Winter is rough. Bitter cold temperatures keep you from venturing outside, but after a few days of hibernation, it’s easy for anyone to get restless, especially kiddos. Fortunately, Chicago’s North Shore is filled with museums, indoor play spaces and other hot destinations that will keep the fun going all winter long. Here our are favorite ways to keep kids entertained this winter.
Chicago Botanic Garden
1000 Lake Cook Road, Glencoe
Sure, you might think about spending more time at Chicago Botanic Garden during the spring or summer, but this gorgeous destination is still a must-visit during the winter months, especially because the Garden offers Weekend Family Classes all year long. In January, get Loco for Cocoa, and don’t miss Sweet Treats: Cold Eats in February.
4701 Oakton St., Skokie
Chicago magazine named this imagination playground “Best Rainy Day Activity Site” (which works for snowy days too), so visit whenever your kids need a break to play with trains, dress up, climb through tubes and tunnels and more.
Kohl Children’s Museum
2100 Patriot Blvd., Glenview
This museum combines fun and learning with permanent exhibits like Adventures in Art, Play Cafe, Ravinia Festival Music Makers and Water Works. Visit between Jan. 20 and April 25 to explore the new temporary exhibit Children’s China, where kids will discover favorite activities of Chinese families, read quotes from Confucius, learn to write “Thank you, teacher” in Chinese characters, celebrate Chinese New Year and more.
Little Beans Cafe
430 Asbury Ave., Evanston
This indoor play space is not only great for kids, but also a favorite spot for parents. While your Little Beans (0-6 years) and Big Beans (4-12 years) explore the Little Beans Village (complete with a General Store, Tree House and more), a Ninja Warrior obstacle course, the karaoke room, gym and additional activity areas, you can sit back and relax with a cup of coffee and a treat in the cafe.
Music Theater Works
516 4th St., Wilmette
Looking for a creative outlet for your budding superstar? Sign them up for a class at Music Theater Works (formerly Light Opera Works). Kids ages 8-13 can take part in summer workshops for shows like “Annie Jr.,” “The Music Man Jr.” and “Spamalot” (there are no auditions and experience is not required) while teens ages 13-18 can audition for a part in the youth production of “Candide.” Signing up now will give you one more thing to look forward to about summer besides the heat.
Splash Landings Aquatic Center
2400 Chestnut Ave., Glenview
The middle of winter might just be the perfect time to spend a day at the pool and pretend it’s July. With a Splash Landings Play Pool featuring a waterslide and a Splash Landings Lap Pool for the more fitness-minded swimmer, there’s something for everyone in the family.
Winnetka Community House
620 Lincoln Ave., Winnetka
This community house offers a wealth of activities and classes throughout the year. Purchase tickets now for Family Bingo Night on Jan. 20, when families (all ages welcome) will enjoy this classic activity with drinks, popcorn and prizes. And don’t miss the Big Balloon Show on Feb. 20.