Kid-Friendly

Raising a Family of Sports Fanatics? 4 Chicago Attractions You Shouldn’t Miss

Wrigley Field (Photo: Nagel Photography/Shutterstock.com)

Your sports fanaticism has rubbed off on your kids, and they can’t get enough — whether they’re watching the Bulls or Cubs on TV or playing on their own. With Chicago’s long list of parks, there’s no excuse for the entire family not to get outside and run around; but sometimes, you need a little more organization and focus than just tossing around a football or Frisbee. Luckily, Chicago has plenty of sports activities for both you and the little ones. Ready to play?

Chicago Sports Museum

The museum, open daily from 11 a.m., sits adjacent to Harry Caray’s Seventh Inning Stretch restaurant and gives kids and adults an interactive look at Chicago sports. Exhibits include a replica of the Wrigley Field broadcast booth (where you can do your best Harry Caray impression singing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” because, why not?) and walking through the Hall of Legends to play interactive baseball, basketball, football and hockey games. Kids may especially like checking out the hall of Curses & Superstitions, seeing Bears legend Walter Payton’s jersey, testing if your arm span is as long as Scottie Pippen’s and finding out if you can jump as high as Michael Jordan .

Wrigley Field Tours

Even though the Cubs haven’t won a World Series in more than 100 years, Wrigley Field is still one of the most cherished ballparks in the country. With a multimillion-dollar renovation in 2015, now’s the chance to go behind the scenes to see the Cubs’ dugout and clubhouse (non-game days), the press box, bleachers, the field and indoor batting cages (game days).

Be sure to try and go on days when you can take the kids onto the field; what kid wouldn’t love to walk in the same place as greats like Ernie Banks and Ron Santo? And when you go to a game, if it happens to be a kid’s first game, swing by the First Timers Booth on the right field concourse. Your kid will get his or her own certificate to mark the occasion. Be sure to get them hot dogs and peanuts for the seventh inning stretch when they can sing along to “Take Me Out to the Ball Game!” Insider tip: kids 2 and under can go to the game for free.

Whirlyball

This brand new facility opened in early 2015 on the edge of Chicago’s Bucktown neighborhood, bringing together bowling, laser tag and Whirlyball — essentially a super fast, super fun combination of bumper cars, lacrosse and basketball — all under one roof. Add in dining and you’ve got a great place for the family to play together.

Brooklyn Boulders Chicago

Don’t let the kids get cabin fever and start bouncing off the walls. Take them to the West Loop’s Brooklyn Boulders and let them climb the walls! This gorgeous 25,000 square-foot facility offers bouldering, belaying, rappelling, yoga and more. Sign up for a Family Learn the Ropes class ($79 per adult and $29 per child), where you’ll learn the basics of top rope climbing, including how to tie knots and manage the ropes.