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Welcome to Great Days!
Between pick-ups, drop-offs, and after-school activities, organizing a family's schedule is one full-time job. Planning for some fun time together shouldn't be another. That's where this book helps out. In creating it, our parent-experts have done all the legwork, so you don't have to. Open to any page and you'll find a great day together already planned out. You can read about the main event, check our age-appropriateness ratings to make sure it's right for your family, pick up some smart tips, and find out where to grab a bite nearby.
How to Save Money
Taking the whole family on an outing can be pricey, but there are ways to save.
Always ask about discounts at ticket booths. we list admission prices only for adults and kids, but an affiliation (and your ID) may get you a break. If you want to support a specific institution, consider buying a family membership up front. Usually these pay for themselves after a couple of visits, and sometimes they come with other good perks -- gift shop and parking discounts, and so on.
Keep an eye peeled for coupons. They'll save you $2 or $3 a head and you can find them everywhere from the supermarket to your pediatrician's office. Combination tickets, sometimes offered by groups of attractions, cost less than if you pay each admission individually.
Try to go on free days. Some attractions let you in at no charge one day a month or one day a week after a certain time.
Most attractions with kid appeal are busy when school is out. Field-trip destinations are sometimes swamped on school days, but these groups tend to leave by early afternoon, so weekdaysafter 2 during the school year can be an excellent time to visit museums, zoos, and aquariums. Outdoors, consider going after a rain -- there's nothing like a downpour to clear away crowds. If you go on a holiday, call ahead -- we list only the usual operating hours.
Take a few sensible precautions. Show your kids how to recognize staff or security people when you arrive. And designate a meeting time and place -- some visible landmark -- in case you become separated. It goes without saying that you should keep a close eye on your children at all times, especially if they are small.
Welcome to Great Days!
Adler Planetarium and Astronomy Museum
American Girl Place
American Police Center and Museum
Art Institute of Chicago
Balzekas Museum of Lithuanian Culture
Bronzeville Children's Museum
Buccaneer Pirate Adventure Cruises
Chicago Botanic Garden
Chicago Children's Museum
Chicago Cultural Center
Chicago Duck Tours
Chicago Historical Society
Chicago Mercantile Exchange
Chicago Music Mart at DePaul Center
Chicago Tribune Freedom Center
Chicago Trolley Co.
Diversey Miniature Golf
Double Decker Bus Tours
DuPage Children's Museum
DuSable Museum of African American History
Ed Debevic's Short Order Deluxe
Eli's Cheesecake World
Field Museum of Natural History
Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio
Garfield Park Conservatory
Grosse Point Lighthouse
Harold Washington Playlot Park
Indian Boundary Park
International Museum of Surgical Science
John G. Shedd Aquarium
Kohl Children's Museum
Lakefront Bike Way
Let's Dress Up
Lifeline Theatre KidSeries
Lincoln Park Zoo
Mexican Fine Arts Center Museum
Mitchell Museum of the American Indian
Museum of Broadcast Communications
Museum of Contemporary Art
Museum of Holography
Museum of Science and Industry
New Maxwell Street Market
North Branch Bicycle Trail
North Park Village Nature Center
Oriental Institute Museum
Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum
Rainbow FallsWater Park
Rosenbaum ARTiFACT Center
Sears Tower Skydeck
Six Flags Great America
Skate on State
Skokie Northshore Sculpture Park
Thomas Hughes Children's Library