Posted on February 11, 2019

Parenting Alone In Chicago Number 19: Polar Adventure Days at Northerly Island

During Chicago winters, it’s incredibly easy to find a reason to stay indoors, especially with all the articles available in this series, but to avoid the colder season altogether would be to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

Kids in Chicago already stay inside far too long and often. If you’re sharing parenting time with your ex-husband or ex-wife then you will want to take advantage of your time with your kids by showing your kids the joys of outdoor life. Even in the winter. Even in the city.

Amongst all the winter activities available in the Chicagoland area this one is probably one of the best. Northerly Island (near Adler Planetarium and Shedd Aquarium) holds an annual event called Polar Adventure Days three days a year at the Museum Campus. There is no cost and parking is fairly inexpensive (but likely very limited). All ages are admitted. So, you can bring infants all the way through teens and they’ll all have a great time.

Some of the activities available include:

  • Visiting with Siberian huskies, various live animals, and even wolves
  • Viewing and learning about birds of prey (from Flint Creek Wildlife Rehabilitation)
  • Exploring the island on snowshoes (if there’s snow)
  • Nature inspired winter crafts
  • Raffle prizes and giveaways
  • Hot cocoa (of course)

One of the greatest parts of this yearly event is the fact that the first available day usually happens just before Christmas. Since this is the case, you can use this time to get into the holiday spirit with your kids before Christmas. You could have access to snow (for snowball fights, snow angels, and snowmen), hot cocoa and when it’s time to warm up you might even be able to use some of the crafts for gifts (pending each individual’s skill level).

While I’m sure you’ll have the opportunity throughout the year, this might be a good time to teach your kids about how to safely approach and interact with dogs. Too many times dogs lash out at those around them because the body language of excited strangers comes across as a threat. Exposure to dogs is just one of the many things a parent must do to protect their kids, long-term.

So, whether your kids have already learned how adventure and snow can go hand-in-hand or this is their first expedition, an event like Polar Adventure Days one is not likely to disappoint.


  • Admission is free. The only things you’re likely to pay for are parking fares and refreshments.


  • 12noon – 4pm (December 15, 2018)
  • 12noon – 4pm (January 26, 2019)
  • 12noon – 4pm (February 23, 2019)


  • Northerly Island – Polar Adventure Days is located at 1521 S. Linn White Drive.
  • If taking public transportation then (from my law office) walk 0.1 miles south to State & Monroe, take the 146 south for 17 minutes to Solidarity Drive & Lynn White Drive and walk south for 0.5 miles. The entire trip should take you roughly 28 minutes.
  • Limited parking priced at $3.
  • There is an SP+ parking garage located less than half a mile north of your arrival destination.
  • If you intend to use the Divvy Bike Share system (which would not be advisable in the winter) then that is a parking location at the nearby Adler Planetarium.

Important Details:

  • No minimum or maximum age limit for those who wish to enjoy Polar Adventure Days.

Northerly Island – Polar Adventure Days is 2 miles (9-minute drive) from my Chicago law office. Directions below:

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Russell Knight

Russell D. Knight has been practicing family law as a Chicago divorce lawyer since 2006. Russell D. Knight amicably resolves tough cases while remaining a strong advocate for his client’s interests.

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