Family vacations in Illinois can be rewarding experiences or absolute disasters — it all depends on pre-trip homework. To make planning easier, we've done all the preparation. As part of a Huffington Post Travel series on traveling with children, here are recommended attractions for those planning Illinois family vacations.
Address: 600 E. Grand Ave., Chicago, IL 60611 Phone: 312- 595-PIER or 800-595-PIER Hours: Sunday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to midnight; closed Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day; summer, fall, winter and spring hours vary slightly, call or check the website for details Price: Admission to the Pier is free, but there are fees for many of the pier's attractions
Museum of Science and Industry
Address: 57th Street and Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, IL 60637 Phone: 773-684-1414 Hours: Open 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily; closed Christmas day Price: Adults, $15 (Chicago residents, $13); seniors, $14 (Chicago residents, $12); children, $10 (Chicago residents, $9)
Legoland Discovery Center
Address: 601 N. Martingale Road, Schaumburg, IL 60173 Phone: 847-592-9700 Hours: Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. with final entry at 5 p.m.; Friday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. with final entry at 6 p.m. Price: Adults, $19; children, $15; children age 2 and under, free
Lincoln Park Zoo
Lincoln Park Zoo is close to downtown Chicago, open daily and free to visitors. A few attractions inside the zoo have extra costs attached, such as the Endangered Species Carousel for $2.75 and the Kids Express Train for $2.50. But the family can see gorillas, lions, tigers, bears, giraffes and other animals at no charge.
Address: 2001 N. Clark St., Chicago, IL 60614 Phone: 312-742-2000 Hours: Open November through March, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; April to May, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Memorial Day to Labor Day (May 29 to September 6), 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays; 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. weekends; September to October, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Price: Free
Chicago Architecture Foundation
The Chicago Architecture Foundation offers boat tours on the Chicago River, as well as walking and bus tours. Visitors can learn about different architectural styles, then hear the fascinating stories behind some of Chicago's most historic buildings.
Address: 224 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL 60604 Phone: 312-922-3432 Hours: Shop & Tour Center: Sunday through Thursday, 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.; closed New Year’s Day, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day Price: Tour prices vary; call or check the foundation's website for details
Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum
Address: Museum: 212 N. Sixth St., Springfield, IL 62701, Library: 112 N. Sixth St., Springfield, IL 62701 Phone: 800-610-2094 or 217-782-5764 Hours: Public and research hours: Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; exhibit viewing only: Saturday and Sunday Price: Adults, $12; seniors 62 plus, $9; children 5 to 15, $6; military (ID required), $7; students (ID required), $9; children under 5 and members, free
Museum Campus: Shedd Aquarium, Adler Planetarium, Field Museum of Natural History and Soldier Field
Visitors can easily spend a whole day at the Museum Campus in Chicago, which encompasses the Shedd Aquarium, Adler Planetarium, Field Museum of Natural History and Soldier Field, which is home to the Chicago Bears football team. Mom and Dad won't be able to tear the dinosaur lovers away from Sue, the 42-foot-long T. Rex skeleton at the Field. The Adler offers stars, planets and deep space shows, and the Shedd showcases marine life of all kind — from penguins to whales and sharks.
Address: 1300-1400 S. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, IL 60605 Phone: Field Museum: 312-992-9410; Adler Planetarium: 312-922-7827; Soldier Field: 312- 235-7000; Shedd Aquarium: 312- 939-2438 Hours: Adler Planetarium: Weekdays 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Weekends from 10 a.m.to 5 p.m. The Field Museum: Open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. year-round, except Christmas Day. Shedd Aquarium: Open May 30 through June 30, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; July 1 through September 5, 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Price: Each museum has separate admission price lists; see individual websites for details
Have you been to Illinois? What are your favorite attractions?
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