Thursday, December 22, 2011

Ideas for the Holiday Week

Happy Holidays! The holiday week is coming up, and offers up some top picks for the weekend and for next week. In addition to these events, you might still be able to find a spot in a Winter Break camp for your kids.

Through December 30
A Christmas Story, The Musical!

The Chicago Theatre, 175 N. State St., Chicago
The Musical! chronicles young and bespectacled Ralphie Parker as he schemes his way towards the holiday gift of his dreams - a Red Ryder Action Air Rifle BB Gun - "You'll shoot your eye out kid!" A kooky leg lamp, outrageous pink bunny pajamas, a maniacal department store Santa, and a double-dog-dare to lick a freezing flagpole are just a few of the distractions that stand between young Ralphie and his Christmas wish. NO CHRISTMAS DAY SHOW. All ages. $35-$79. Read more...

Through December 31
Goodnight Moon: The Musical
Victory Gardens, 2433 N. Lincoln Avenue, Chicago
CCT’s family-friendly celebration of one of the most iconic children’s books of all time. Watch as Bunny’s room magically comes alive as he dances and sings his way to sweet dreams through nursery rhyme scenes with dancing bears with chairs, the Cat and the Fiddle, the Cow Jumping Over the Moon and even a trip through the night sky with dancing constellations. Ages 4 and up. Remaining shows on December 23, 27, 28, 29, 30 and 31. $25 children; $35 adults. Read more...

Through January 1
Winter Carnival

Glenview Ice Arena, 1851 Landwehr Rd., Glenview
Avoid winter break boredom! Come to the Glenview Ice Center’s annual Winter Carnival held during the school holiday break. Check the web site to see which activities take place each day, including Public Skating, Skating Lessons, Introduction to Development Hockey Lessons, Drop & Shop, Parent-Child Hockey Scrimmages, Family New Year’s Party, New Year’s Day Celebration, Ice Factor Competition, Hockey Skills Competition and more. All ages. Fees vary based on activity. No activities on Christmas Day. Read more...

Through August 2012
New Exhibit! Gods, Myths and Mortals

National Hellenic Museum, 333 S. Halsted Street, Chicago
Gods, Myths and Mortals invites visitors on an interactive journey through the world of ancient Greece. Visitors of all ages will meet the gods, experience ancient Greek daily life and interact with the epic poems The Iliad and The Odyssey through over 25 engaging interactive components – climb into a 12 foot tall Trojan Horse, journey into a Cyclops Cave and then a karaoke cave to sing like a Siren. Alla ges. Free with general admission, $7-$10. Closed Christmas and New Year's Day.


Through January 8
Winter WonderFest

Navy Pier, 600 E. Grand Ave., Chicago
Enjoy more time to have more fun inside an enchanted 170,000 square foot winter playground! Bring the entire family for days of entertainment, Chicago Blackhawks indoor ice skating, huge inflatable slides, rides, and so much more. Your family holiday memories are even more cherished when shared at Winter WonderFest. Special events are taking place throughout the festival, see web site for details. All ages. Free to attend, prices vary by activity. Open on Christmas Eve, closed Christmas Day!

Through January 1

Lincoln Park Zoo, 2200 N. Cannon Dr., Chicago
See the Zoo lit up in beautiful holiday lights, and enjoy a visit with Santa in the wildest spot in town, animals from around the world, live ice carving, holiday crafts, delicious food, hot spiced wine and unique holiday shopping. CLOSED DECEMBER 24 & 25. All ages. Free! Read more...

Monday, December 12, 2011

Unconventional holiday theater: Tinsel! The Musical

Not your usual holiday story! This season, your family can visit the magical world of the North Pole with TINSEL! THE MUSICAL, an original holiday musical from Chicago's local Li'l Buds Theatre playing at the Greenhouse Theater.

Tinsel! The Musical tells the story of a nearsighted reindeer's rise from life as a clumsy waitress in Frosty's diner to being a famous recording artist. With a unique blend of country, jazz, blues and pop music, young audience members will learn about the pitfalls of fame and the rewards of being true to yourself.

For all ages. Playing now through December 20. Tickets $12 for kids, $18 adults. Learn more at

Greenhouse Theater is located at 2257 N Lincoln Ave., Chicago.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Chicago area Winter Camps 2011

Find a winter camp or winter break activity at some of these great Chicago and suburban locations. This is just a small sampling of the many winter camps you'll find on our Winter Camps page!

Actors Gymnasium Circus & Performing Arts Camp
927 Noyes Street, Evanston
The Actors Gymnasium Circus and Performing Arts Winter-Break Camp is perfect for young performers who want to strengthen, stretch and flex their creative muscles. Each day begins with a warm-up, followed by training and workshops in circus, drama, and movement. Circus skills covered include juggling, tumbling, trapeze, tightwire, stilts, and more. Ages 9-14 years old. December 27-30 & January 3-6, 9am - 4pm. $265 for one week, $475 for both. (847) 328-2795. Learn more...

Chicago Botanic Garden
1000 Lake Cook Road, Glencoe
Children ages 5 to 8 will investigate weather, explore seasonal adaptations of plants and animals, and enjoy a visit to our Wonderland Express holiday exhibition. Writers' Theatre will provide campers with activities for developing their creative expression. December 19 – 22, 9:30 a.m. – 3 p.m. Nonmembers $275 / Members $220. (847) 835-8361. Learn more...

Easel Art Studio
1911 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago
Easel art studio's winter camp runs December 16th till January 6th, and offers a 9am to 1pm camp or a 9am to 3pm camp. Each day a different activity is planned, and we've teamed up with Penguin Foot Pottery and Dance Spa South so thatkids can create pottery pieces and dance the snowflakes away. So pack a lunch, (no nut products please), throw on your snow pants and join the fun! Half day $45 per day, full day $75 per day. (773) 360-1720. Learn more...

Emerald City Theatre School
2933 N. Southport Ave., Chicago
Come inside and out of the cold with our theatre teachers and other campers to warm up with drama games, songs, and storytelling activities. Special winter-themed crafts will round out our time together. On the final chilly day, campers will present their very own unique winter wonderland full of their own characters and stories to family and friends. December 26 - 30, 2011 and/or January 2 - 6, 2012. Ages 3.5 - 5: Half Day AM Camps Monday - Friday, 9 am - 12 pm, $225. Ages 6 - 10: Full Day Camps Monday - Friday, 9:00 am - 3:00 pm, $450. (773) 529-2690. Learn more...

