Day Trip No. 3 — Navy Pier Day

Navy Pier is definitely a place where you could spend a full day with the family and find something to entertain everyone. The highlight of the pier is the Centennial Wheel, which opened last year in conjunction with the 100th anniversary of Navy Pier. It is taller than the Ferris wheel it replaced and moves faster, but still offers the beautiful views of the lake and skyline.

Stancik recommends a thrilling ride on the Seadog, one of several cruise lines operating on the pier. Sightseeing tours also are available as well as full dinner cruises and a ride on the Tall Ship Windy schooner.

If you head inside, you’ll find the Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, where you can take in a live performance and the iMax Theatre, which frequently features family-friendly movies in this immersive theatre. A funhouse maze called Amazing Chicago is sure to occupy the kids for a bit as they make their way through 4,000 square feet of tunnels and mazes.

The Chicago Children’s Museum is a must when visiting the pier with young kids. It’s one of those places you may have to drag them out of because there’s so much hands-on fun at every turn.

There’s no shortage of eateries when you are ready for lunch or dinner or snacks. Besides the full-service sit-down places, like Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., Billy Goat Tavern and Harry Caray’s, there’s an awesome array of grab and go cuisine with pizza by the slice, sweets, sandwiches, burgers and more and a number of tantalizing snacks in the classic food court.

America’s Dog offers city dogs from a dozen places along with burgers, sandwiches, salads and wraps — all kid-friendly options. Mom and Dad can head down to another counter for a helping of barbecue at Pork Chop or a plate of fish and fries at DMK Burger and Fish Bar. Don’t forget to grab yourself a bag of Garrett popcorn for the drive home. Make sure to grab some napkins.