Whether you are looking for something to do at the spur of the moment or planning family outings there is never a shortage of options for all ages throughout the North Shore.
Among the gems is the Kohl Children's Museum where you could spend all day or get a membership and explore it a bit at a time. Kohl has been named among the top children's museums by Parents Magazine. Everything is pint sized so children can really explore, learn and get in on the fun without needing much assistance. Parents will enjoy seeing their little ones use their creativity while working or shopping at the grocery store or sandwich shop, pretending to be a vet or a mechanic. Through Jan. 2, 2013, enjoy "The Wizard of Oz" exhibit that brings the pages of Frank Baum's classic book to life with three dimensional pop up pages encouraging exploration of science, art, history and, of course, reading.
When the weather is warm it is the perfect time to take advantage of seasonal offerings such as a leisurely game of miniature golf at one of the variety of area courses.
Looking for something you can't do anywhere else? Take the family out on a Thursday or Friday to Northbrook to the Ed Rudolph Velodrome. It is the only short bank track for official bike racing in the state and one of only 25 in the country. On Thursdays spectators can watch official races and Fridays there are amateur races and sometimes possibilities to give the track a try.
If music is a draw, check out the schedule at Ravinia Festival in Highland Park. Nothing says summer like an outdoor concert coupled with a picnic on the lawn. Each year there are concerts geared toward the little ones with fun music to keep them dancing and smiling.
Everybody knows that winters on the North Shore can drive anyone indoors, so there are plenty of places to play away from the elements when the weather doesn't cooperate with days off or staycation plans.
You can bowl, ice skate, jump and climb — all indoors.
The North Shore has a selection of options for those looking for something to do on a rainy or cold day with small children. In Deerfield the Treehouse Indoor Playground gives little ones the opportunity to burn some energy with a climbing web and 8-foot tube slide.
Skokie Park District's Exploritorium was named one of the best rainy day activity sites by Chicago Magazine. Children can dress up and play make believe, play with trains or climb to new heights in the two-and-a-half-story tubes.
There are quite a few indoor ice arenas as well if you like the idea of ice skating with easy access to warmth. Some arenas offer special prices and fun events like skating in costume for Halloween.
Most of the kid-friendly locations, especially the park districts, offer a wide variety of options if you are planning any special celebrations or birthday parties for all ages.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times