GreenApple Campus
DePaul University Naperville and Lincoln Park Campus
At Destination Innovation Winter Break, come build, invent, create and innovate with GreenApple Campus. Lego, Robotics & Digital Media are all on the menu plus pizza for full day participants. Session 1 is Dec 26 to 30, Session 2 is Jan 2 to Jan 6. $350 Monday - Friday 9:00am to 3:00pm (pizza lunch included full day only.) $180 Monday - Friday 9:00am to 12:00pm. $75 single day 9:00am to 3:00pm. (877) 735-4550. Learn more...

Hubbard Street Dance Center
1147 W. Jackson Blvd., Chicago
Winter Break Dance Camp - Design, Dance and Discover! A Hubbard Street Dance Chicago/Chicago Children’s Museum experience. Come join HSDC and CCM as we celebrate the spirit of play. Students will spend three days in the studios of Hubbard Street Dance Chicago exploring the creative processes of dance and visual art – presenting their work to friends and family in a fabulous performance in the Great Hall at the Chicago Children’s Museum on the fourth day. January 3-6, 2012. $225. (312) 850-9766. Learn more...

Visit for a full list of Winter Camp options!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Breakfasts, Brunches and Lunches with Santa

Santa must have been dieting all year, because efforts are underway all over town to help fatten him up. Join Santa at one of these many breakfasts and brunches, and help him make sure his bright red pants don't slip off while he's out delivering toys! Find more in the Calendar of Events.

Note: Pretty much all of these events require reservations, so call and plan ahead.

Breakfast with Santa at Lamb's Farm
December 10, 11, 17, 18.
Santa heads over to Lamb's Farm for a delicious buffet and holiday activities, including a picture with jolly ol’ St. Nick and a reading by Mrs. Claus of ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas on December 10.

Time: Seatings at 9 a.m., 10:30 a.m. and Noon
Cost: $15.95 per person (Children under 2 eat free with a $7.95 charge for all activities and photo with Santa)

Learn more

Breakfast with Santa at Brookfield Zoo
Saturdays and Sundays December 4-18.
Santa doesn't leave out the animals on his tour of morning feasts. Join him at Brookfield Zoo for a child-friendly buffet, and Santa will join in for family photos and give the kids a holiday gift.

Time: Seatings at 9am and 11am
Cost: Adults member $29, nonmember $29; Child member $21.50, nonmember $27.50. Under 3 free.

Learn more

Breakfast with Santa Claus at Macy's State Street and Old Orchard
Saturdays and Sundays, Dec 3-18.
Fuel up before you shop with an exclusive breakfast with Santa Claus at Macy's. Enjoy a yummy, plated breakfast, children's entertainment and a visit from Santa Claus.

Time: 9 am
Cost: $16.95 per person and $12.95 for children under 10 years.

Learn more

Shedd Holiday Breakfast
Saturdays, November 26th, December 10th, 17th & 24th, 2011
Santa might miss an entire day of work at this event, with activities going on all day! The day begins with a full breakfast, and then your family can enjoy The Polar Express 4-D Experience, A Holiday Fantasea aquatic show, meeting Santa at the Polar Play Zone, photos and more.

Time: 8am
Cost: $44.95 for adults & $34.95 for children 3 to 11, Shedd members receive a $5 discount.

Learn more

Breakfast with Santa at Soldier Field
December 10
Santa drops by our Bears' home turf for a fantastic holiday breakfast feast. Join him for the Unied Club's fine dining, and enjoy activities including a hand-made ornament contest, cookie decorating, an electric train display and more.

Time: 10:00am
Cost: Adults $55; Children 4 to 12 $25; Under 3 Free

Learn more

Lunch Cruise with Santa on the Spirit of Chicago
December 10
Santa will be cruising on the Chicago River along with guests for this lunch with Santa aboard the Spirit of Chicago. Your family can enjoy a festive lunch buffet, live solos by the talented staff and engaging DJ entertainment.

Time: Board at 12:30pm, Cruise 1:15 - 3:15pm.
Cost: $39.90 per adult, $19.95 per child age 3-12

Learn more

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Chicago area Children's Holiday Theater productions

'Tis the holiday season, and there are lots of fantastic family holiday theatre productions to enjoy! Here are some of the productions taking place now through the holidays, and you can visit our Children's Theater Listing page to see more.

A Christmas Carol
Metropolis Performing Arts Centre
November 25 - December 24
The beloved tale brings miserly old Scrooge to life, taking you along on his journey with the spirits of Christmas as he discovers there is more joy in the world than he ever thought possible. It’s an enchanting, musical adaptation of the holiday classic that’s sure to delight the whole family.
Learn more

A Christmas Story, The Musical!
Governors State University
December 14-30
America's #1 Christmas movie comes to life on stage as a hilarious holiday musical. A kooky leg lamp, outrageous pink bunny pajamas, a maniacal department store Santa, and a double-dog-dare to lick a freezing flagpole are just a few of the distractions that stand between young Ralphie and his Christmas wish.
Learn more

The Christmas Schooner
The Mercury Theatre
November 16 - December 31
The whole family will enjoy this heart-warming story of the first Christmas tree ship, and the people who risked their lives to fill Chicago with the Christmas spirit. THE CHRISTMAS SCHOONER reminds us of tradition, and our responsibility to celebrate the living while honoring heritage.
Learn more

The ComedySportz Crew Saves Santa
The ComedySportz Theatre
November 19 - December 17
The ComedySportz Crew has never been more excited! They are using the Imagination Machine to meet Santa Claus! But at the North Pole, Santa's been kidnapped by the evil Expensivo. The crew must use their ComedySportz imaginations to save Santa and stop Expensivo!
Learn more

Hannukatz the Musical
National Pastime Theater
December 2-31
The National Pastime Theater presents its first annual holiday show, the only Hannukah musical on earth. The National Pastime Theater unveils Terry Abrahamson’s newly penned (newly spelled), rocking, irreverent, interactive theater event for “that other December holiday,” for those who celebrate Hannukah and those who don't.
Learn more

