Boy oh boy it’s cold outside but if you’re looking for Kid Friendly Things to Do in Chicago in the Winter 2013 then have I got a list for you! There’s no reason to stay couped up all winter long with all the fun stuff going on. So bundle up and head out to one of these fun places. This list is full of free things to do in Chicago, free museum days, theater showings, holiday events and more!
3 Things to do While Schools are on “Snow Break!”
1) Legoland Discovery Center.
Today you you can get LegoLand Discovery Center discount tickets from Goldstar. LEGOLAND Discovery Center discount tickets to start at just $10.00.
2) This week we got to check out the Kohl Children’s Museum in Glenview Illinois and had a great time! As it’s sooooooooooooo cold in Chicago they’re offering a great deal for you all. Don’t fret if your school is closed, head to the children’s museum with this Buy One Get One Free(ze) promotion. During the next few days to avoid cabin fever, they’re offering a temporary Buy On Get One Free admission promotion from now through Wednesday. Guests can access the coupon on the Museum’s Web site to grab the Kohl Children’s Museum Discount.
3) Pump It Up Chicago
Snowshoeing at the Botanical Gardens is Free and looks like a blast! The only downside is you have to bring your own snowshoes.
FREE Conservatory Explorers program on Wednesday Evenings (October through April) at the Garfield Conservatory from 4:00 pm – 7:00 pm. Location: Elizabeth Morse Genius Children’s Garden. The air is chilly outside, but inside the Conservatory it’s summer all year long! Join us Wednesday evenings during the cooler months to wander and wonder through the lush tropical collection.
FREE Plant Party Play Dates at the Garfield Conservatory on Saturdays & Sundays through April. Time: 11:00 am – 4:00 pm. Location: Elizabeth Morse Genius Children’s Garden. Each weekend we cook up projects that get kids and families wondering about the plants and the natural world. Come visit over the weekend to get a dose of the tropics and keep your kids connected to nature throughout Chicago’s colder months.
Free Polar Adventure Days at NORTHERLY ISLAND on January 25 and February 22 from Noon – 4 p.m. Families can enjoy winter activities and explore Northerly Island and come face-to-face with live animals, engage in winter activities, and create nature-inspired crafts. Dress for the weather as events take place both outdoors
20,000 twinkling lights and spectacular displays transform Cosley Zoo in Wheaton, IL into a fairy tale winter wonderland through December 30. Lights are on from 3pm daily until the zoo closes at 9pm. Visit the animals and purchase a cup of hot chocolate, your tree, wreath, and holiday gifts. Admission is FREE during the Festival of Lights and Tree Sales.
Holiday Festival Of Lights in Aurora, IL are an amazing display of lights.
Free caroling at Cloud Gate on Fridays between 6 – 6.50pm. Celebrate the holidays in Millennium Park, when Caroling at Cloud Gate returns on Friday evenings through December 20, 2013 during the holiday season.
The Zoolights at the Lincoln Park Zoo are one of my family’s favorite traditions and this year we saw them setting up for it which included giant snowglobes with Isaac’s favorite Star Wars characters inside!
Places to go Sledding in Chicago
Caldwell Woods: 6200 W Devon Ave, Chicago, (800) 870-3666
Decent size hill, a nice warming center and warm bathrooms.
Cricket Hill at Montrose Harbor: 601 W. Montrose Drive, Chicago, (312) 742-7726
This is the hill with a view, right on the lakefront. No restrooms or warming spots nearby.
Dan Ryan Woods: Dan Ryan Woods 87th and Western Ave., Chicago, (800) 870-3666
A not-too-steep slope perfect for little kids.
Erie Park: 630 N. Kingsbury St., Chicago, (312) 742-7895
Great for little ones.
Gompers Park: 4222 W. Foster Ave., Chicago, (773) 685-3270
There’s a field house at the park, but the hours vary and it’s not open on Sundays.
Mount Hoy: Blackwell Forest Preserve, Warrenville, (630) 871-6422
This is a great hill if the snow is deeper as they’ve got somewhere to tube. Open Saturdays and Sundays for some tubing fun down a 800 foot run. Only the Forest Preserve District inner tubes are permitted on Mount Hoy and are $5 per tube per day.
