I just got back from Chicago last weekend... see enclosed! You couldn't pick a better city to spend time with kids... I have a great guidebook for families I can loan you, I'll bring it to the baseball game tomorrow if you'll be there...
Field Museum, Museum of Science and Industry on rainy days, Lincoln Park, Beach and Zoo on sunny ones. Patrick loved Chinatown too! Great dim sum for lunch... But most of all, both boys just loved the 'El' and didn't want to get off the downtown (above ground) subway loop... ;-)
Navy Pier's Children's Museum is also good, and Patrick liked the Ferris Wheel and botanical garden on the roof (it has water shooting from 'pond' to 'pond' through the air! Watch out or you'll get wet!). Lots of shows on the stage near the front, free outdoor music concerts toward the middle - you can take a water ferry over to the Museum Campus instead of driving, great view of the city from the water.
If you like window shopping, go by Merchandise Mart (the subway station is IN the building) and get off on the 12th floor... Even Thomas liked all the dolls, kids toys, etc. Too bad it is wholesale, not retail! Actually, that is a good thing - otherwise I'd be broke! ;-) Other floors aren't as fun for kids, mainly furniture..
Best (and cheapest) buffet in the city is at Bobak's off Archer in Poletown (all you can eat pierogi, golompki, etc. for $7 - not good for the figure, but good tasting!). Very kid friendly, we go shopping there for Polish food every time I'm in Chicago...
I am going to accompany my wife with our kids to Chicago for a week while she
does some training. Does anyone know what I can do with the kids during the
day while she's training? We will be staying in the Villa Park area (west of
downtown) and will have our minivan to get around. One dad has already
mentioned Lincoln Park near downtown. We have a AAA book for starters.