Irving Berlin's White Christmas
Stahl Family Theater
October 19 - January 1
One of America’s most beloved silver screen classics is now a brand new stage musical – Irving Berlin's WHITE CHRISTMAS. Packed with hits like "Blue Skies," "Count Your Blessings," and the title song "White Christmas," your entire family will celebrate this magical time of year with this beautiful new musical.
Learn more

Junie B. Jones in Jingle Bells, Batman Smells
Emerald City at Apollo Theater
November 17, 2011 - January 8, 2012
In Junie B. Jones’ world, things are very clear – Christmas means you get presents, elf costumes are awesome, and May is a blabbermouth tattletale. Things are going so well, until Junie B. pulls May as her Secret Santa! With Santa watching her like a hawk, what will Junie B. do?
Learn more

Robert Joffrey’s The Nutcracker
Governors State University
December 9-27
The world renowned Joffrey Ballet once again transforms the Auditorium Theatre into a winter wonderland full of magical toys and waltzing snowflakes during the annual production of Robert Joffrey’s The Nutcracker.
Learn more

The Sound of Music
Drury Lane - Oakbrook
Playing October 20 - January 8
Set in Austria on the brink of WWII, Maria a postulant, proves too high-spirited for the religious life and is dispatched to serve as governess for the seven children of a widowed naval Captain. Her growing rapport with the youngsters, coupled with her generosity of spirit, gradually captures the heart of the stern Captain.
Learn more

Tinsel! the Musical
Lil Buds Theatre at Greenhouse Theater
November 26th - December 20th
Telling the story of a nearsighted reindeer's rise from life as a clumsy waitress in Frosty's diner to being a famous recording artist, TINSEL! THE MUSICAL will put the star on top of your holiday season with its unique blend of country, jazz, blues and pop music. Young audience members will learn about the pitfalls of fame and the rewards of being true to yourself.
Learn more

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thanksgiving Weekend Family Fun

If you're staying in town for Thanksgiving, you'll find that there's no shortage of activities this weekend! In addition to Thanksgiving fun, many of this year's Holiday events are now getting underway. So forget shopping on Black Friday - get out there and do something fun!

November 25-27
Shrek the Musical
Rosemont Theatre, 5400 N. River Rd., Rosemont
Shrek the Musical tells the story of a swamp-dwelling ogre who goes on a life-changing adventure to reclaim the deed to his land. Joined by a wise-cracking donkey, this unlikely hero fights a fearsome dragon, rescues a feisty princess and learns that real friendship and true love aren’t only found in fairy tales. Ages 4 and up. See web site for show times. Ticket prices range from $22.50 - $87.50. Read more...

November 25
From Trash to Table: Transforming Leftovers into Delicious Dishes
Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, 2430 N. Cannon Drive, Chicago
Join Chef Jill Houk as she shares her passion for food this Friday by turning Thanksgiving leftovers into all new meals! She'll take you through cooking with your surplus turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce, and will explain how food doesn't have to be boring the second time around. All ages. 1:30 -3:00 p.m. Included with admission. Read more...

November 26
The Flying Karamazov Brothers
The Paramount Theatre, 23 E. Galena Blvd., Aurora
For more than 35 years, The Flying Karamazov Brothers have brought their signature brand of physical humor and entertainment to theaters around the globe. Direct from Broadway, their latest show 4-Play is 100 minutes of cleverness and comedy with endless juggling (including items from the audience), a zany ballet, and banter that's part Marx Brothers, part Monty Python - 100% pure glee! 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. $28.50-$38.50. Read more...

November 26
Vienna Boys Choir
Symphony Center, 220 South Michigan Avenue, Chicago
One of the oldest boys' choirs existing in the world and a symbol of Austria for nearly 500 years, Vienna Boys Choir returns to Symphony Center with a variety of traditional and holiday songs that are sure to delight the whole family. Kick off your holiday celebration with this popular and essential Thanksgiving weekend event! Ages 8 and up. 3pm. $22 - $83. Read more...


November 19
Ice Skating at the McCormick Tribune Ice Rink
Millennium Park, Michigan Avenue between Randolph/Monroe, Chicago
Skate of those holiday calories -The McCormick Tribune Ice Rink in Millennium Park is open! The rink, now in its eleventh season, draws more than 100,000 skaters annually and is free and open to the public. Skate rental is available for $10. This weekend, the rink is open Thanksgiving 10 a.m. — 4 p.m., Friday 12pm - 10pm, Saturday 10am - 10pm, Sunday 10am - 9pm. Read more...

November 24
McDonald's Thanksgiving Day Parade
State Street from Congress to Randolph
Start your holiday with a parade! The McDonald’s® Thanksgiving Parade features sky-high balloons, dazzling equestrian units, the nation’s top marching bands, talented dance troupes and the best in varied cultural entertainment. It takes place on State Street on Thanksgiving Day, from 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. This year’s lineup includes a wide range of spectacular group performances including Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® present Fully Charged, Million Dollar Quartet and more. Free. Read more...

November 24
Thanksgiving Day Feast for the Animals
Brookfield Zoo, First Avenue and 31st Street, Brookfield
The annual Thanksgiving Day feast for the animals begins at Noon and features guests helping dish out tasty nutritious treats to the goats, cows, llamas and horses. Menu items include apples, carrots, sweet corn, oranges, timothy hay, alfalfa, hog chow, grapes, lettuce, bananas, and duck chow. After helping out, guests can watch as zookeepers feed some of the not-so-tame animals like the hawks, owls, woodchucks and raccoons. All ages. Starts at noon. Free admission! Read more...

November 25
20th Annual Wreathing of the Lions
Art Institute of Chicago, 111 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago
Celebrate the start of the holiday season with the 20th anniversary of this Chicago family favorite as the lions are adorned with traditional evergreen wreaths! Performances by the Wooten Choral Ensemble add melodic cheer outside during the ceremony and inside the museum immediately following. Hot tea, provided by Argo Tea, will keep your taste buds happy and your insides toasty warm. Families can stop by the Ryan Education Center to create wreaths inspired by the many treasures in the museum’s collection and meet Artie the Lion! All ages. 10am - 3pm. Free. Read more...