Oz Park: 2021 N. Burling St., Chicago, (312) 742-7898
Great place to sled and plenty of shops and spots nearby to warm up.
Villa Olivia: 1401 W. Lake Street, Bartlett, (630) 540-4199
At Villa Olivia, kids can go snowboarding, snow tubing and even downhill ski.
Warren Park: 6601 N. Western Ave, Chicago, (773) 262-6314
This is great for older kids or more adventurous types. plus they have an ice skating rink. The hill is open into the evening hours, and there’s a cozy warming house and restrooms by the ice rink.
Things to Do During Winter Break
Photo Credit – The Christmas Game
An improvised holiday comedy treat just for kids, pH Productions presents pHiggy Pudding. Kids in the audience pick the special holiday-themed story at the start of the show, and the friendly storyteller/narrator character stops the totally silly Yuletide adventure along the way to get more suggestions from the youngsters in the crowd. Discount tickets from Goldstar
The Little Gym offers Winter Wonderland Camps during the break between class sessions. Kids can sign up for any combination of days that fits your holiday schedule. For ages 3 and up, bathroom independent. December 23, 26, 27, 30, 31 and January 2 and 3. 9am – 12pm and 1pm – 4pm. Pricing is cumulative for the 2 weeks: 1 day $50, 2 days $90, 3 days $125, 4 days, $155, 5 days $180, 6 days $205, and 7 days $230.
Winter Break Camps through the Chicago Park District cost from $25+
Visit the Wonderland Express at the Chicago Botanic Gardens. Wonderland Express appeals to everyone: kids love the trains (and the indoor snow), adults love the city sites and sights, and everybody loves the lights! Tickets are around $10.
See Llama Llama at the Apollo Theater for around $15.
The Oakton Community Center and the Exploritorium are transformed into a miniature Times Square, complete with a DJ and a balloon drop for New Year’s Eve. The perfect way to spend New Year’s Eve with the kids, the Skokie Park District’s “Itty Bitty New Year” kicks off at 10 a.m. and ends at noon, with balloon artists, family entertainment, crafts, Exploritorium play, games, prizes and a balloon drop at 12:00 Noon. Tuesday, December 31, at 4701 Oakton St. For a list of activities, call (847) 674-1500, ext. 2700.
Ring in the New Year with your whole family at Medieval Times with discount tickets from Goldstar We took Isaac (5) and Chase (2) to this a while ago and it was a HUGE hit!
Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer is playing at the Broadway Playhouse on 175 East Chestnut Street Chicago and you can get tickets for around $23 from Goldstar.
Holly Jolly Holidays at Legoland on 31st December 2013 from 10:00 am – 7:00 pm. Warm even the grinchiest of hearts this holiday season during Holly Jolly Holidays! Throughout the month of December yule have a jolly good time playing special seasonal games and decking the halls with loads of brick-tastic holiday fun!
Christkindlmarket – The Christmas Market is a lively and bustling village of stalls in which more than two million come to enjoy the holiday spirit and sample German food and traditions. We attend this every year and every year it’s cold but oh so worth it! Enjoy music during the day.
Christmas Around The World – We love the trees at The Museum of Science and Industry! In this special exhibition, you’ll see how nations around the world celebrate this unique time of year.
City Hall Concerts – Young voices will fill the City Hall lobby with holiday sounds this season! Get into the holiday spirit while listening to the classics sung by children’s choirs throughout the city.
Winter Wonder Fest at Navy Pier - Several special events are available. Admission to Winter WonderFest is free. An Activity Wristband purchase is required to participate in rides and attractions within the event. There are two wristband types: Premium (includes Chicago Blackhawks indoor ice skating with skate rental) and Regular (excludes Chicago Blackhawks indoor ice skating).
Holiday Thorne Rooms at the Art Institute. The Thorne Miniature Rooms take center stage this holiday season. These period rooms feature specially made holiday finery that showcases historical traditions and seasonal festivities of the past.