Best places to play around Chicago

We'll make you a deal: If you promise to put down the smartphones and tablets, we promise we've got something even more fun than the next level of Candy Crush. Yes, we swear! You told us your favorite places to play around Chicago, and none of them involved a touchscreen and a couch. Check out these great playgrounds, indoor play places, animal encounters and other ways to explore nature.
 
 

Best playground in Chicago: 31st Street beach and playground

This beach is pure Chicago fun. With a new harbor, beach with concessions and restrooms and a handicapped-accessible park, there's a little something for everyone. Plus, in addition to great views of the city, visitors will love the public art display of 18 trees painted in vibrant hues along the lakefront.

 
 

Other great places to get your game on

  • Miss Lori's Play Group
  • Adams Park
  • Little Beans Cafe
  • Portage Park
 
 

Best place in Chicago to let your kids run wild: Pump It Up

Crazy, wild, in-the-air fun makes Pump It Up just the place for kids to let out their inner jumping bean. Kids can bounce, slide, climb and jump on the oversized inflatables. Even better, many locations have special areas set aside just for toddlers, so no chance of accidents with bigger jumpers.

 
 

Best place in Chicago to let your kids run wild: Finalists

  • FireZone
  • Goldfish Swim School
  • Ball Factory
  • Windy City Fieldhouse
 
 

Best place around Chicago to wear out your kids: FireZone and Windy City Fieldhouse (tie)

Firefighters have exhausting jobs, so it's only fitting this spot for the kiddie set gets them ready for naptime. The Schaumburg play place has fire trucks and ambulances to explore, a house for practicing rescue techniques and a craft area. Plus, drop-ins include a lesson on fire safety - fun and educational!

 

Windy City Fieldhouse in Logan Square was simply made for kids. With eight multi-purpose courts, a kid can play to their heart's content and still not run out of room. It even offers open gym times and fun mini-camps for days when kids aren't in school. Score.

 
 

Best place around Chicago to wear out your kids: Finalists

  • KeyLime Cove
  • Elite Kids
  • Goldfish Swim School
 
 

Best place for families to explore nature around Chicago: Starved Rock State Park

Illinois is nothing but flat? Wrong, wrong, wrong. Starved Rock is filled with canyons, waterfalls and trails that take you back to when the Native Americans lived here. This historic park offers some of the best views you'll see only 90 minutes from Chicago.

 
 

Best place for families to explore nature around Chicago: Finalists

  • Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum
  • The Morton Arboretum
  • Illinois Forest Preserves
  • Taltree Arboretum & Gardens
 
 

Best place around Chicago to act like a kid: Chicago Children's Museum

What other spot in the city has an actual "Play Manifesto"? It's no wonder, since this place is perfect for kids of all ages - whether they're fishing in Treasure Trails or building in the Tinkering Lab. Temporary exhibits rotate through to guarantee no two visits are ever the same.

 
 

Best place around Chicago to act like a kid: Finalists

  • WhirlyBall
  • Six Flags Great America
  • Children's Museum in Oak Lawn
  • Windy City Fieldhouse
 
 

Best place around Chicago to see animals: Brookfield Zoo

We expect to see lions and tigers and bears (oh my!) when we visit any zoo. But what about bald eagles, roadrunners (yes, they're real!) or lowland tapirs? Head to Brookfield Zoo to introduce your kids to these lesser known species and maybe you'll leave with an aspiring zoologist or conservationist.

 
 

Best place around Chicago to see animals: Finalists

  • Lincoln Park Zoo
  • Shedd Aquarium
  • Lambs Farm
  • Randall Oaks Barnyard Zoo
 
 

Best place around Chicago for kids who love trains: Illinois Railway Museum

With nearly 400 pieces of railway equipment, this is the spot to show some locomotive love. Kids can learn the history of Chicago's train culture, take a ride on a streetcar or restored train, and pose for pics throughout the open-air museum. Be sure to check the website for some train-tastic events.

 
 

Best place around Chicago for kids who love trains: Finalists

  • 2 Toots Train Whistle Grill
  • DuPage Children's Museum, second floor
  • Riding the El around the Loop
  • Ogilvie Transportation Center
 
 
 





 
 
 
Copyright 2014 Wednesday Journal Inc. All rights reserved. Chicago web development by liQuidprint