November 23 through December 24
Daley Plaza, 50 W. Washington, Chicago
The Christkindlmarket outdoor market is no longer just a German tradition, it has become a Chicago institution. The unique shopping experience, typical German food and drinks, as well as diverse holiday entertainment make the Christkindlmarket Chicago a preferred and popular destination. Admission is FREE! Read more...

November 26
Santa's Craft Corner at Cosley Zoo
Cosley Zoo, 1356 N. Gary Ave., Wheaton
Can’t make it to the North Pole? Do the next best thing and come to Cosley Zoo! Enjoy a visit with Santa, make a craft or two and enjoy cookies, punch and coffee. Photos with Santa are available for a small fee. Free Zoo admission! For ages 2 and up. 10am - 2pm. Zoo admission is free; $2/person suggested donation. Read more...

November 25-27
Lincoln Park Zoo, 2200 N. Cannon Dr., Chicago
Opening this weekend! Zoo lights takes place weekends through the 11th, and then nightly from December 16 - January 1. You can visit with Santa, see animals from around the world, watch live ice carving, try holiday crafts, and enjoy delicious food, hot spiced wine and holiday shopping. All ages. 5-9 p.m. Free. Read more...

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Goodnight Moon the Musical!

Margaret Wise Brown books have always been a staple of our night-time story book routine, and I've always associated them with putting kids to bed. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that the storyline behind "Goodnight Moon the Musical" was less about kids falling asleep, and more humorously about one little bunny that simply does NOT want to go to bed.

I was a bit hesitant about the concept at first, because it was hitting too close to home - every night at our house is a challenge with what we call "nonsense." But for that very reason, my 3-year-old daughter Mia seems to find it hilarious, as she could totally relate to Bunny.

This is a great show for the younger audiences. The set was fantastic and looked just like Bunny's room from the book, so kids start off with a sense of the familiar. Also familiar to young kids - doing "nonsense" at bedtime! So when Bunny asks for more water, and jumps on the bed, and continues playing, kids were on board.

Bunny sings, dances, and clowns his way around his room in an epic battle against bedtime, encountering characters that come to life, from the pictures on his wall to the toys on his shelf. Memorable antics include the Hey Diddle Diddle characters acting out their story in his bedroom, the Three Bears calling ahead before visiting Bunny in his room, and the goofiness that goes on between Bunny and his pal Mouse.

This is a great show for young audiences, and parents will relate as well.

Chicago Children's Theater at Victory Gardens Biograph Theatre

2433 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago
$26 children, $36 adults
(773) 871-3000

Through December 23, 2011

Monday, October 24, 2011

Win tickets to Shrek the Musical!

SHREK THE MUSICAL is coming to the Chicago area and will play the Rosemont Theatre, 5400 N. River Road for one weekend only, Nov. 25 – 27, 2011!

We're giving away 2 family 4-packs of tickets to the show - enter through October 31 for your chance to win!

An entirely new musical which opened on Broadway December, 2009, SHREK THE MUSICAL is based on the story and characters from William Steig’s book Shrek!, as well as the DreamWorks Animation film Shrek, the first chapter of the Shrek movie series.

SHREK THE MUSICAL tells the story of a swamp-dwelling ogre who goes on a life-changing adventure to reclaim the deed to his land. Joined by a wise-cracking donkey, this unlikely hero fights a fearsome dragon, rescues a feisty princess and learns that real friendship and true love aren’t only found in fairy tales.

Learn more and purchase tickets.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

2011 Halloween Weekend Event Highlights

If you love Halloween, you're probably already looking for activities for Halloween weekend! Here are some highlights below, and you can find many more options in our Halloween Zone's listing of Halloween Happenings. Happy Halloween!


October 30
Trick or Treat in Downtown Naperville
Main Street Promenade, 55 S. Main St, Naperville
Gather your little ghouls & goblins and head to downtown Naperville to trick or treat door to door to various shops & restaurants who will be passing our yummy candy treats. The Main Street Promenade, in partnership with Naperville Dental Specialists & Innovative Orthodontic Centers will have a Fall Festival at the Main Street Promenade including Shutterbox photos, crafts, costumed characters & more. The Naperville Trolley will also be circling the downtown providing free trolley rides! Always a great day of fun for kids & their parents. All ages. 11am - 2pm. FREE. Read more...

October 29-30
Trains, Tricks and Treats
Chicago Botanic Garden, 1000 Lake Cook Road, Glencoe
Trick-or-treat throughout the Model Railroad Garden to celebrate Halloween and the end of the railroad's season at Trains, Tricks & Treats on October 29 and 30. The Model Railroad Garden will be decorated with spider webs, spiders, ghosts, goblins, and pumpkins, as well as seasonal plant materials. Visitors will see figurines of trick-or-treaters on Main Street, bats and crawly creatures, a graveyard, and more, all tucked among miniature scenes of America's best-loved landmarks and beautiful gardens planted to scale. All ages. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. $5 for adults and $3 for children ages 3 to 12. Members save $1. Parking $20. Read more...

October 29-30
Boo! at the Zoo
Brookfield Zoo, First Avenue and 31st Street, Brookfield
From a crazy costume parade to pumpkin-carving demonstrations, Brookfield Zoo’s annual Boo! at the Zoo festival is the perfect way to celebrate Halloween, and everyone is invited to attend! The not-so-scary event will include frightfully fun activities for the entire family! All ages. Included with admission. Read more...

October 30
Halloween Magic
Rosemont Theatre, 5400 N. River Road, Rosemont
The Magic Dentist, Dr. Mark Kaschube is putting on a show full of spooky Halloween tricks along with his ensemble of mischievous tricksters. Also on the program is one of the most original an astounding magic acts ever seen on the stage, “Quick Change,” featuring the astoundingly quick costume change act of David Mass and Dania Kaseeva. 100 percent of the proceeds from ticket sales will go to Salute, Inc., a non-profit organization that provides financial support for military men and women and their families. All ages. 2pm. $20 for adults ages 13 and older, and $10 for children ages 12 and younger. Read more...


