Museum of Science and Industry
Chicago families love MSI! The Museum of Science and Industry is one of the largest science museums in the world. Exhibits focus on both history and on the future of science and science education, but kids love the interactive exhibits and jaw-dropping experiences geared just for them. They have an amazing model train exhibit, too, that train-enthusiast kids (and adults!) go wild for.
This museum is located a little south of downtown, but a very quick drive. Its campus has tons of open park area for kids to burn off some energy and right next to the lake, too.
This museum has it all! Built for the 1893 World's Fair, it opened as a museum in 1933 and has been a Chicago favorite since then. Any kid interested in vehicles will be in paradise. There is a huge model railroad, an actual German World War II submarine, and a bunch of airplanes.