The first few years of parenting can be the most overwhelming, and sometimes the best thing for both you and your baby is a change of scenery. Climbing, dancing, playing and visiting animals are great ways to get out of the house and have fun with your little ones! With this list of places to go with a baby or toddler, the hardest part of your day will be getting out the door. Here’s our roundup of best places to go with a baby in the western suburbs.
As always, make sure to check the websites or call ahead to confirm your plans. While we do our best to have the most up-to-date information, business hours, pricing and availability are constantly changing in this uncertain time.
Places to Go with a Baby or Toddler in Chicago’s West Suburbs
Parks Good for Babies and Toddlers
If you’re anything like our family, we’ve spent A LOT of time outdoors recently.
For crawlers, nothing is worse than leaving the park covered in mud, sand, and woodchips. Use our list of Mud-Free Playgrounds to let your toddler or crawler roam around without the worry of what will end up in their mouth. At these parks, you’ll find a rubbery surface that’s perfect for delicate hands and knees.
Worried about your runner? Fenced-In Parks keep your toddler contained so you can both enjoy an afternoon at the park!
Additionally, our list of Parks with Paved Paths is great for finding new destinations for a stroll. It’s nice to get out in the fresh air, even if your little one is too small for the park!
You also won’t want to miss our list of the Best Playgrounds for Toddlers!
Classes for Babies and Toddlers
We recently updated our class guides with new socially distanced, outdoor, and virtual options! Head over to our guide to Classes for Little Kids 0-5 Years Old for all of our ideas
Going to the Zoo with Babies and Toddlers
If your children are anything like mine, they were saying animals noises as soon as they were saying “Dada!”. Stop by these zoos to have their favorite nursery-rhyme animals come to life!
1356 N Gary Avenue
Wheaton, IL 60187
Cosley Zoo is much smaller than Brookfield or Lincoln Park and you can get close to the animals. There’s a pond filled with ducks, a stable with farm animals like goats, pigs, and horses, and larger exhibits with bobcats, deer, and more. Check out our review of their reopening ahead of time for tips. Pre-purchased, timed-entry tickets are required for all guests.
Phillips Park Zoo
1000 Ray Moses Drive
Aurora, IL 60505
Stop at the reptile house, visit the bald eagles and new turtle exhibits. The zoo also shares its grounds with some amazing playgrounds, so it’s a good destination for the younger crowd.
8400 31st Street (1st Avenue and 31st Street)
Brookfield, IL 60513
Brookfield is the biggest zoo in the area. With more and more exhibits reopening, your child will love seeing all their favorite animals. Brookfield Zoo is no longer requiring advance online ticket sales. If your child is a dinosaur lover, make sure to visit before the Dinos Everywhere exhibit leaves after September 6, 2021.
Lincoln Park Zoo
2001 North Clark Street
Chicago, IL 60614
Lincoln Park Zoo has all the variety of Brookfield Zoo, but has a smaller layout and the best price (free!), which makes for the perfect day trip into the city.
Randall Oaks Zoo
1180 N. Randall Road
West Dundee, IL 60118
A stop at Randall Oaks Zoo is full of excitement for toddlers. Feed the animals, many of which come right to stroller level at the fences. It’s a great size zoo to wear out little legs, but not be overwhelming.
Children’s Museums for Babies and Toddlers
Children’s museums have countless opportunities for hands-on play with your baby or toddler. While toddlers will definitely keep busy, some of these places may be a bit too much for non-walkers, especially given the fact that many charge admission prices for parents and children 12 months and up. To get more for your money, check the Kidlist events calendar before you plan your visit. There are plenty of events like concerts, story times, and crafts (often at no additional cost) if you go at the right time.
If it works within your budget, consider a membership to your local children’s museum. The three children’s museums listed below, along with the Children’s Museum in Oak Lawn, Kidswork Children’s Museum in Frankfort, and Discovery Children’s Museum in Rockford have reciprocal admissions agreements for members as part of their CLIMB network. You’ll have access to six great spaces for the price of one membership, which often pays for itself after only a few visits.
DuPage Children’s Museum
301 N. Washington Street
Naperville, IL 60540
This museum has dedicated areas for crawlers and younger toddlers, which are a lot of fun. Combine these with some of the other exhibits, like the water play area or bubbles, and you’ll have plenty to do during your visit. DuPage Children’s Museum is currently requiring online reservations for both members and non-members.
Kohl’s Children’s Museum
2100 Patriot Boulevard
Glenview, IL 60026
With a grocery store, water play room, nursery, veterinary clinic, and so much more, your day will be full of fun for toddlers. Their infant areas are sectioned off with foam padding on the floors and benches next to the main exhibits. The museum is free for kids 12 months and younger, but you’ll have to pay the $15 admission price for yourself.
6445 West North Park
Oak Park, IL 60302
Wonder Works in Oak Park is a shoe-free museum, so you won’t have to worry about little hands on the ground. Please note, this is a peanut-free space. This hands-on space has six permanent exhibits that will give your child plenty to explore.
Open Gyms for Babies and Toddlers
Open gyms allow kids to run free and test what their bodies can do in a safe, cushy space!
- My Gym has locations in Wheaton, River Forest, and Aurora. You don’t need to have a walker to enjoy this time. There are classes for kids as young as six weeks. Practice & Play sessions are their open-play time. (Membership prices vary, but your first class is free!)
- Flying High in Countryside has a Little Tykes Time open gym during the week specifically for children in kindergarten and younger.
- Local park districts may have open gym times available for little ones. Help your child learn to climb, run, and jump in the comfort of a padded space.
Indoor Play Spaces for Babies and Toddlers
Indoor play spaces are the perfect opportunity for letting kids explore safely. Check out our full list of indoor play places. The ones below are especially good for the younger crowd. Don’t forget to bring socks for you and your children!