October 30
Beat Kitchen Halloween Concert & Party with Mr. Singer & the Sharp Cookies
Beat Kitchen, 2100 W. Belmont, Chicago sponsors the Beat Kitchen Concerts for Kids! Join us for a special Halloween Concert with Mr. Singer & the Sharp Cookies. Come in costume, dance to the music, and enjoy crafts and activities with Wishcraft Studio, Building Blocks Toy Store and After the show, you can enjoy Roscoe Village's 2011 Halloween Parade, which kicks off at 2pm at Leavitt and Roscoe and is followed by trick or treating at local merchants. Ages 0-6. Noon. $6. Read more...

October 31
Little Beans Halloween Party
Little Beans Cafe, 1809 W. Webster, Chicago
The Little Beans Village gets a little silly and spooky! Enjoy games, face painting, trick-or-treating in the "village," and ice cream eyeballs from the ice cream shop! Put those costumes on a few hours early and come have a ghostly good time. Price includes playspace admission, trick-or-treating, games, face painting, and a special ice cream eyeball treat! All ages. 2-5pm. $20/Child, $15/Sibling. Read more...


October 27-30
Haunted Quarry
Batavia Park District - Hall Quarry Beach, 400 South Water Street, Batavia
Was that just the wind blowing in the trees or is someone walking up behind you? Swimming season has ended but that doesn`t mean all is quiet at the Quarry! Face your fears and experience all the nightmares that await you at the Haunted Quarry. Haunted Quarry provides very scary fun for kids over age 10 on October 27-29 from 7pm - 11pm, and then offers less scary fun for younger kids on Saturday Oct 30 from noon 3pm. Read more...

Friday, September 30, 2011

Join our Pajama Party for Read for the Record

You may have already heard the buzz about Jumpstart's Read for the Record campaign. On October 6, people across the country will read the children’s book Llama Llama Red Pajama by Anna Dewdney, as part of this national campaign that mobilizes adults and children to close the early education achievement gap by setting a reading world record. There will be reading events taking place across the country, from public libraries to schools to private homes. is proud to co-host a special reading event at noon on October 6 with Building Blocks Toy Store. We're having a Read for the Record Pajama Party, and our special guest will be Judy Oliva, Divisional Vice President for Bright Horizons Early Education and Preschool, who will read to the audience. There will be refreshments, balloons, temporary tattoos and a small party favor for kids that attend. Plus, a possible surprise guest appearance. Kids should dress up in pajamas for this special reading!

Building Blocks will be celebrating all week with readings by local community leaders including Ann Torralba, aka "Little Miss Ann;" Alderman Scott Waguespack of the 32nd Ward; Sarah Cobb of Neighborhood Parents Network; and Brenna Woodley, Founder of Bundle of Joy. Visit Building Blocks' web site for more details and the full schedule.

More about Jumpstart's Read for the Record

A child’s future should not be dictated by the neighborhood they are born into. Yet, in low income neighborhoods, children start kindergarten 60% behind their wealthier peers, and likely will never catch up. Studies show that a quality early education can set children on a path for success, helping to close this achievement gap. Jumpstart is a national early education organization that recruits and trains college students and community volunteers to work with preschool children in low-income neighborhoods. Through a proven curriculum, these children develop the language and literacy skills they need to be ready for school, setting them on a path to close the achievement gap before it is too late.

Pledge to Read at and help Jumpstart close the early education achievement gap.


Every child deserves the chance to succeed, yet studies show that children from low-income neighborhoods are at a greater risk of school failure. Jumpstart is a national early education organization that helps these children develop the language and literacy skills they need for school, setting them on a path to close the achievement gap before it is too late. Since 1993, Jumpstart has trained more than 20,000 college students and community volunteers to deliver its program to more than 90,000 preschool children nationwide. Jumpstart’s award-winning program holds a “Best in America” seal from Independent Charities of America. Join us to work toward the day every child in America enters school prepared to succeed. Learn more at

Read for the Record Pajama Party
Thursday, October 6 at Noon
Building Blocks Toy Store
2130 W. Division Street, Chicago

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Interview with Charles Martin Smith, Director of Dolphin Tale

Today I had the pleasure of sitting down with Charles Martin Smith, director of the movie Dolphin Tale, which opened this weekend. Dolphin Tale is based on the true story of a dolphin named Winter, who loses her tail after being caught in a net. She receives a prosthetic tail, and becomes an inspiration to others with her perserverence and positive attitude. She plays herself in the movie, with a cast that includes Harry Connick Jr., Ashley Judd, Morgan Freeman, Kris Kristofferson, Austin Stowell, and child actors Nathan Gamble and Cozi Zuehlsdorff.

View the trailer/web site

What was it like for you personally when you first met Winter?

I was so surprised at how personable she is. She has so much personality - she's playful, she's mischievous. She's not a fully grown dolphin yet, she's about 5 years old, which is in human terms like an 11 year old kid. So she has some of those personality traits. She is funny, she's very noisy and vocal and very curious. She's the one who will decide if you can get in the pool with her or if you can't. She likes people around, so sometimes she gets mad if you get out of the pool too soon. She's got so much personality. I was really surprised.

Did Winter need to go through any kind of training so that she could take direction, or was there anything that you did to help her in her role?

You know, not so much. What I decided to do from the beginning is to take things that she does naturally and put them on film. She does work two dolphin specialists that put her through various regular exercises to help correct the problem with her tail. So I use those kinds of things she does - they have taught her to come over when they need her, which they do for medical treatments, daily massages, therapy and so on. So she has a certain amount of that, but really she's still pretty much a wild animal.

In the preview, she has an immediate special connection with Nathan Gamble's character Sawyer. When she met the actors, how did she react to them?

She really bonded with Nathan. But she liked all of them, she loves children, maybe because she's a kid herself. It was funny, when we cast Nathan we couldn't officially offer him the part until he met Winter, just on the off-chance that when he went to Clearwater she didn't like him for some reason. Or, on the off-chance - I mean, she's 250 pounds, she's a big animal - that he'd be a little skittish around her.

If they didn't get along, if they didn't have good chemistry, then we couldn't cast him. But as it turned out, she liked him immediately, and vice versa, and you could see it in the film. They really, really enjoyed being together. It's like chemistry between two humans.

