Are your kids budding gymnasts? Or maybe they’re just constantly bouncing off the walls. Either way, here are 10 fun places for kids to climb around Chicago that will help release some of that pent-up, back-to-school energy.
1 Take on the Treetop Canopy Climbing Adventure at the Pritzker Family Children’s Zoo at Lincoln Park Zoo. Kids can climb through this 20-foot-high wood and fabric tree complete with interactive stations and animal-filled terrariums. 2001 N. Clark St., Chicago, (312) 742-2000.
2 Kids 10 and under of all ability levels can find a place to climb at the DuPage Children’s Museum. In between the AirWorks and Build It areas, there are bridges that kids can safely climb up into and across to see a great view of the museum. 301 N. Washington St., Naperville, (630) 637-8000.
3 Enjoy the sunshine and climb a tree. Tree climbing can be dangerous, though, so be sure to wear safety gear and have an adult carefully supervising at all times. A controlled setting with professional tree climbers leading the activity, such as with the Illinois Arborist Association, is even better, says Joe Engberg from the Care of Trees.
4 Climb Charles Mound, Illinois’s highest natural point. In the far northwest corner of the state, this 1,235-foot mound is private property, so call ahead to see if it’s open for public access before you head out. 688 W. Charles Mound Road, Scales Mound, (815) 845-2625.
5 Have a leisurely day at Dorothy’s Playlot in Oz Park in Chicago. The spacious park has a special play area with equipment to climb and swing on classic Wizard of Oz characters. 2021 N. Burling St., Chicago, (312) 742-7898.
6 Head over to Climb On, an indoor rock climbing gym in Homewood. The climbing wall has the texture of real rock that kids and adults of all skill levels can tackle. 18120 Harwood Ave., Homewood, (708) 798-9994.
7 Climb aboard the tram at the Chicago Botanic Garden in Glencoe when you need a break from trekking through all the beautiful exhibits. The tram gives a shaded, narrated tour of the Garden. 1000 Lake Cook Road, Glencoe, (847) 835-5440.
8 Get the whole family out of the house for some physical activity at the Family Adventure Center at the Lattof YMCA in Des Plaines. There’s a high ropes course and a mountain-climbing simulation wall with classes, family climbs and open climbs to keep you and your kids entertained. 300 E. Northwest Highway, Des Plaines, (847) 296-3376.
9 Check out the Rock River Discovery Park at the Discovery Center Museum in Rockford. Once kids climb onto this interactive playground, they’ll find a ton of educational exhibits including slides, a WaterWorks area, a dinosaur dig and a cave to explore. 711 N. Main St., Rockford, (815) 963-6769.
10 Tackle the climbing schooner at the Chicago Children’s Museum at Navy Pier. The exhibit’s two floors will take kids 5 and older from the deck to the rafters. After a challenging rope ladder climb, kids are rewarded with a cool bird’s-eye view of other museum exhibits. 700 E. Grand Ave. at Navy Pier, Chicago, (312) 527-1000.