101 things to do in Chicago with kids this spring
Find the best family activities, things to do outside, fun outings and more things to do in Chicago with kids this spring
Tue Feb 11 2014
50. Set your fun meters for high during the interactive show from Super Stolie!
The native Chicagoan's album Press Play was a major hit, prompting kids to high-kick to its upbeat tunes. Her live shows, too, are marked by tons of lively, interactive movement—and some fun lessons on spelling, animals, numbers and more. She is also available for private parties and occasions. May 4 at noon. Beat Kitchen, 2100 W Belmont Ave (773-281-4444, beatkitchen.com). $6.
49. Smash into buildings at the children's play area at Gurnee Mills
This new kids' space inside Illinois's largest shopping center includes cushy-soft replicas of local landmarks, such as a ten-foot-tall Willis Tower and a 15-foot-long Navy Pier. 6170 W Grand Ave, Gurnee (847-263-7500, simon.com/mall/gurnee-mills). Free.
48. Build a fort at the Chicago Children's Museum
Every kid loves making forts! CCM's new "Forts" exhibit allows children, their friends and family to get together to expand on the structure's normal bounds and create the best fort imaginable. The museum provides props like tables, headboards, costumes, games, and other things to set up the ideal adventure for a little one. Chicago Children's Museum, Navy Pier, 700 E Grand Ave (312-527-1000, chicagochildrensmuseum.org).
47. Solve a mystery at Isabelle's Scavenger Hunt
Little history buffs ages 8 and up can take off on a scavenger hunt around the store and learn about American Girl's newest Girl of the Year, Isabelle. Bonus: Free American Girl posters are handed out post-hunt. March 4, 11, 18, 25; April 1, 8, 15, 22, 29. 11am–1pm. American Girl Place, Water Tower Place, 835 N Michigan Ave (877-247-5223, americangirl.com/stores). Free.
46. Discover a musical talent at Old Town School of Folk Music
The Old Town School of Folk Music offers a wide range of various music, dance, theater and art classes. Sessions include lessons in piano, banjo, fiddle, guitar, percussion, voice and ukulele, among others. 4544 N Lincoln Ave (773-728-6000, oldtownschool.org). Prices vary.
45. Get swept away by Disney
"Treasures of the Walt Disney Archives" at MSI is perfect for all Disney fans, featuring more than 300 pieces promising to bring back childhood memories from Disney classics such as Mary Poppins, The Little Mermaid and Pirates of the Carribean. Through May 4. Museum of Science and Industry, 5700 S Lake Shore Dr (773-684-1414, msichicago.org). $24; seniors $23; children $17.
44. Wiggle like a worm at an Old Town School of Folk Music class
Put your dancing shoes on and shimmy on over to the Old Town School of Folk Music, where Wiggleworms music classes include a variety of instruction on singing, dancing and musical instruments. Your tiny tots might learn a song on the guitar or dance as instructors play banjos and Autoharps. Through April 27. 4544 N Lincoln Ave (773-728-6000, oldtownschool.org). Prices vary.
43. Marvel at the miniature train landscape at Chicago Botanic Garden
Aside from the beautiful aesthetic surroundings, the Chicago Botanic Gardens offer nature-themed story time (with activities). Can't get enough? The family can visit the Railroad Garden, where a model railroad spans across 17 tracks with trains that travel more than 22,000 miles each season. Check website for official dates. Chicago Botanic Garden, 1000 Lake-Cook Rd, Glencoe (847-835-5440, chicagobotanic.org).
42. Get dizzy with Cirque Shanghai
This year's circus celebrates the year of the dragon with acobatic routines and death-defying stunts. Watch for the return of "Imperial Thunder"—the Chinese motorcycle group will ride five at a time inside a steel sphere. March 15–25, May 21–Sept 1. Navy Pier, 600 E Grand Ave (navypier.com). $13–$28.75.
41. Get up close and personal with the jellies
Dark, eerie corridors surrounded by luminescent jellyfish make this a surreal exhibit to explore while learning about efforts to preserve the animals. Shedd Aquarium, 1200 S Lake Shore Dr (312-939-2438, sheddaquarium.org).
40. Travel to another world at the Adler Planetarium's "Planet Explorers"
Different exploration stations bring kids from their backyards to the stars to an alien planet. Permanent at Adler, this 8,000-square-foot exhibit launches kids into space and teaches them about both stellar and earthly survival methods. Adler Planetarium, 1300 S Lake Shore Dr (312-922-7827, adlerplanetarium.org). Free with admission. For kids ages 3–8.
39. Run wild at Wrigley Field
As if spending a Sunday at Wrigley Field wasn’t great enough—the first 1,000 kids under 15 get to run the bases at the legendary ballpark. Sit back and watch your child’s dream become a reality. Who knows? Maybe it won’t be the last time your little one takes a victory lap around the pads. Family Sundays at Wrigley Field, 1060 W Addison St (773-525-1638, chicagocubs.com).