Are there any restrictions with filming with animal, with Winter?

One of the things that we all talked about going into this shoot, and that I was adamant about, was that our number one priority was Winter's wellbeing. Making the movie was number two. So if there were days when she didn't feel like coming over, or if she was a little tired or something, we wanted the people who work with her to let us know, and we would immediately shift and shoot something else. And that's difficult to do in a movie schedule, to totally change the plan for the day when it comes to filming. But we did it with her because her wellbeing was our main concern.

There are a number of scenes in it where we use an animatronic, so for anything that was difficult or stressful that we wouldn't want Winter to do, we used the animatronic, or used CGI.

Are there any days when Winter was having an "off" day, where you had to cancel things and not continue?

Yep, absolutely. There were days when she just wasn't feeling like it. We had a couple of days where we were working on scenes that she wasn't in, and she would come over to the edge of the pool - we call it "spy hopping" - she'd kinda stick her head up and look around and go "Tweet! Tweet! Tweet!" and make all this noise, which was ruining the dialogue track. And she's making so much noise as if to say "Hey! What about me, I'm the star of this movie, why don't you come film me?"

What made you decide to make this movie in 3-D?

We wanted to use the 3-D to give the audience the feeling that they're right there in the water with Sawyer and Winter, and bring the audience into this underwater world. I always had the idea that I wanted to open the movie with Winter in her natural habitat, with the other dolphins, swimming out in the ocean, and by shooting that in 3-D, you really feel like you're there under the water. That was really the main thing, to use the 3-D to draw the audience into that world.

There must be some funny outtakes from this film. What were some of the funniest things that happened while working with Winter?

She's hilarious. She actually stole Abby's [dolphin specialist] cell phone once, and stuck it to the drain at the bottom of the tank, where the suction holds it to the drain. It took Abby three days to find her phone.

And the first time that Winter wears the tail in the movie, she shakes it off and doesn't want it anymore, and then she goes and gets it and hands it back to Abby. And that really happened the first time they tried the prosthetic tail on Winter, she didn't want it. But she got it and brought it back and handed it to them like, "You want this more than me." She actually fetched it and came back and gave it to them.

What positive impact from this film have you seen on people with disabilities or with prosthetics?

When I first went, I spent 3 days there with her, just swimming with her, watching Winter, talking to the biologists and people that work with her at the hospital there. And I saw a little boy, he was about 6, and he'd lost a limb to cancer and he'd just gone through chemo. His mom had brought him to see Winter, and when he got in the water with her, she was so gentle with him. I think she understood that he was sick and that he was wearing a prosthetic, and he was so moved, and his mother was so moved and inspired.

And I saw all the letters that children write. One little girl had written "Once I visited, I said to myself, if Winter can do it, so can I." That happens every day. Every day, physically challenged people, veterans who have lost limbs… it's so, so moving. So I wrote in the script the scene with the little girl in the wheelchair. And we have a character who is a veteran, who is badly injured and paralyzed, so Winter means so much to him.

She's an inspirational animal. She never feels sorry for herself. She has this very indomitable spirit, a good sense of humor. She's clever, smart and optimistic. You just feel that from Winter.

I have some questions from kids for you now. First - What does Winter like to play with when she takes a break?

She's playful, she's funny - she does have toys that she likes. She loves to get up on her mattress. And she likes to roughhouse - she'll wrestle with you! We have a bunch of documentary footage at the end, and you see her using her rostrum to kind of wrestle with and play with one of the dolphin workers. She likes to roughhouse, swim - loves to grab you and go swimming with you.

Next Kid Question: What kind of food does Winter like to eat?

Winter, like all dolphins, eats Fish! And there's two kinds of fish that she gets. One are called capelin, they're a small fish; and the bigger fish are herring, which have a little more fat. And she really likes the herring.

And do you know that dolphins don't chew? They have all these sharp teeth which they use to grab the fish, then they gulp them down whole. And they're very picky about the food they give Winter. They get her food from the same place that restaurants get their food, only they are even more picky about what they give to her. If something doesn't look quite right about the fish, then they don't give it to her.

Last Kid Question: Was there really a soldier in the story, or was that only part of the script?

It's part of the script, as are the kids. They're part of the script that we used, but they represent all of the different soldiers that have come and been moved by Winter. And Morgan Freeman, who plays the scientist that designs the prosthetic, represents two guys actually - Dan Strzempka and Kevin Carroll, who work at Hanger Prosthetics. They're the ones that made the prosthetic. So it's kind of like you take a bunch of characters and roll them into one to tell the story.

This is such an inspirational movie. How do you think this movie might affect what you do down the road?

I always look for something that's got some inspirations, or is at least about something - something that has something positive to put out in the world.

View the official Dolphin Tale web site

Monday, September 19, 2011

Babies Tots n' More Consignment Event

Whether you want to stock up your kids' wardrobes for this winter, or unload the clothes, toys and accessories they've outgrown, the Babies Tots n' More event is the place you want to be!

Babies, Tots and More is a children’s seasonal consignment event featuring the highest quality toys, clothing and accessories appropriate for the coming season. The event also features children’s furniture, baby/child gear, strollers, maternity items and more. In addition to consigned goods, Babies, Tots n' More also features a selection of the area’s best new and custom goods.

I've attended the event in the past, and was impressed by the amount of merchandise as well as the prices. How impressed? I'm actually holding off on buying my daughter new clothes for this season until after this event... and I postponed a weekend trip until the following weekend so that I would not miss it!

This year, for the first time, I'm also going to consign. It's a very organized and easy process. The web site is set up so that you can apply for a drop off time (hurry before the spots are gone!) and then you can input each item that you want to sell. You then print out your tags, get your items in order, and make your drop.

You'll find brands ranging from Carter's, Baby Gap and Old Navy to Ralph Lauren, Hanna Anderson, and other designer labels. And I can tell you based on what I'm bringing in that lots of items will be in great condition - I've got plenty of things to sell that my daughter never even wore!

Friday, October 14, 2011
10:00 AM – 7:00 PM

Saturday, October 15, 2011
9:00 AM – 12:30 PM, 1:00 PM – 4:00 PM
(Most Items 1/2 Price after 1:00 PM)

Visit the Babies, Tots n' More Web site.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Kids Science Labs Opens in Lincoln Park

Your budding mad scientist now has a safe place for hands-on experiments! Kids Science Labs has opened in Lincoln Park, in a big, bright space that will inspire the scientifically-minded.

