When you are through celebrating the bright lights of New York, head to the Midwest to give your children a taste of Chicago. The Windy City, which isn't really as breezy as kids might think, offers a scaled down version of big city living with its own unique flavors and sights.
- The newly reopened Shedd Aquarium is one of the hottest destinations for Chicago-bound kids with its up close and personal looks at beluga whales, sea otters and sharks. Try visiting a local aquarium to get an aquatic animal experience. The Shedd's Polar Playzone allows kids to dress up like penguins and practice waddling around with an "egg" between their legs, sliding down ramps and experiencing life in a freezing atmosphere.
- The Crown Fountain at Millennium Park is a big attraction for tots with its 50 foot towers bookending a reflecting pool of water and its video images that spout out water at unexpected times. Recreate the fun water experience with a backyard sprinkler that the kids can run through to cool off on a hot day.
- Fill the kids up on local specialties like deep-dish pizza and Chicago-style hot dogs. Gino's East may make the perfect deep-dish pie in their restaurant, but instead of having it flown in, get your family to create your own perfect cornmeal-crusted deep-dish creation. Chicago-style hot dogs are known for their heaping piles of toppings like mustard, onions, relish, pickles and celery salt, so have the tots race to see who can build the tallest frankfurter.
- Navy Pier has become a giant amusement park for kids, complete with its own 150-foot tall ferris wheel. Recreate the ferris wheel with markers and scissors with these unique instructions.
- The new SkyDeck at the Sear's Tower allows visitors to stand 1,353 above the city and look through a Plexiglas floor at the busy streets below. The experience can be easily recreated by placing tots on steps or a deck overlooking their toy cars and trucks on the ground below. See if they can identify the colors and models of the toys from such a height.
- Finish off the day with some movies that showcase the Second City in all of its glory, like Adventures in Babysitting, Home Alone and Uncle Buck while serving one of Michigan Avenue's famed treats – caramel corn.