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The Best Places In Chicago To Bring The Kids

By Staff in Arts & Entertainment on Aug 7, 2013 8:20PM

Let's be honest here: try as parents may, not every place is great to take the kids. When some parents insist on bringing their toddlers for a marathon session of watching college football over all-you-can-eat chicken wings or taking baby to his first Lollapalooza, we can understand why they do it and why the people around them silently judge.

We're not against family units doing things together. Ultimately, some common sense must prevail until such time when the kiddies get older and are able to behave in public. So we've put together a list of places that are friendly for both children and parents.

The Museum of Contemporary Art. (Photo credit: Greg Wass)

Museum of Contemporary Art
While I have had great visits to the usual kid-friendly museums in the city (Museum of Science and Industry, Field Museum, Shedd Aquarium), the times I have spent with my boys at the Museum of Contemporary Art have been the most rewarding for everyone in the family. I am always surprised at how their usual nanosecond attention spans seem to slow as we look at the different pieces. My boys take time to look at the pieces and ask lots of questions. Some exhibits, like the current "Home Field Play" piece by Alberto Aguilar, are interactive and fun. Yes, there are the pieces that are a little PG-13, but you can speed them up past them if you feel they aren't ready for some of the subject matter. —Paul Leddy

Museum of Contemporary Art is located at 220 E. Chicago Ave.

Vie Restaurant Sunday Suppers
The fact that Vie restaurant is less than 10 miles from our house has made living in the western suburbs a little more palatable. The fact that they open their doors one Sunday a month for a family-oriented "Sunday Supper" made us fall head over heels in love with them. Adults can enjoy Chef Paul Virant's farm-to-table menu (while also enjoying cocktails created by Bill Anderson). Children can enjoy kid-friendly dinners (chicken tenders and grilled cheese, for example). My kids are infuriatingly picky eaters, but they eat everything off their plates when they eat at Vie. —Paul Leddy

Vie is located at 4471 Lawn Ave. in Western Springs.

Photo credit: Jill M

Old Town School of Folk Music's Wiggleworms Program
Since 1985, this early childhood music program by Old Town School of Folk Music has expanded to include classes in their Lincoln Square and Lincoln Park locations, satellite classes throughout the city and suburbs, and an outreach partnership in Lawndale. Wiggleworms provides over 2,000 infants and toddlers with their first experiences with music, including learning story songs, dance, finger plays and rhythm instruments while discovering world, folk, pop, rock and original children's music. —Chuck Sudo

Click here for a full list of the Old Town School of Folk Music's Wiggleworms classes and locations.

Brookfield and Lincoln Park Zoos
What isn't there to love about bringing the kids to commune with the animal kingdom. Lincoln Park Zoo's Farm in the Zoo gives children in the city a first taste of life in the country with demonstrations, interactive learning stations and the popular goat station. the exhibit's edible garden teaches children the basics of the origins of food. Brookfield Zoo's outreach for children includes classes year-round and and camps during the summer. —Chuck Sudo

Brookfield Zoo is located at 8400 W. 31st St. in Brookfield. Lincoln Park Zoo is located at 2001 N. Clark St.

Robot City Workshop (Photo credit: a href="">Seth Anderson)

Robot City Workshop
When raising two young boys, there are a few things that are guarantees. One, no matter how much you try to discourage them, they will never stop wrestling with each other. Two, they will always find the words "butt" and "penis" hilarious and will use it in daily conversation. Lastly, boys will have some innate love of all things mechanical. A visit to the Robot City Workshop is a walk in heaven for my boys. There are robots and mechanical objects of all shapes and sizes to buy and explore in the store. For the adventurous, there are robot construction kits to put together at home. For the future robot inventors, they have camps and workshops designed for kids. —Paul Leddy

Robot City Workshop is located at 3226 N. Sheffield Ave.

Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum

It's only a short walk from Lincoln Park Zoo to the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum and the walk is worth every step. In addition to tiring your kids out, enjoy one of the city's most popular butterfly sanctuaries and learn about the ecosystem. The museum's children and family programming allows for interaction and education in a fun and encouraging environment. —Chuck Sudo

Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum is located at 2430 N. Cannon Drive.