We stopped by for the Grand Opening, and saw each classroom packed with kids mesmerized by science demonstrations and having fun with hands-on activities and experiments. Judging by the interactions we saw, kids are going to love this place!

KSL's hands-on classes for kids aged 2-12 are all based on science that kids understand, because they address practical life experiences with materials and objects that kids encounter everyday. The classes are fun and engaging, and build creativity, critical thinking and problem solving skills. Every class begins with a fundamental question that is asked by kids everyday, and then hands-on science is used as a vehicle for engaging, discovering, and learning through actual experience.

Some sample classes:

  • Rainforest Real Estate: Will children bungle the jungle when faced with the opportunity to build a home in these lush lands? Students will face tough choices about clearing the jungle in order to continue the use of everyday goods we obtain from the rainforest.

  • Jake vs. the Quake: Children meet Jake, an ambitious architect, who will learn a thing or two about the importance of constructing foundations through hands-on fun. But watch out, Jake's home is prone to earthquakes and your child will get to test the importance of a building's foundation and design.

  • Fruit Smashanomics: Fruit mania meets beginning physics in this class that allows children to compare the structure of fruits while exploring gravity, impact, and acceleration in a splat-tastic way!

  • Liquidity Lesson: What is a liquid and how is different from solids? Students will explore everyday household items to understand principles of some common and uncommon liquids.

Intrigued? Try a free class and see if your little scientist gets hooked! Learn more at

Kids Science Labs
1550 N. Kingsbury (south end of the Whole Foods building)
Chicago 60646
(312) 806-2443

Monday, September 5, 2011

Midnight Circus at Circus in the Parks

Circus In The Parks, featuring Chicago’s Midnight Circus, a high-flying assortment of acrobats, aerialists, clowns, contortionists and even a dog will tour six Chicago parks in September and October under a brand new purple and blue little big top. So intimate, there is no such thing as a bad seat. This year’s tour is presented by Peoples Gas and the Chicago Park District and features a brand new show.

Since 2007 over $160,000 has been raised with this one of a kind community building/fundraising event.


Welles Park – 2333 W. Sunnyside
September 17th - 2pm & 5pm
September 18th - 1pm & 4pm

Holstein Park - 2200 N. Oakley
September 24th - 2pm & 5pm
September 25th - 1pm & 4pm

Independence Park – 3945 N. Springfield Mt.
October 1st - 2pm & 5pm
October 2nd - 1pm & 4pm

Greenwood Park – 3724 W. 111th
October - 8th - 2pm & 5pm
October - 9th - 1pm & 4pm

Commercial Park – 1845 W. Rice
October 15th - 2pm & 5pm
October 16th - 1pm & 4pm

Chase Park - 4701 N. Ashland
October 22nd - 2pm & 5pm
October 23rd - 1pm & 4pm

Tickets are $15 per person. Children under 3 years free. Discounts are available for groups of 20 or more. To purchase tickets visit

Wednesday, August 24, 2011 to sponsor Beat Kitchen's Concerts for Kids! Series is proud to sponsor the Beat Kitchen Concerts for Kids, a concert series that brings out Chicago's top local children's performers for fun shows in a true Chicago music venue.

The concert series kicks off with a Fall Fest on Sunday, September 11, featuring a day of activities, crafts, and performances. The day's schedule includes:

11am: Mary Macaroni
Noon: Sarah Jayne Parker
1pm: Baby Take a Bow, Hip Hop Workshop
2pm: The Hamburglars
3pm: Mindy Hester and the Time Outs
Fall Fest runs from 11am - 4pm and is $8 per person.

For the Fall concert series, shows start Sundays at noon and are unless otherwise indicated. The Beat Kitchen kitchen will be open serving something for everyone, from burgers and gourmet pizzas to pancakes and french toast.

Fall Concert Series Performance Schedule:

Sept 18: AndyRoo & the AndyRooniverse
Sept 25: The Dreamtree Shakers
Oct 2: Human-Tim + Robot-Tim
Oct 9: Kara Kesselring & Sugarcreek Road
Oct 16: Little Miss Ann Band
Oct 23: The Boogers
Oct 30: Mr. Singer & The Sharp Cookies special Halloween Show
Nov 6: Jeanie B! and The Jelly Beans
Nov 13: Suzi Shelton with special guest Little Miss Ann
Nov 20: Karen 4 Kids!
Dec 4: Super Stolie and the Rockstars
Dec 11: Mary Macaroni
Dec 18: Shana Sings! special Holiday Show

Beat Kitchen
2100 W. Belmont, Chicago

Thursday, August 11, 2011

End of Summer Top 5 To Do List

The summer has gone by faster than any other summer I can remember. Our family's "to do" list still has a lot of items that need to get checked off!

Here are a few summer activities that you should add to your list before it's too late!
  1. Family Fun Festival - This daily festival at Millennium Park includes music with Wiggleworms instructors, a reading circle and family entertainment, plus the chance to explore the Park and see the fountains and the Bean. Through August 21. Free!

  2. Cirque Shanghai Extreme - This high flying family circus is playing at Navy Pier's Skyline Stage, featuring feats of tumbling, juggling, balancing and more. Tickets start at $15, and you can check out the rest of the fun at Navy Pier before or after the show. Through September 5.

  3. Dancin' Sprouts - Wednesday evenings, pack a picnic and see some of our best local kid's bands on the promenade at the Chicago Botanic Garden. Remaining dates include Karen Jordan on 8/17, The Dreamtree Shakers on 8/24, and Mindy Hester & the Time Outs on 8/31. It's free!

  4. Story Time at Lincoln Park Zoo - Wednesday and Fridays at 9:15 and 10am, join Mr. Singer for silly songs and tall tales. Combine your outing with a walk through the zoo and a picnic with fresh, local foods at the nearby Green City Market. Through September 9. Free!

