New Summer Attractions Chicago Families Will Love

Get ready for the best summer ever with these new experiences.

School’s out for summer! If you’re like us, you might be planning ahead to make sure your summer is filled with museum visits, outdoor events and plenty of fun. Luckily, many local institutions are providing us with some brand-new attractions to enjoy this summer.

From reimagined rides at Six Flags Great America to a brand-new art museum in town, summer 2022 will be one to remember. Looking for more fun things to do with kids? Check out our summer family guide!

DC Universe at Six Flags Great America

Now open

Guests can immerse themselves inside a DC comic book-inspired world featuring three reimagined attractions, including The Flash: Vertical Velocity, a high-speed launch coaster; Aquaman Splashdown, a winding flume ride with a watery plunge and DC Super-Villains Swing, a spinning attraction that twirls guests in a 360-degree orbit.

Meet the Green Anaconda at the Shedd Aquarium

Now open

A green anaconda (Eunectes murinus) is the newest arrival at Shedd’s Amazon Rising exhibit and is an impressive sight at 10 feet and 7 inches in length. Guests can come face-to-face with the green anaconda, which is considered the one of the largest snakes in the world.

Color Factory at Willis Tower

Now open

This permanent art museum has found a new home in Chicago. Explore 25,000 square feet of colorful rooms designed by artists with photo opportunities, treats, experiences and more. Kids will love the green ball pit at the end! 

Butterflies! At Brookfield Zoo

Now open

  • Address:3300 Golf Road, Brookfield
  • Cost: $4 for adults, $3 for children ages 3-11

Brookfield Zoo’s Butterflies! is reopening for the first time since 2019. Zoogoers can once again explore the outdoor garden and surround themselves with a variety of butterfly species, including painted ladies, monarchs, zebra longwings and swallowtails.

Native Truths: Our Voices, Our Stories at the Field Museum

Now open

Connect with diverse Native stories and the individuals who share them through words, music, dance, and art. Dive deeply into current issues, like threats to Native land and the rights of tribal nations to govern themselves. Celebrate the thriving, modern cultures of today’s Native communities while understanding the historical significance of items in the Field’s collection.

Butterfly Tent at Kohl Children’s Museum

Now open Tuesday-Sunday through Sept. 4

Wander through an outdoor butterfly tent and observe native Illinois butterfly behavior. Displays of butterfly eggs, caterpillars, and chrysalises also available. The tent will close in case of rain or heat index more than 90 degrees.

Alebrijes: Creatures of a Dream World at Cantigny Park

Through Oct. 30, 2022

This outdoor exhibit allows you to learn more about alebrijes, the mythical animals inspired by the Mexican folklore. Families can walk around to find nearly 50 alebrijes installations created by Mexico City artists.

Ghost Army: The Combat Con Artists of World War II at Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center

Through Jan. 2, 2023

Ghost Army: The Combat Con Artists of World War II tells the heroic tale of the top-secret U.S. Army’s 23rd Headquarters Special Troops, known as the “Ghost Army,” and their covert operations across Europe that helped win the war. Featured artifacts include artwork, uniforms, and inflatable tanks and planes that educate visitors on these unlikely heroes.

Eat Your Heart Out: Iconic Chicagoland Foods at Elmhurst History Museum

Opens June 27

The exhibit serves up the history of some of the classic Chicago food. Learn about the origins of deep dish pizza, Chicago-style hot dogs, Italian beef, and other iconic Chicagoland eats with integrative components for the kiddos!

Garden Nouveau at Garfield Park Conservatory

Opens July 6

This seasonal exhibit is an homage to the Art Nouveau movement. Art Nouveau was influenced by the emerging science of botany and the shape and movement of nature. Garden Nouveau will showcase many of the flowers Élisabeth Sonrel, an artist known for magnificent posters and watercolors, painted such as lilies, roses, hydrangeas and oleanders.

Museum of Ice Cream

Opens July 16

July 16 is National Ice Cream Day, and we can think of no better way to celebrate than with the opening of the Museum of Ice Cream! Strike a pose — this museum is jam packed with instagrammable moments!

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Chicago Parent Editorial Team
Chicago Parent Editorial Team
Since 1984, the Chicago Parent editorial team is trained to be the go-to source for Chicagoland families, offering a rich blend of expert advice, compelling stories, and the top local activities for kids. Renowned for their award-winning content, the team of editors and writers are dedicated to enriching family life by connecting parents with the finest resources and experiences our community has to offer.
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