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Chicago, Illinois
Family Attractions

Photo Courtesy Chicago Convention & Tourism Bureau

American Girl Place
111 East Chicago Avenue
Chicago, IL 60611
An enchanting concept for little girls and their dolls, On the Magnificent Mile, across the street from the historic Water Tower and overlooking Lake Michigan, is American Girl Place. There children (and parents) can shop for the American Girl dolls : Kaya, Josefina, Kirsten, Addy, Samantha (and her best friend, Nellie), Kit, and Molly. Also, a wide selection of authentic historical clothes, accessories, and even furniture. American Girl café has a long waiting list for birthday celebrations for girls and their dolls, but they report that the experience is worth the wait.

Chicago Children's Museum
700 East Grand Avenue, Chicago
Admission charged.
Hands-on fun is everywhere at the Chicago Children's Museum. Children will marvel at the three-story-tall "Climbing Schooner," a replica of an 1850's sailing ship. They can become inventors in the "Inventing Lab," dedicated to the science of flight. The "Waterways" attraction invites them to suit up in rain gear and try to dam a waterfall. And the many dinosaur lovers will be happy to take the "Dinosaur Expedition" to Niger in West Africa.

Lincoln Park Zoo
2001 N. Clark Street, Chicago
Cost per car to park
The Lincoln Park Zoo is one of the few places in the country that children can observe a handful of rare endangered species, including the Siberian Tiger and Grevy's Zebra, among the zoo's 1,200-animal collection. A large part of the zoo's emphasis is education about preserving these rare and beautiful creatures in the wild, and children will get that message loud and clear. Classes and tours are available, and young ones may especially enjoy the Farm-in-the-Zoo, a kid-friendly "farm" at the zoo's south entrance.

John G. Shedd Aquarium
1200 S. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago
Admission charged.
The Shedd's signature exhibit, the "Oceanarium" replicates the coastline of the Pacific Northwest, and children can marvel at the antics of sea otters and the majesty of whales, dolphins and harbor seals. More than 8,000 aquatic animals make their home at the Shedd, which offers a variety of educational programs.

The Field Museum
1400 S. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago
Admission charged.
The "Life Over Time" area of the museum, explores the weather changes over the course of the earth's history and the development of single- and multi-celled animals. Many "please touch" displays are available.

Navy Pier
600 East Grand Avenue, Chicago
Cost: Free
Home to the Chicago Children's Museum, the Navy Pier offers a long list of other attractions to interest young people. They will be delighted by the sheer size of the 3,000-foot pier and the magnitude of its offerings. A 150-foot Ferris wheel provides thrills and an incredible view of the downtown skyline. Children can lace up a pair of rented ice skates at the ice rink. Older children might enjoy a narrated sightseeing trip on one of the many tour boats. Twice a week in the summertime, a fireworks display explodes over the pier.

Sears Tower
233 S. Wacker Drive, Chicago
Admission charged.
Nothing will make a child feel taller than standing 1,353 feet above the ground. That is the height of the Skydeck at the Sears Tower. If children tire of the view and the historical exhibits, move on to "Knee-High Chicago," a display that's positioned four feet high, just for them. Children should be prepared in advance for the 70-second, 103-story elevator ride so that they can enjoy it thoroughly.

Chicago Botanic Gardens
1000 Lake-Cook Road
Admission charged.
About 25 miles north of downtown Chicago, the 385 acres—including demonstration, research, and conservation gardens—are worth the trek. Accessible via Metra.

Garfield Park Conservatory
300 North Central Park Avenue
Admission and parking are free
The largest public horticultural collection under glass in the world is located four blocks from the Kedzie stop on the Lake Street El or Green line.

Lincoln Park Conservatory
2391 North Stockton Drive
Free admission
Located next to the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago's largest park, this horticultural collection expands into four greenhouses and includes a 50-foot fiddle-leaf rubber tree dating from 1891, .

Lincoln Park Zoo
2150 North Cannon Drive
Free admission
Home to more than 1,000 animals, the zoo includes a children's petting zoo, an interactive environmental learning center, and a primate house.

Oak Park Conservatory
615 Garfield Street
Free admission (Donation accepted)
Visit tropical, fern, and desert greenhouses. Special floral displays are offered in November, December, February, and March.

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