38. Rediscover the world's most fun-yet-educational songs with Schoolhouse Rock Live!
Remember "Conjunction Junction" and "Interjection!"? Now a new generation of grade-schoolers can soak up the catchy, educational songs at this onstage adaptation of the Emmy Award–winning cartoons. Mar 18, 20 at 10am. North Shore Center for the Performing Arts, 9501 Skokie Blvd, Skokie (312-335-0440, northshorecenter.org). $8.
37. Bring the zoo to you
At the Nature Museum's newest event, Flying Fox Animal Show, kids can see some of the world's friendliest and cutest animals, including fruit bats and other mammals, up close. March 27 at 11:30am. Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, 2430 N Cannon Dr (773-755-5100, naturemuseum.org). Free with admission.
36. Release the butterflies!
Butterflies are released every day at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum at 2pm. Come enjoy the fluttering beauties with your kids! Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, 2430 N Cannon Dr (773-755-5100, naturemuseum.org) Free with admission.
35. Welcome avian friends back at North Park Village Nature Center
Take in spring tweets and bird songs on a stroll through the nature center's woods. An Audubon Society guide leads the walk and talks about the birds and their habitats. 5801 N Pulaski Rd (312-744-5472, chicagoparkdistrict.com). Check website for dates; free.
34. Have a soup-er time at Hideout
The Hideout goes all-ages every Wednesday for Soup and Bread, a fun and fund-raising, soup-slurping get-together. Every week, a different group of local notables—from chefs and musicans to writers and artists—cooks up and donates pots of hot soup. Guests are encouraged to show their gratitude by dropping a few bucks in the collection bucket to benefit the Greater Chicago Food Depository. Every Wednesday until April 23, 5:30-8pm. Hideout, 1354 W Wabansia Ave (773-227-4433, hideoutchicago.com).
33. Learn healthy habits at Día del Niño Family Festival
After a kickoff walk from the National Museum of Mexican Art (meet at 10am), enjoy games, live performances, prizes, arts and crafts, and free health screenings inside the UIC Pavilion to celebrate kids and healthy habits. May 31, 11am–3pm. UIC Pavilion, 525 S Racine Ave (312-738-1503, nationalmuseumofmexicanart.org). Free.
32. Unleash your inner Aquaman at Kohl Children's Museum "Water Works"
It's all about H2O at this Kohl Children's Museum exhibit. Children study the science behind water and learn its uses through hands-on activities like playing music by shooting water instruments and constructing a boat that glides across a track of water. Ongoing. 2100 Patriot Blvd, Glenview (847-832-6600, kohlchildrensmuseum.org); free with admission.
31. Unravel the secrets of the Robie House during the Wright 3 Mystery Tour
Inspired by Blue Balliet's book The Wright 3, this Robie House tour incorporates characters from the story. Kids under 10 must be accompanied by a parent. Saturdays. Robie House, 5757 S Woodlawn Ave (312-994-4000, gowright.org). $15, kids $12.
30. Yuk it up at That's Weird, Grandma
Monday nights at the Neo-Futurist Theater are reserved for kids, thanks to this series of short plays written by Chicago Public School students and performed with wonderfully ridiculous abandon by the Barrel of Monkeys theater troupe. Sundays at 2pm until March 30; Monday nights at 8pm begninning March 3. Neo-Futurarium, 5153 N Ashland Ave (312-409-1954, barrelofmonkeys.org) $12, kids $6.
29. Find your way through the Treetop Canopy Climbing Adventure at Lincoln Park Zoo
Not only does Lincoln Park Zoo have more than 1,000 animals, but it also has a children's zoo catered to the little ones in your life. The highlight? An ubermodern 21st-century jungle gym, dubbed the Treetop Canopy Climbing Adventure, with 36 curvy wooden platforms for curious explorers. Lincoln Park Zoo, 2001 N Clark St (312-742-2000, lpzoog.org). Free.
28. Light up the sky with fireworks at Navy Pier
Wednesday and Saturday evenings [Boom!] from May 24 through [Boom!] Labor Day, look to the skies for signs of [Boom!] summer in the form of brightly colored [Boom!] explosions. 9:30pm. Navy Pier, 600 Grand Ave (312-595-7437, navypier.com).
27. Reap the benefits of eco-friendly tips at Party for the Planet at Cosley Zoo
More than 100 zoos and aquariums, including Cosley, dish out Earth Day cake in honor of our green planet. Families get sustainability tips from conservation orgs and renewable energy businesses during the largest combined geo-centric celebration in North America. And did we mention there'd be cake? April 26, 10-2pm. Cosley Zoo, 1356 N Gary Ave, Wheaton (630-665-5534, cosleyzoo.org). Free with museum admission.
26. Get swinging with Tennis Explorers at Midtown Athletic Club
Show your preschoolers some love (literally) and sign them up for these ten-week tennis lessons for three- to four-year-olds. You don't even need to buy a racquet; it comes with your fee for the 45-minute classes. April 8–June 16. 2020 W Fullerton Ave (773-235-2300, midtown.com). $225, members $190.
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