4314 E New York Street
Aurora, IL 60504
Kiddy Club has sand, ball pits, slides and on soft, climbable play structures. See pricing page for passes and other discounts. First child to arrive for the day gets in free if you mention the discount.
While you may usually think of trampoline parks as being meant for older children, Sky Zone in Aurora has designated toddler time on Saturday mornings, while the Elmhurst location is open for toddler time on Friday and Sunday mornings. The price is slightly reduced from their usual rates, and their weekend times may even have a character visit.
Kids Town Play and Party
212 Stratford Square Drive
Bloomingdale, IL 60108
Kids Town is tons of fun for older toddlers, as they have separated themed areas, including inflatables and an indoor play structure. (Prices vary depending on age of child and length of stay. Hourly or unlimited time can be purchased.)
Jumps ‘N Giggles Indoor Playplace and Pavilion Carousel in Elk Grove Village
Jack A. Claes Pavilion Center
1000 Wellington Avenue
Elk Grove Village, IL 60007
Jumps ‘N Giggles has an big playground that older tots will love, and a smaller play structure and toys for younger toddlers. Unlimited rides on their beautiful carousel are also included in admission prices. 10-visit passes can also be purchased for a discounted rate.
25 South La Grange Road, Unit A
La Grange, IL 60525
A train table, designated baby area, play house, and countless other toys will be perfect for a visit with your littlest ones.
KidStreet PlayCenter at Grounds for Hope
2701 Maple Avenue
Lisle, IL 60532
Note: As of August 29, 2021, KidStreet has not reopened to the public. Check their website for the most up-to-date information about reopening.
Playroom Cafe Two
2075 Calamos Court
Naperville, IL 60563
Playroom Cafe Two is simply gorgeous. Beautifully decorated, it’s full of a toy store, ride-on toys, ball-pit slide, and designated baby area, this place is a must see.
864 S Route 59
Naperville, IL 60540
Ball Factory is a big place, but there is the separate area just for toddlers and babies. There is usually a staff member standing at the entrance to ensure bigger children stay out of this space. Older toddlers might also be interested in some of the bigger-kid areas. They often run Groupons, too; if you buy through this link you’ll help support Kidlist and save money at the same time!
CubHouse Indoor Playground
Oak Park Park District’s Stevenson Center
49 Lake Street
Oak Park, IL 60302
The “CubHouse” is currently closed for the 2020-2021 season. Check their website for the most up-to-date information about reopening.
Forest the Fox’s Playbox at Westchester Park District
10835 Wakefield Street
Westchester, IL 60154
Open play time is available daily to residents and non-residents. ($2/child)
The Chick-fil-A and McDonald’s playgrounds are great for toddlers. Most of these playspaces are likely not open at the moment, but keep them in mind as safety guidelines are always changing. There’s usually smaller slides or activities for toddlers around 2 years old. Stop in for an ice cream cone, cup of coffee, or a full meal. The best part is the price (Free!)
Mall Play Areas for Babies and Toddlers
PLAY at Yorktown Center
203 Yorktown Center
Lombard, IL 60148
PLAY (located on the Lower Level in Center Court) is perfect for toddlers! There are tons of sensory play options low to the ground that fits the height of any toddler or crawler. Because this is an open space, there is no size/age restriction of other children, so keep an extra close eye on tiny hands and feet. With a children’s train, kiddie rides, and children’s dining area, you can make a whole day out of your visit to Yorktown Center Mall.
Yu Kids Island
5 Woodfield Mall
Schaumburg, IL 60173
A pillow pool, waterfall slide, and fenced in play-areas are perfect for your tiny visitor. Punchcards can be purchased, and discounted rates are offered on special days during the week. Check website for details.
Libraries to Visit with Babies and Toddlers
The libraries in the western suburbs are incredible for small children, and not just for the abundance of books. Puzzles, toys, puppet shows, and story time can fill your morning with literacy fun. Many libraries are bringing these items back out for families, so you may want to call ahead to see what’s available.
We asked our readers and rounded up the Best Libraries in the Western Suburbs. The best part is that you don’t need to be a resident to visit any of these libraries. Don’t forget your library card, as you may even be able to check out books from a neighboring library. Our favorites are the Downers Grove and Nichols Library Naperville branch.
Playgroups for Babies and Toddlers
Playgroups aren’t just for the kids. Check out these ideas for great ways that you can connect with other parents while your baby is learning to play.
- Kohl’s Children’s Museum in Glenview has previously offered a Baby & Me group on Monday mornings for parents of kids up to 12 months old. Check their website for information about upcoming classes.
- Hospitals sometimes offer parents’ groups for babies delivered there. Cradle Talk, for new parents who delivered at Edward Hospital in Naperville, is a great way for families to connect during the early stages of parenthood. Check your hospital, or ask your OBGYN, for a similar recommendation.
- Places of worship often have playgroups for young families that are either held there or organized through them. Our list of churches with childcare during weekend services is the perfect starting point, as these churches already have the space and facilities to host young families.
- We have also gathered up a great list of playgroups, mom groups, MOPs programs, and newcomers groups in the western suburbs!
Train Restaurants for Babies and Toddlers
A train restaurant is a perfect destination for train lovers, big and small! Check out our full list of train restaurants in the Western Suburbs. You can also read more about 2Toots and their three locations at this link: Front Row Seats and Quality Food at 2Toots Train Whistle Grill.
Looking for ideas for older kids too?
Check out our Activities by Age page so you can find local places to go for preschoolers through kindergarteners, elementary school-aged kids, and tweens/teens!
Comment below if you have a favorite place for you and your baby or toddler. Also share if your babies are grown, but you remember a favorite destination!