Best indoor amusement parks in Chicago and the suburbs


No matter what the weather, you can walk the midway at a number of area indoor amusement parks. We visited each one and put them to the test for you. Grab some cotton candy and keep the specter of summer alive at one of these fun destinations.


Grizzly Jack’s Grand Bear Resort & Indoor Waterpark

Kids will love: Older kids love the darkened atmosphere and loud piped-in rock music.

Adults will love: The space has a comfortable restaurant and bar. The Enchanted Forest Friday Family Fun Pack is a great deal.

Other features: Rock climbing wall, Euro Bungee Trampoline, indoor zip line, super slide, ropes course and kiddie play zone. A true midway feel with lots of electric bulbs lighting up the darkened interior. Video and ticket redemption games.

Food options: Full service restaurant serving pizzas, sandwiches and appetizers.

Admission/attraction price: Call for rates.


Safari Land Indoor Amusement Park

Kids will love: Tiger Terror is the largest indoor roller coaster in Illinois that climbs almost to the ceiling with stomach-flopping drops. My sons loved that they had a “real” Tilt-a-Whirl.

Adults will love: Atlantis Restaurant is tasty and comfortable, situated right at the front door, a great check-in point for the kids.

Mechanical rides: Tiger Terror roller coaster, Snake Pit bumper cars, Safari Speedway go-karts, Tilt-a-Whirl, MaxFlight flight simulator, mini carousel.

Other features: Animal theme offers good photo ops outside and inside. Bowling alley and pool tables, soft play area for young children. Rides are all restricted by height so take a look around to see what your children will be able to do before buying tickets or wristbands. Tons of video and ticket redemption games.

Food options: Atlantis Restaurant includes amusement park staples plus appetizers, salads, homemade pizza, spaghetti and chicken parmesan. All very reasonably priced.

Admission/attraction price: Individual rides cost between $1.50 (carousel) and $5 (flight simulator) per ride. Best bet is a wristband for $15 (non-holiday Monday-Friday) or $20 (weekends and holidays).


Go Bananas

Kids will love: The Python Pit Roller Coaster is transformed into "The Dark Jungle Experience." During certain times each hour, riders will experience the thrill of riding in total darkness.

Adults will love: Go Bananas maintains a family atmosphere with its rule, "No one under 13 is allowed in without an adult; no one over 13 is allowed in without a little kid." Also, it's an Internet hot-spot.

Mechanical rides: JJ's Driving School bumper cars, Yak Attack & Python Pit roller coasters, Jungle Junction train ride and Banana Squadron "flying" ride.

Other features: Four-story soft playground, which is completely free. Video and redemption games. Highway 66 bowling lanes.

Food options: All the midway standards plus salads, sandwiches and wraps. Premium ice cream in a variety of flavors makes for a great treat.

Admission/attraction price: Ride tickets can be purchased for $1.25 each, 10 for $8.49 and 20 for $12.99. Rides are one to three tickets each. Unlimited ride, all-day wristbands are $13.99 ($8.99 for children under 36 inches tall). Discount coupons are available on the website, which can reduce the cost of a wristband to $7.99 ($4.99 under 36 inches) Monday-Thursday. By joining the Banana Bunch, families can receive coupons valid on Friday and Sunday. Parents ride free with their kids.


Legoland Discovery Center

Kids will love: The Technicyle offers a real challenge since kids need to pedal faster to go higher.

Adults will love: While Dragon Quest does not offer the climbs and dips, the LEGO creations, which also move, are a real marvel. Café is also a play area.

Mechanical rides: Dragon Quest roller coaster, Technicycle LEGO TECHNIC flying ride.

Other Features: The real draw is the LEGO immersion. Kids can experiment and build with all different types, visit the LEGO Factory or work with a LEGO Master Builder.

Food options: Second floor café with pizza, hot dogs, sandwiches and salads.

Admission/attraction price: Standard admission is $19 for adults and $15 for children. See its website for offers such as the afternoon ticket for $12. Admission includes unlimited access to rides and attractions.


Odessey Fun World: Tinley Park and Naperville

Kids will love: The two-story wheel in Tinley Park offers a bird’s eye view of the whole location.

Adults will love: Deals and coupons found on its website that make it affordable fun.

Mechanical rides: Naperville features The Frog Hopper wild bounce ride, Dizzy Clown (spinning cars that elevate), bumper cars and the FX Simulator. Tinley Park features The Himalaya roller coaster, Ferris wheel and bumper cars.

Other Features: Exploration Adventure four-story play structure, laser tag and paintball (Naperville only).

Food options: Chipper’s Café offers kids’ favorites and value meals. Save room for Eli’s Cheesecake.

Admission/attraction price: All rides are designed for children and adults, and each ride is $3. Unlimited wristband: $8 (Tinley Park); $9 (Naperville).

Locations in Tinley Park and Naperville.

Related: 9 Best indoor play places in Chicago

We Chicagoans have to put up with a lot. Freezing spring days, rainy summer days, windy fall days and let's not even talk about winter. Thankfully, there are loads of indoor playgrounds throughout the city for those times when a day at the park just won't cut it.

We visited every single one with a 17-month-old girl so you could simply use our guide to figure out the best one for your itty bitty.

Read more

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