Monday, February 22, 2010

Dog Days in Chicago

Couldn't get your family to the Westminster Dog Show last weekend? You can take your kids to the 2010 International Cluster of Dog Show taking place this weekend at McCormick Place.

It's one of the largest shows in the country, with judged competitions and even Junior Dog Judging for children ages 9-19. The Puppy Spectactular features the finest puppies from 6 - 12 months competing for "Best Puppy in Show." Fun for the whole family includes Earth Dog demonstrations, Dancing With Your Dog, and "Meet the Breeds."

The show is held from 8am - 5pm on Saturday and Sunday, and tickets are $17 for adults with children 12 and under free with the purchase of an adult ticket. Get a $2 coupon on the web site at

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Chicago Museum Free Days

While it’s fun to explore with your little ones, the price can certainly add up. I’ve rounded up information on free days at some of Chicago’s top kid’s museums. In addition to these Free Days, you can also visit any Chicago Public Library to check out a Museum Pass – see the end of this post for details.

Art Institute:
February Free Days – admission is free every day in February!
Thursdays are always free from 5:00–8:00.

Shedd Aquarium
February 15-19 free general admission.
Other Monday/Tuesday free days this year are:
Feb. 1, 2, 8, 9, 22, 23
Sept. 13, 14, 20, 21, 27, 28
Oct. 4, 5, 11, 12, 18, 19, 25, 26
Nov. 1, 2, 8, 9, 15, 16, 22, 23, 29, 30

Field Museum
Free admission the 2nd Monday of each month
There are additional free days throughout the year. Here’s all of 2010’s free days: January: 11th, 13th, 14th, 19th, 20th, 26th, 27th
February: 2nd, 3rd, 8th, 10th, 11th, 16th, 17th, 23rd, 24th
March: 2nd, 8th, 3rd
April 12th
May 10th
June: 2nd, 3rd, 14th
July 12
August: 9, 24th
September: 13th, 15th, 16th, 21st, 22nd
October: 5th, 6th, 11th, 13th, 14th, 19th, 20th
November: 2nd, 3rd, 8th, 10th, 16th, 17th, 30th
December: 1st, 7th, 8th, 13th 15th, 16th

Museum of Science & Industry
January 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29
February 8, 14
March 18
April 19, 20, 21, 22, 23
May 3
June 7, 8, 9, 10, 11
August 30
September 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 20, 21, 27, 28
October 4, 5, 6
November 11
December 6

Chicago Children’s Museum
The first Sunday of every month is free admission for ages 15 and under.
Kraft Free Family Night is every Thursday from 5-8pm, free admission for everyone.

Museum of Contemporary Art
Free on Tuesdays.

Notebaert Nature Museum
Thursdays are “suggested donation days.”

Chicago Botanic Garden
Always free.

Chicago Cultural Center
Always free.

Lincoln Park Zoo
Always free.

National Museum of Mexican Art
Always free.

The weekly newsletter always provides a few "Budget Bets" for every weekend, highlighting events that are free or easy on your wallet. Make sure you sign up to get these delivered to your inbox every Thursday.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Toddlin' Thursdays at Navy Pier

Navy Pier is calling all Toddlers on Thursdays with "Toddlin' Thursdays," through April 8. Every Thursday you'll find plenty to do, with singing, stories, music and even special character appearances from Bob the Builder, Spider Man, Ronald McDonald and more!

Performance schedule:

  • February 11 Super Stolie & the Rockstars
  • February 18th Mr. Singer & The Sharp Cookies
  • February 18th WTTW Kids Readers are Leaders with Miss Lori and Mr. Brandon
  • February 25th Raisin' Rhyme
  • March 4th Nelson Gill
  • March 11th Thaddeus Rex
  • March 18th Super Stolie
  • March 25th Ella Jenkins
  • April 1st (No Performances today) Bonny Bunny will meet with your little ones
  • April 8th Od Tapo Imi

Plus your toddler can enjoy storytelling from "World Kids at Navy Pier" at 3:30 every Thursday (and 11 and 3:30 on Wed and Fri too!)

One daunting thing I've found about visiting Navy Pier is the parking price. There a parking discount coupon available for $10 off parking with a $45 purchase from select vendors - click here for coupon.

And here's some more coupons from some great vendors at Navy Pier.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Chicago Winters - Outdoors!

Are you brave enough to face the cold weather? If so, there's a lot of outdoor fun taking place this winter that you can take advantage of.

On weekends in February, the City of Chicago offers Chicago Winter Dance Festival at Millennium Park. With free ice skating lessons, ice dance parties and indoor dance lessons (mom and dad, take note!), there's something for everyone.

Here's the schedule:

Ice Skating Lessons
Saturdays and Sundays, February 6 – 28, 8 – 10 am
Beginner lessons, 8 – 8:30 am and 9 – 9:30 am
Intermediate lessons, 8:30 am – 9 am and 9:30 am – 10 am
McCormick Tribune Ice Rink
Learn the basics of ice skating and play fun and interactive games on the ice in the beauty of Millennium Park. These family friendly morning sessions are open to Chicagoans and visitors of all ages and skill levels.

Late Night Ice Dance Parties, Ice Dancing Demonstrations, and Extended Rink Hours
for Public Skating

Fridays and Saturdays, February 5 – February 27, 7 – 11 pm
Ice Dancing Demonstrations at 7, 8:30 and 10 pm
McCormick Tribune Ice Rink
Weekend nights will offer spectacular ice dancing demonstrations, and extended ice rink hours for skating and late night dance parties on the ice.

Special Ice Dance Party Night Themes and Music:
-Friday, February 5: Sock Hop/1950s
-Saturday, February 6: Tribute to Michael Jackson/1980s
-Friday, February 12: Show Tunes
-Saturday, February 13: Love Songs
-Friday, February 19: Disco
-Saturday, February 20: Country Western
-Friday, February 26: Twilight
-Saturday, February 27: Big Band Jazz/1920s

Dance Lessons and Dancing
Saturdays and Sundays, February 6 -28
1 pm Dance Lesson
2 – 4 pm Open Dancing
5 pm – Dance Lesson
6 – 8 pm – Open Dancing
Jay Pritzker Pavilion
In SummerDance style, visitors will be offered one hour dance lessons followed by open dancing behind the glass doors on the Pritzker Stage. Music will be broadcast through the speakers on the trellis of the Great Lawn so that even those strolling through the Park can enjoy the sights and sounds of dancing on the Pritzker Stage. Unless otherwise noted, dance lessons and dancing are accompanied by recorded music.

Find more schedule details online.

Admission is free but space is limited. Doors open 30 minutes before the lessons begin. Early arrival is recommended.

Beverages and warm refreshments from the Park Grill will be on sale in the Pritzker Pavilion and near the McCormick Tribune Ice Rink.

Get more information online at