The best family memberships in Chicago

I am what you could say, a half-assed planner.

I like flexibility. I like to be able to change plans plans if need be. I keep a calendar, I do meal planning for the week, and I occasionally make plans a couple weeks in advance.

However, I am old enough to know now that the weather doesn’t always cooperate, sometimes the supermarket is out of what I want to make for dinner and sometimes kids get sick.

So maybe it isn’t that I am a half-assed planner, but I am realistic about the plans I have made knowing that they cannot always be followed to the letter.

Which is why this summer, I have decided to make some loose plans by taking advantage of memberships. Rather than schedule several days filled with different activities that might get foiled by rain, heat, crankiness or anything else, memberships offer just the flexibility we need.

Memberships also allow us to visit as many times as we like throughout the year and allow us to really experience everything a certain location has to offer.

Here are some great places with family memberships that I am thinking about.

Brookfield Zoo

This zoo offers so many animals, activities and things to see. It is a perfect for place for a membership as there is something new to see each time you visit. Also, with both indoor and outdoor space available, it’s perfect for summer and those days when you need to cool down.

Morton Arboretum

This 1,700-acre space is an adventure every visit. With winding paths, trails, a nature center and children’s garden, there is so much to see and do. Located in Lisle, it is the perfect way to spend a summer day.

Shedd Aquarium

This membership is for the animal lover in your house, but also for when you want to play it safe with the weather too. Who knew you could fit so much aquatic life under one roof? Also, it’s conveniently located next to the Field Museum of Natural History and the Adler Planetarium (which also have memberships), so you might want to make a day of it each time you come.

Museum of Science and Industry

My kids have loved every visit we have made to MSI, but we feel like we never have enough time to see everything we want to see. A membership here would be fantastic so that we could stop in each week and see something different, and NO ONE would get bored. Not even Mom.

The Children’s Museum in Oak Lawn

My kids adore this museum’s water area and tree house area, and for that alone I think it would be worth joining. Located at 5100 Museum Dr. in Oak Lawn, this museum has two levels of fun for kids of any age.

KidWorks Children’s Museum

This small children’s museum, located in downtown Frankfort, is perfect for when it’s too hot to play outside or for those rainy days. It offers plenty of activities on its own, such as a faux dinosaur dig and stage for your little ones to play pretend, but also has special activities planned each Friday.

White Water Canyon Water Park

Located in Tinley Park, this pool would be the perfect place to cool down on a hot summer day. With plenty of water activities to do, it would be enough to keep the kids giggling and laughing all afternoon.

Now, I just have to decide which of these places to join. What would be your top pick?

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