractions. Reach for the sky on the Centennial Wheel, riding in temperature-controlled gondolas that soar 200 feet up in the air with Instagram-worthy views of the Chicago lakefront and skyline. This spring, the new Fifth Third Bank Family Pavilion welcomes guests to Navy Pier with a myriad of local artisans. At the Chicago Children's Museum, kids can do everything from commanding a castle to climbing the rope rigging of a schooner. Catch the latest flicks on the massive 3D screen at the AMC Navy Pier IMAX. Or take a Lake Michigan boat tour with the architecture-focused Shoreline Sightseeing or on a Seadog Cruises thrill ride. At the interactive Polk Bros Park, see free outdoor cultural performances on the Lake Stage and City Stage. Wrap up your day at Pier Park, where the kids will have a blast on the whimsical carousel, climbing walls, Centennial Wheel and more.


Maggie Daley Park Chicago

Let the kids run free at downtown’s beautiful Maggie Daley Park. The fun Play Garden features suspension bridges, tube slides and a big ship to explore. Older kids can tackle the 40-foot-tall Climbing Wall or putt along the 18-hole Mini Golf course through Chicago-themed obstacles like a six-foot-tall Willis Tower. In warm weather, the curvy Skating Ribbon becomes a walking and rollerblading path (in-line skate rentals are available). Millennium Park is right next door, where larger-than-life public art includes the multimedia Crown Fountain (kids love to splash around in its cascading water walls) and the reflective Cloud Gate sculpture, affectionately known as “The Bean,” which is a favorite backdrop for the ultimate Chicago selfie. Next, head over to the renowned Art Institute of Chicago, which offers family programs and art workshops.


Museum of Science and Industry Chicago

Spend the afternoon exploring the mammoth Museum of Science and Industry, the largest science museum in the Western Hemisphere. Nearly all of the 800+ exhibits here are hands-on, including a real U-505 German submarine that you can walk through, an underground Coal Mineand Science Storms, which explores the physics of natural phenomena like tornadoes, tsunamis and avalanches. There’s also the Giant Dome Theater for kicking back and watching a movie.


Copy of Lincoln Park Zoo

Chicago’s scenic lakefront Lincoln Park is a favorite spot for families. Animals lovers will want to spend the afternoon at the free Lincoln Park Zoo, where they can spy polar bears, lions, monkeys and more. Pet farm animals at the charming Farm-in-the-Zoo. Nearby is the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, where kids are encouraged to connect with nature through interactive exhibits. One of the most popular is the Judy Istock Butterfly Haven, where the colorful winged creatures often land on delighted little ones. Don't miss the Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool, a hidden gem tucked away next to the zoo.

Featured Partners

More Family Fun
Chicago Family Outdoor Adventures
From kayaking to rock climbing, you’ll find...
7 Navy Pier Musts for Families
Follow this quick hit list of Navy Pier...
Chicago Family Fun 5 Ways
Ready to clock in some playtime? Here’s five...
Family-Friendly Holiday Things to Do
Planning a Chicago family vacation this holiday...