September events calendar for kids in Chicago

Fall kicks off with a lineup of fun things to do with the kids in Chicago
Photograph: Courtesy Lincoln Park Zoo
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Now that the school year is back in full swing, weekends are more precious than ever for families. Fill your days off with fun events that everyone will enjoy. September ushers in kid-friendly events like Fall Fest at Lincoln Park Zoo, Museum Day and Fiesta Familiar. Of course, there's still time to check out a classic Chicago summer festival, with options like Festival de la Villita, St. Alphonsus Oktoberfest and Lakeview Taco Fest. Soak up the last days of summer with our guide to September events for kids in Chicago.

RECOMMENDED: 25 things to do in Chicago with the kids

Things to do with the kids in September

Photograph: Courtesy Lincoln Park Zoo
Kids

Fall Fest at Lincoln Park Zoo

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Get your fall feels on at this free monthlong fest that begins at the tail end of September. A Ferris wheel, corn maze, hay mountain and pumpkin patch should make it easier to forget that summer's coming to a close. Fall Fest also includes live music, animal chats, professional pumpkin carvers and fall-themed activities for the animals.

Adler planetarium, solar system
Photograph: Nick Ulivieri
News, Events & Festivals

Museum Day

On Saturday, September 22, Smithsonian magazine will celebrate Museum Day, offering free admission to institutions throughout the country. In Chicago, you'll be able to score free tickets to places like the National Writers Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Adler Planetarium and the DuSable Museum of African American History. Claim your free ticket by visiting the Smithsonian website, where you can browse the list of participating institutions.

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Midnight Circus in the Parks
Photograph: Laura Collins Britton
Things to do, Performances

Midnight Circus in the Parks

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The Little Big Top takes of Chicago parks, bringing acrobats, tightrope walkers, aerialists, jugglers and more to parks throughout the city. The Midnight Circus touches down in a new park each weekend, staging intimate performances that allow audiences to get up-close to the onstage action. As usual, proceeds are used to fund improvements in Chicago parks. 

'Boats' at Chicago Children's Museum
Photograph: Joseph Schiappa
Kids

“Boats”

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Kids become the captain of their own ship (figuratively speaking, of course) at this exhibit, which includes a two-level boat complete with a bunk and kitchen plus an interactive bait shop. Little explorers will be able to explore the ship, drop a fishing line, try on life vests, secure a rig and so much more. 

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Photograph: Martha Williams
Things to do, Festivals

St. Alphonsus Oktoberfest

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Beer-loving moms and dads: This one's for you. St. Alphonsus's annual Oktoberfest celebration is family-friendly and even includes adjacent programming for the kids at Kinderfest. The under-21 set can take part in face painting, crafts, storytime, dance parties and more from 11am to 5pm both days.

"The Science Behind Pixar"
Photograph: Michael Malyszko
Museums

“The Science Behind Pixar”

icon-location-pin Hyde Park
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This interactive exhibit explores the science and technology that go into making some of your favorite animated films, closely examining the techniques used by artists and computer scientists to bring movies like Toy Story and The Incredibles to the big screen. You'll even be able to control a camera while learning how animators created a sense of scale in A Bug's Life and explore the properties of lighting that made it challenging to create convincing water animations in Finding Nemo.

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