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The 9 best things to do with kids in Chicago in March

Chiditarod X Chicago
Photograph: Max Herman

It’s been a relatively mild winter, but that doesn’t mean the kids aren’t itching to get out and run amok. Spring is within sight, and already you’ll find signs of life in the myriad of family-friendly events all over Chicago. Planning ahead as you countdown to long days at the beach? Don’t worry. We’ve found plenty of events worth bookmarking for March. Here are some of the best events for kids in Chicago that should be on your calendar now.

See the world from Navy Pier. Every Sunday through April 17, you can travel the world without leaving Chicago. Enjoy live music, art and cuisine from Italy (March 6), Lithuania (March 13), the Philippines (March 20) and Greece (March 27), to name a few. (Neighborhoods of the World, through April 17, Navy Pier, 600 E Grand Ave, noon–4pm

Last call for ice skating. A couple of rinks remain open into March, but time is running out. Hit the ribbon at Maggie Daley Park or take in a classic view of the city from the ice with the whole family at McCormick Tribune Ice Rink. (Millennium Park, various locations and times

Go crazy for a cause with a shopping cart race. One part food drive, one part shopping cart race—who wouldn't have a ball watching crazily dressed teams race around Wicker Park and Ukrainian Village? Food donations benefit the Greater Chicago Food Depository. (Chiditarod, Wolcott Ave and Hubbard St, March 5, noon)

Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. This holiday isn’t all mayhem in Chicago. Check out this family-friendly St. Patrick's Festival, with children’s activities and an arts and crafts fair. (St. Patrick's Festival, Irish American Heritage Center, 4626 N Knox Ave, March 12, 1pm)

Make a furry friend. The Chicagoland Family Pet Expo is a hoot for all ages. Shop for your own dearest animals, adopt a new doggy or kitty or be entertained by a cat show. Note: Please leave your own pet(s) at home. (Chicago Family Pet Expo, Arlington Park Racetrack, 2200 W Euclid Ave, Arlington Heights, IL; March 18–20)

See Matilda. The charming Roald Dahl story comes to life in this musical that takes over Chicago for a couple of weeks beginning in March. (Matilda, Oriental Theatre, 24 W Randolph St, March 22–April 10)

Go on the run for eggs. Celebrate Easter with a classic egg hunt for the kids and a run for the older ones. The children are guaranteed to take home quite a haul of candy, and you'll even find a kids' petting zoo. (Montrose Harbor, 4400 N Lake Shore Drive, March 26, 10:15am

Jump for joy. Hop, skip and slide on massive inflatables as part of the St. Patrick's Day celebrations at Pump It Up. The kids can also enter a lucky lottery, and the venue will host special events just in time for Easter, too. (Jump N Jackpot, Pump It Up, 821 W Eastman St, March 17, 5:30pm) 

Hit the Maple Syrup Festival. This sweet event teaches kids about traditions while letting everyone get a taste of what it takes to make their favorite topping. (Maple Syrup Festival, North Park Village Nature Center, 5801 N Pulaski Rd, March 19 & 20

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