Making Education at Your Destination: Five Brain-Friendly Activities for Your Chicago Family Vacation

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When planning a vacation with the kids, parents tend to get a lot of resistance when suggesting educational activities for the trip. In the culture-heavy and fun-filled city of Chicago, both parents and children can finally find something to agree on by choosing educational venues that offer so much interactive fun that kids won’t even realize they’re learning in the process. The Windy City is filled with opportunities for entertainment and education for both children and adults, and the following list of top five brain-friendly activities ensures you’ll come home a smarter and happier family.

1. Chicago Children’s Museum

After a day of fun experiencing the rides, games and delicious eateries at Chicago’s Navy Pier, you can make a quick stop at the conveniently located Chicago Children’s Museum. The museum holds the title of the fourth largest children’s museum in the entire country and attracts more than 650,000 visitors every year. If you’re looking for special Chicago events, the Circus Zirkus exhibit has received national media attention with its engaging big top experience that allows kids to be both the stars of the show and the folks behind the scenes.

2. Adler Planetarium & Astronomy Museum

Kids of all ages can discover the mysteries of space in an environment light years more engaging than their school astronomy classes. The Adler Planetarium is the first and oldest planetarium in the Western Hemisphere, and features enough shows, exhibits, daily activities and special events to keep the whole family engaged for a full day of educational fun. A new “Welcome to the Universe” show lets viewers travel a billion light years and back to get a high-definition view of the universe that surrounds us. Be sure to take advantage of endless scheduled events, including meteor shower parties and astronomy lectures.

3. The University of Chicago

The kids may be a little too young to attend (unless you have a prodigy on your hands), but that doesn’t mean the whole family can’t take advantage of the many educational events and opportunities offered by the Windy City’s most prestigious university. The university has events planned for virtually every day of the year, ranging from painting classes and webinars to guest speakers and classical music concerts. No matter what activity you choose, being in the environment of the university will instill the value of higher education early in your children’s lives.

4. Chicago Cultural Center

Where else would you go for some good old-fashioned culture and entertainment than the Chicago Cultural Center? With its breathtaking architecture and reputable free public events, the center draws in hundreds of thousands of visitors each year to take part in enriching entertainment experiences. The building features two intricate stained-glass domes and holds multiple educational events throughout the year, including film showings, lectures, art exhibitions, family events, dance shows, theater productions, musical performances and other exciting goings-on.

5. Chicago Public Library

Teach kids about the adventure of reading at the Chicago Public Library, which always has plenty of special events planned that focus on increasing interest in the written word. From book clubs to arts and crafts to puppet shows for junior readers, the library is sure to make reading more interactive and engaging for kids who may have a hard time detaching themselves from their prized electronics. Take a few titles for the road to extend your children’s education beyond the library doors, while enjoying the added benefit of a quieter car ride.

Teaching your children to gravitate toward educational activities is an excellent value to instill early in life that will benefit them as they grow older. Although theme parks and arcades can be fun, these activities should be properly balanced with educational events to ensure a fully enriching experience. Who knows? With the excitement and interactivity of these brain-nourishing activities, your kids might even be tricked into thinking learning is fun.

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