Planning to bring your kids to Digestive Disease Week® (DDW)? DDW has several parenting resources to help you get the most out of your time in Chicago, including Camp DDW, which will offer child care for children ages six months to 12 years. When you’re not in sessions, Chicago has plenty of family-friendly activities that will make your trip to the Windy City memorable for everyone.
Iconic Chicago Attractions
With shopping, restaurants, amusement rides and public art installations, Navy Pier offers something for everyone, day or night. Become part of the Chicago skyline by taking a ride on the Centennial Wheel, Chicago’s iconic Ferris wheel that will be sure to thrill both your children and the inner child in you. Many tours and cruises of Chicago are accessible from Navy Pier, and it is also home to the Chicago Children’s Museum.
Millennium Park is home to the city’s famed Cloud Gate sculpture, nicknamed “The Bean.” After taking a requisite family selfie with the giant reflective surface, wander through the flowers at Lurie Garden or catch a performance at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion. The park also offers guided and self-guided tours.
Take your trip to Chicago to new heights with a visit to the second-tallest building in the Western Hemisphere. Experience one-of-a-kind views of the city at the top of the Willis Tower, formerly known as the Sears Tower. The truly daring can step out onto The Ledge, a glass box extending 4.3 feet out from the Skydeck at 1,353 feet in the air.
Only a ten-minute drive from McCormick Place, Museum Campus is the perfect place for families to have some educational fun away from sessions. The three museums on this complex offer exhibits for all ages to enjoy and learn from. Explore the solar system at the Adler Planetarium, get up close and personal with a stingray at the Shedd Aquarium or come face-to-face with a dinosaur at the Field Museum.
Art Institute of Chicago
The Art Institute houses the largest collection of Impressionist paintings outside of Paris. Younger visitors (kids under 14 have free admission) can get creative with hands-on art and building projects at the Ryan Learning Center. And if you have teens in your crew, be sure to try out the teen audio guide.
Lincoln Park Zoo
Rhinos and monkeys and bears, oh my! Just minutes from downtown Chicago is a world of wildlife surrounded by the city. One of the country’s oldest zoos, Lincoln Park Zoo is free and open to the public every single day.
Maggie Daley Park
Connected by bridge to Millennial Park, Maggie Daley Park is a new green space with activities for all ages. Younger guests’ imagination will be sparked in the Play Garden, the park’s unique playground, and older kids can lace up a pair of roller blades at the Skating Ribbon. The park also contains a rock climbing wall and an 18-hole miniature golf course.
Chicago’s 26 miles of lakefront include over two dozen free beaches on the scenic shores of Lake Michigan. Oak Street Beach is a popular sandy spot within proximity of downtown. If water sports are more your thing, try North Avenue Beach, which offers paddle board, kayak and jet ski rentals.
More Resources for Parents
Infant Nursing Area: Lactation suites are available to DDW attendees, free of charge, to give nursing mothers privacy for breastfeeding or pumping. Each suite includes two benches, a fold-down table, mirror, dual outlets and a USB port. Please download the Mamava Mobile App to unlock the suites.
Camp DDW: While you’re in sessions, children ages six months to 12 years can participate in age-appropriate activities including arts and crafts projects, active games and much more in a safe, nurturing environment. Half day and full day rates are available.
Hall Rules and Reminders: If your child[ren] are on-site with you at the convention center, please keep in mind that children ages six months to 12 years are not permitted in the Exhibit and Poster Halls. Infants under the age of six months are permitted if they are in a front/back child carrier. In addition, strollers are not permitted in the Exhibit and Poster Halls.
Visit the DDW website or leave a comment if you have additional questions regarding parenting resources.