It’s been a hard, snowy winter in Chicago, or Chiberia as it is now called, but there are still fun Chicago winter 2015 activities you could be enjoying with your family. This is the point in winter where cabin fever hits its peak. The warm months of spring still seem to be an eternity away, and it’s getting to the point where listening to the kids argue all day on Saturday makes you want to pull your hair out. Even during a mild winter, being cooped up inside with kids this long would be enough to drive the most patient parents insane.
While the newscasters make it seem like you will freeze to death or be buried in an avalanche if you leave your house, this simply is not true. There are plenty of ways to get out and actually have fun during the winter in Chicago and Chicagoland both indoors and outdoors. Indoor activities for kids during the harsh Chicago winter might be the most popular, but our list of the best activites also includes outdoor fun that can get you out of the house and into what little sunshine their might be.
The Best Chicago Winter 2014 Family Escapes
This is probably the most expensive option on the list, but it can be the most fun too. The rooms are tropical themed and there are plenty of activities to keep kids busy and having fun. It might be hard to picture putting on a swimming suit in the middle of winter, but the indoor waterpark is kept toasty and warm. Your kids will have a blast at the kids play area, riding the waterslides and bouncing around in the wavepool. There is also a large, adults-only hot tub centrally located in the middle of the waterpark, giving parents a place to relax and unwind. For this one, try to avoid holiday weekends to beat the biggest crowds. The absolute best time to go is a weekday, when they offer reduced rates and the crowds are at the absolute lowest. For more information check out: www.keylimecove.com
If it’s snowy but not horrifically windy and fifty degrees below zero, bundle up and head over to Brookfield Zoo. You will be delightfully surprised at how active and playful the animals tend to be in the snow, and the colder weather means crowds are nearly non-existent. On weekends, there will often be zookeepers stationed inside the various animal houses giving presentations and answering questions. Our best visits to the zoo have been during the winter, when the zookeepers are able to spend time with the kids and help them learn about the animals. For more information, check out: www.brookfieldzoo.org
The Museum of Science and Industry
For the month of February kids are free at the MSI. If you have never explored this Chicago treasure, you will be pleasantly surprised. It takes the essence of a children’s museum with hands on displays and blends it with the classic learning experience of a traditional museum. There are many exhibits for kids to interact and play with, while still learning about science and the world around them. The one caveat is that the museum tends to get VERY crowded on weekends. If you can only go on a weekend, aim for getting there at opening on a Sunday morning. Get tickets for the special attractions you want to see right away, because on crowded days most of the attractions do sell out. The crowds will be low until afternoon, and the museum is big enough that it can absorb crowds fairly well. For more information, check out: www.msichicago.org
Willowbrook Wildlife Center
This is another excellent place to visit during the winter. The Willowbrook Wildlife Center specializes in rescuing and rehabilitating local wildlife that has been injured around our area. The permanent residents of the center are located on the outdoor Exhibit Trail and are critters that were injured in a manner that makes it impossible for them to survive in the wild on their own. This ranges from birds that were hit by cars and can longer fly to raccoons that were raised by humans and don’t have the instincts to survive without human intervention. Inside the nature center, you can watch animals being fed and cared for in the nursery. There is also a wide variety of birds and reptiles on display as well as a fun play area for the kids to run around and be kids in. For more information, check out: www.willowbrookwildlife.com
Indoor Bouncy House Play Centers
Kids love bouncing around and these places bring the outdoor fun of bouncy houses indoors. There are numerous indoor bouncy house places around the Chicago area that offer hours of fun for kids, and tired child for parents. Some places to check out are the Jump Zone in Chicago Ridge, Fun-Flatables in Lombard and Yu Kids Island in Woodfield Mall. Keep in mind, these places are typically geared towards younger kids.