Top Ten Tuesday: Best Places for Tots in Chicagoland


I live in the Chicago Suburbs and often find myself searching for places that are “baby friendly” that my little guy would enjoy. Although he’s only 3 1/2 months old, we’ve been to and/or researched the following places that are the best places for babies to visit in the Chicagoland area (in my opinion).

1. Chicago Botanical Garden
We visited this gem last weekend and O had a wonderful time! Not only did he thoroughly enjoy looking at all the vibrant flora and fauna, he loved the hustle and bustle of people admiring the flowers and walking around. This garden is stroller-friendly and even offers kids tours with a staff member! I have a feeling the gardens would be a perfect place for babies and tots to visit in the summertime, too! There’s so much to see and do here! They also offer special programs for youth & families. Location: Glencoe, IL.

2. Lincoln Park Zoo
We are planning a family day trip to the zoo this summer! There’s so much awesome here. From mammals and reptiles to birds and amphibians, your child is sure to love seeing all the critters! They also offer a Conservation Camp for older kids that sounds really fun! The best part? This zoo is open 365 days a year and is completely free *admission! Location: Lincoln Park Neighborhood, Chicago.

We took O to IKEA at around three months old and he had a ball! There were so many fun things to look at. There’s also a place for kids to play while mom & dad shop – Småland! This is for older children aged 4-10 years. Even if your child is younger than 4 years, it’s still a fun place to explore while walking around with baby in the stroller or carrier. O loved the children’s section. We showed him the stuffed animals, finger puppets, night lights, and decor. Just wandering around exploring the store and seeing the shoppers was fun for him! Locations: Bolingbrook and Schaumburg, IL

4. Lapsit Story Time at Chicagoland Public Libraries
We have been thinking of taking O to a lapsit story time at the Shorewood or Joliet Public Library. These two libraries offer a lapsit story time on Tuesdays and Wednesdays for babies 0-30 months old. There are many more Chicagoland libraries which offer programs similar to this. What a great way for baby to listen and learn at the same time!

5. The Museum of Science & Industry
My hubs and I are looking forward to taking O here in a year or two. There are so many wonderful exhibits and interactive things to do with children (and adults!). We visited this ever-popular museum in 2010 and had a blast! Now that we have a child, it’s sure to be even more exiting the 2nd time around! MSI also offers learning labs, educational programs and field trips for youngsters! Definitely plan on spending an entire day here in order to see everything – it’s HUGE! Location: Chicago

6. The Shedd Aquarium
An absolute perfect place to take children of all ages. I would definitely take O here, even at just 3 months old! There are A LOT of different things to see. I have been to this magnificent aquarium at least 10 times in the past 4 years and I have had an amazing experience every time – and now I can’t wait to experience it with my son! Fish, turtles, jellyfish, dolphins, and more! Location: Chicago

7. Dupage Children’s Museum
We are going to visit this awesome museum next week! They offer so many wonderful activities for children of all ages – including infants and toddlers under 2 years! They have a variety of hands-on learning activities including math, building, creating, and art, among others! Location: Naperville

8. Cafe n Play
A friend of mine told me about this fun find for both children and adults. They really were using their noggins when they thought this up – moms and dads can sit and sip coffee and eat snacks while the kiddos play! It’s really a win/win. The price is reasonable, too. Newborns are always FREE, crawlers are $5 and children are $8.50 per visit. They also offer punch passes and playdate group discounts! Location: Naperville

9. 2Toots Train Whistle Grill
We have heard so many wonderful things about this kid-friendly restaurant. When O is old enough to eat solids, we plan to take him here for the awesome experience. In all honesty, I think I might have a little bit too much fun there! Ha! They serve all-American cafe food on an actual train going around the restaurant – how cool is THAT? Location: Downers Grove

10. Bubbles Academy
This is a really neat place because it offers different classes based on the age of your child. There are several classes available for babies, including swimming, music and a class specially designed for new mommies!  They also offer specific classes for crawlers, walkers, children aged 2-3 and aged 2-5! The best part? Adult classes are available, too! It is a bit pricey, but for everything you’ll be getting it really is worth it! Locations: Chicago and Lake Forest

*Parking at the Lincoln Park Zoo ranges from $20 to $35 per car.

As O grows and we explore the area, there’ll be many more posts about activities and things to do with your child(ren) in the Chicagoland area. Have a Happy Tuesday! -themidwestmama


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