After researching some Chicago attractions, I realized the Windy City would be perfect for our family vacation. Not only are there tons of museums and cultural events, but Chicago is more affordable than other big cities, and has ample public transportation, which is not only good for the environment, but also on the pocketbook.
We don't have a children's museum where we live, so this was one of the first places we travelled. My three-year-old loved the "Move" exhibit, which allows children (and adults!) to move large, brightly-colored plastic pieces together to form playscapes. The "Dinosaur Expedition" exhibit has a life-sized suchomimus skeleton and an "excavation pit" where kids can dig for fossils and learn about tyrannosaurus rex. This was a big hit with my older kids, as they are both obsessed with dinosaurs, and my youngest really enjoyed digging in the dirt and finding "treasures."
After exploring the children's museum, which is located at Navy Pier, we headed to Pier Park. My children had never been on a Ferris wheel, and the Navy Pier Ferris Wheel, which is a replica of the original Ferris wheel that debuted at Chicago's 1893 World's Columbian Exposition, was an adventure for them. My seven-year-old rode with me, and was both terrified and amazed at the same time, particularly when we were at the top looking down at the rest of the family. Riding the Musical Carousel reminded me of my childhood, and it was a hit with all of my kids.
Even though the majority of our vacation was spent visiting kid-friendly spots, my husband and I chose to have one day dedicated to more adult venues. Accordingly, we spent an afternoon at Columbia College Chicago's Museum of Contemporary Photography. Our Origins was the featured exhibition, and was comprised of students' photographs, videos, drawings and sculptures that delved into human attempts to find the meaning of life. Some of the pieces were a little risqué, but we have always taught our children about the importance of art, especially art that challenges you or makes you feel uncomfortable in some way, so it wasn't that big of a deal.
There were many other places we visited during our stay: the Field Museum Chicago, the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry, Adler Planetarium, and Shedd Aquarium, just to name a few. We spent the entire week exploring Chicago and all it has to offer, and I feel as if we didn't even scratch the surface! I am already planning our next vacation to Chicago, and I look forward to getting to know this city better.
About the author: Holly Watson is a stay at home wife and mother of three. She enjoys writing, traveling and yoga. You can follow her daily mantras on www.eatbreatheblog.com.