Exploring Chicago with Kids: A Fun-Filled Day

Day 4: Museum of Science and Industry and North Avenue Beach

Our last day in Chicago was a fantastic one. We spent the whole day at the Museum of Science and Industry, exploring all the exhibits and enjoying the hatching chicks and Tesla Coil demonstration. We also had a lovely picnic lunch and were impressed by the Fairy Castle exhibit. In the evening, we headed to North Avenue Beach and enjoyed the beautiful sunset over Lake Michigan while grabbing a quick dinner at Castaways Bar and Grill. Although we didn’t get to do everything we wanted to in Chicago, we had an incredible time and will definitely be back to explore more.

Taking the bus from the Hilton Chicago to the Museum of Science and Industry is a convenient and budget-friendly option. The #6 Jackson Park Express bus stops right in front of the hotel and drops off visitors right at the museum’s entrance. The ride takes about 30 minutes and offers great views of Chicago’s diverse neighborhoods. It’s a great way to get around the city and see more of what Chicago has to offer beyond just the tourist attractions.

The Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago offers several discount programs for visitors. For example, Illinois residents can receive free admission on select weekdays during the school year. Additionally, the museum participates in the Museums for All program, which offers discounted admission to families with Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) cards. Military personnel and their families can also receive free admission through the Blue Star Museums program. It’s always worth checking the museum’s website or calling ahead to see if there are any current discount programs available.

We were sponsored by CityPASS Chicago, a discount program that provides admission to some of the city’s top attractions, including the Museum of Science and Industry, the Field Museum, the Shedd Aquarium, and the Skydeck Chicago. The pass offers significant savings on ticket prices and allows visitors to skip most ticket lines. Additionally, the pass is valid for 9 consecutive days, providing flexibility for travelers to see the attractions at their own pace.

The Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago is a treasure trove of fascinating exhibits that can easily keep you occupied for an entire day. From the giant heart and coal mine to the space exhibit and the U-505 submarine, there is something for everyone. We also got to see a Tesla coil, a farm-to-table exhibit, and a baby chick hatchery, which the kids loved. The museum is a great place to learn, play, and discover, and it is definitely worth visiting if you are in Chicago.

Note: The museum’s special exhibits, such as the underground coal mine and the U-505 submarine, require an additional ticket purchase but offer an even more immersive experience.

We opted to get tickets for the underground coal mine as well as their special exhibition of Lego. The Littles enjoyed both. The Traveling Lego Exhibit is an exciting attraction that features intricate and detailed Lego creations made by skilled builders. The exhibit travels to different museums and venues around the world, showcasing different themes such as Star Wars, Harry Potter, and architecture. Visitors can admire the Lego masterpieces and learn about the art of Lego building through interactive displays and activities. The exhibit also offers the opportunity for visitors to create their own Lego designs and participate in building challenges. It is a must-see for Lego enthusiasts and families with children. Its no longer at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago but you might be able to catch it somewhere else.

Although we didn’t go inside the submarine we did pop into the gallery to learn about the sub and see its outside.

The Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago has an exhibit where visitors can watch chicks hatching from eggs. The exhibit, called “Chick Hatchery,” allows visitors to observe the entire hatching process, from the first crack of the shell to the first steps of the newly hatched chicks. It’s a popular exhibit for families and provides a unique educational opportunity for children to learn about the life cycle of chickens. My dad remembers watching chicks hatch here when he was a child and had told the Littles all about it. They couldn’t wait to check it out. We ended up checking up on the chicks throughout the day and finally saw a few hatch just before we left.

We just kept finding more fascinating things to see at The Museum of Science and Industry like the Fairy Castle. This elaborate dollhouse was created by silent film star Colleen Moore and features incredibly detailed rooms and miniatures. Visitors can admire the intricate architecture, furniture, and decor of the castle’s many rooms, which were designed by some of the most famous architects and interior designers of the time.

The Museum of Science and Industry is a great place to have a picnic lunch. There is a designated area called the “Picnic Spot” where visitors can enjoy their own food. The space is located on the lower level of the museum, near the Rotunda and Henry Crown Space Center. It’s a perfect spot to take a break, refuel and plan your next adventure within the museum. The picnic area has tables and chairs, as well as vending machines in case you need to purchase drinks or snacks. Jeff arrived with Jimmy Johns just in time for an indoor picnic lunch!

Visiting the Tesla Coil at the Museum of Science and Industry is a must-see experience and one our kids couldn’t stop talking about. It is located in the “Science Storms” exhibit, which is dedicated to exploring the science behind natural phenomena like lightning, tornados, and avalanches. The Tesla Coil demonstration is an interactive show that allows visitors to see and hear the electricity being generated. The best part is that you can even participate in the demonstration by standing on a conductive pad and watching the sparks fly from your fingertips!

We didn’t leave the museum till nearly 5 pm. The littles were completely exhausted and we even had a napper on the bus ride home.

Thankfully summer nights are long in Chicago and our friend once again had a great suggestion for a perfect Chicago evening – North Avenue Beach. North Avenue Beach is a popular spot in Chicago for swimming, sunbathing, and water sports. Visiting the beach on a summer evening is a great way to enjoy the beautiful lakefront without the crowds. The kids had a blast playing in the sand and splashing in the water, while we relaxed and enjoyed the stunning view of the Chicago skyline.

Castaways Bar and Grill was a perfect option to grab a quick bite while visiting North Avenue Beach in Chicago. With its picturesque views of Lake Michigan and an extensive menu of food and refreshing drinks, Castaways is the perfect place to relax and unwind after a long day of exploring the city. Whether you’re in the mood for a juicy burger, a crispy pizza, or a fresh salad, you’re sure to find something to satisfy your appetite at this popular beachside eatery.

Our friend knows all the great photo stops, so she made sure we didn’t pass up the chance to get a group photo with the city skyline. If you’re looking for this breathtaking view of the Chicago skyline, a visit to Lincoln Park along the lakefront is a must-do activity. You’ll be able to snap some stunning pictures of the cityscape while enjoying a peaceful walk or bike ride along the lake. There are several vantage points in the park that provide the perfect angle for capturing the Chicago skyline, including the North Pond Nature Sanctuary, which offers a serene natural setting to admire the skyline. Whether you’re an amateur photographer or a seasoned pro, Lincoln Park is a great spot to capture some unforgettable shots of the Windy City.

During our visit to Chicago, we realized there were so many things we didn’t get a chance to do, like visiting the Lincoln Park Zoo, exploring the Chicago City Museum, walking along the Magnificent Mile, and checking out the Children’s Museums. We also didn’t have time to visit the observation deck at the Hancock Tower. All of these places are on our list for next time, and we can’t wait to come back to this vibrant city and explore even more.

I can’t thank Jen enough for all the tips and tricks that made our Chicago visit such a huge success. Miss you, friend!

If you enjoyed reading about our adventures in Chicago, be sure to check out my other posts for more exciting travel ideas and tips!

As a disclosure, I want to mention that CityPASS provided our family with free passes for our trip to Chicago. However, all opinions and experiences shared in our blog posts about the trip are completely our own and have not been influenced by CityPASS or any other third party. We are grateful for the opportunity to use the passes and explore Chicago, and we hope that our readers find our posts helpful in planning their own trips.


Elizabeth is a Type A, Attorney turned Stay-at-Home Mom, who moved her family across the Atlantic for an adventure. She can often be found out and about finding fun things for her littles to do. Elizabeth loves to read, craft and chat with friends. She will try just about anything and loves to share her experiences.

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