We knew it would happen. It does every year. Sometimes years earlier than others. That is, when the temperatures finally drop to freezing and below. When your kids don’t want to go to the park any more (and quite frankly, neither do you!) But what are you going to do with them? How can you help them burn off some of their energy (and thereby, really help yourself!??!!) Luckily, in Chicago we have so many fun and interesting places to take the kiddos and many of them offer “free days!” I’m listing some below:


  1. Shedd Aquarium – 1200 S. Lakeshore Drive, Chicago – Illinois residents free days are: January 17-21, February 1, 4-8, 11-15, 18-22 and 25-28. They’ll also let you reserve tickets – which I recommend, because this place gets BUSY – everyone wants to see those Beluga whales! And one of them is expecting and due in the Summer of 2019!
  2. Peggy Notebart Museum – 2430 N. Cannon Drive, Chicago – Illinois residents can enjoy free admission on Thursdays. Kiddos love the Butterfly Haven and the Dora & Diego exhibit sounds cool (this may be an extra fee.)
  3. Museum of Science and Industry – 5700 S. Lakeshore Drive, Chicago – Illinois resident free days are: January 14-17, 21-24, 28-31, February 4-7, 11-14, 19-21, 25-28  This place is always a fan favorite and there’s never enough time to see everything. My boys always loved the Science Storm exhibit, and I like the Fairy Castle.
  4. Chicago Children’s Museum – Navy Pier, Chicago – Offers Free First Sundays – the first Sunday of every month is free for kids 15 years and under. I loved taking my boys to this place – it was truly fun for all of us! Who doesn’t want to play in water? And the Kids Town area is so creative and unique – and also great for the younger set.
  5. The Field Museum – 1400 S. Lakeshore Drive, Chicago – Illinois residents can go for free EVERY DAY IN FEBRUARY! Also, three words: SUE. IS. BACK. If your kids are into dinosaurs, this is the place to be!

*Remember to bring proof of Illinois residency to qualify for free museum days. Also, some fees may be applicable for special exhibits.


I hope you find this helpful and that you’ll get out with your kids and enjoy all that this amazing city has to offer! If you have a place that you love to take your kids during these cold days of winter, comment below so I can add it to future lists!