Best Chicago art museums for kids


Art Institute of Chicago

Parents will love:The chance to expose kids to fine art. The Art Institute has been in our city for more than 130 years, and it's considered one of the country's finest. With 27 exhibitions ranging from architecture to armor, from India to France, and from Impressionism to cutting-edge Modern, there's sure to be something to catch your child's interest.

Kids will love: The free Ryan Education Center offers drop-in studios for kids to test their creativity, often tied into one of the exhibitions on display. The Family Room is a chance for parents and kids to think about what they've learned and put it into practice. And the Told and Retold rotating exhibit takes favorite picture books and invites kids to try their hand at drawing with directives like "Draw your pet" or "What's your favorite toy?"

Don't miss: Tucked in the basement are the Thorne Rooms, 68 miniature dioramas that show how interiors in America and Europe have changed over the past 600 years or so. It might not sound all that interesting, but boys and girls alike are intrigued by the perfectly sized-for-them details, including a step that allows them to peer in a bit more easily.

While you're there: The Art Institute is right in the middle of the city, so there's lots to see and do without pushing little feet to the max. Head across Monroe Street to Millennium Park, where kids can check out their reflection in the Bean, or just get their wiggles out. And don't leave without a stop by the museum's famous lions.


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