  5. Wizard of Oz Theatre-Hike - Weekends in August, walk along with the action of Wizard of Oz, going from scene to scene outdoors among 1,700 acres of trees and beautiful landscapes. The Sunday hikes are low impact and suitable for strollers, walkers and wheelchairs. Saturdays and Sundays through August 28.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Superheroes, Villains and more.... It's Comic Con for Kids

Comic Con is coming to the Chicago area this weekend, and it's not just for grownups! Kid's Day is Sunday August 14, and this is a day when kids of all ages can enjoy activities such as entering the costume contest, getting their faces painted, making their own super costumes, learning how to draw and write their own comic books, taking pictures with their favorite superheroes, showing off their Padawan skills with balloon light sabers, and much more. All kid-friendly activities, vendors, booths, and sessions will be designated with a Kid-Friendly button.

Lots of special guests will be on hand to meet and mingle with kids and families, including Wow! Wow! Wubbzy, Bruce Campbell (Evil Dead, Army of Darkness), Patrick Stewart (Star Trek, X-Men, American Dad), other celebrities and many artists and writers including Eisner Award winners and nominees. And aspiring artists can have their portfolios reviewed by David Campiti, who has helped launch many careers at Marvel and DC. And fun for everyone - get “simpsonized” by multi-award-winning Simpsons animator, Phil Ortiz!

Kid's Day is on Sunday
Thursday, August 11, 2011 - 5:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.
Friday, August 12, 2011 - Noon - 8:00 p.m.
Saturday, August 13, 2011 - 10:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m.
Sunday, August 14, 2011 - 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Donald E. Stephens Convention Center (Rosemont)
5555 N. River Road
Rosemont, IL 60018

1-Day Advance Ticket: $25
4-Day Advance Ticket: $50
Free for up to two kids ages 10 and under per paid ticket
VIP Experience Packages available

Learn more.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Little Beans Family Concert Series - Music, BBQ and Ice Cream!

Little Beans Cafe has taken some of my very favorite things - live music, BBQ, and ice cream - and put them all together for a great event series that starts this Saturday! I'm already less depressed about summer flying by so fast.

Every weekend in August, September and October, you can bring your family out to enjoy music from the area's top local kindie performers while feasting on BBQ and ice cream. Through the end of August, the shows will take place on Little Beans' new, amazing outdoor play deck, and they'll move indoors in September and October.

Check out this great lineup:

Saturday, August 6th: Jeanie B
Friday, August 12th: Mr. Singer
Saturday, August 20th: The Boogers
Friday, August 26th: Laura Doherty

Friday, September 2nd: Super Stoli
Friday, September 9th: The Doo Wop That Things
Friday, September 16th: Little Miss Ann
Friday, September 23rd: Mary Macaroni
Friday, September 30th: Mindy Hester & The Timeouts

Friday, October 7th: Scott the Steel Drum Guy
Friday, October 14th: Joel Frankel
Friday, October 21st: The DreamTree Shakers
Friday, October 28th: Jeanie B

Tickets can be purchased in advance on the Little Beans website at Visit the events page for a list of dates and to register. Tickets are $20 per person with discounts for families of 3 or more. Tickets include a 45-minute concert, play, BBQ food and ice cream!

Little Beans Cafe
1809 W. Webster, Chicago
(773) 251-1025

Sunday, July 24, 2011

The Adventures of Pinocchio at Chicago Shakepeare Theater

I was invited to see The Adventures of Pinocchio at Shakespeare theater, and I checked it out last week with my daughter Mia in tow (she turned 3 in April) and - just in case - our babysitter. The production is recommended for ages 5 and up, so I figured that perhaps after Mia saw Pinocchio doing his "I've Got No Strings" number, and after she got to meet Jiminy Cricket, she'd lose interest and the two of them could go explore Navy Pier.

Astonishingly (to me), Mia sat through the entire 75 minute production. I was surprised enough that she made it through the first scene, which was fairly scary and started off with Gepetto's wife "dying" - a word I've only recently introduced after the loss of our cat. There was booming thunder, lightning, darkness and an ominous storyteller voice, but Mia powered through, right on until the end.

I had assumed that this would be a pretty straightforward, if simplified, version of the Disney classic. Instead, Jiminy Cricket has no significant role, and we don't hear the classic songs "I've Got No Strings" or "Always Let Your Conscience Be Your Guide." However, this did not take away from my enjoyment one bit. The production was beautifully done, and the costumes held my attention as much as the story. The scene with the French marionettes was truly delightful, and the dancers really looked like they might have been operated by strings. The scenes with Fox and Cat were fantastic and they nearly stole the show.

The production is more dark than playful, but it brings home a message that's a good one for kids to learn: Life is full of choices - make smart ones (or you'll really be an ass!)

While Mia made it through, and even at one point told me "I'm really loving this!" I still agree with the recommendation of this show for ages 5 and up. There are definitely some frightening scenes, including Pinocchio and Gepetto inside the belly of the whale. Also, the storyline may not be terribly complicated, but some of the concepts will likely go over little ones' heads. I did occasionally whisper a quick, toddlered-down summary of the action to Mia to make sure she was keeping up, so at least she was generally following along.

Parents, you'll really enjoy this one as well, and you might even forget you're at a "kids' show."

Pinocchio is playing at Chicago Shakespeare Theater at Navy Pier through August 28. Learn more at

Monday, July 18, 2011

Pinkalicious the Musical

Until this morning, the only experience my daughter Mia and I had with Pinkalicious was reading the book one time at a bookstore about 4 months ago. It left quite an impression, and since then my daughter refers back to Pinkalicious when we talk about cupcakes or the color pink. So, there was actually much anticipation last night and this morning as we prepared for her 2nd ever theater experience.

Mia isn't known for her attention span, but within the first few minutes, she was in a Pinkalicious trance. The show begins with a scene that was at a level a three year old could understand, and that was also fun and engaging for older kids. Throughout most of the show, the pace was appropriate and the words in the songs were easy to understand, and the concepts were simple yet fun. There were a few faster paced numbers that I am certain Mia didn't understand, but it certainly didn't detract from her enjoyment.

One of my favorite songs was "Buzz Off," a fast-paced number featuring some bees and butterflies who mistake Pinkalicious for a flower. And the trip to Dr. Wink, where Pinkalicious is diagnosed with a case of Pinkatitis, is a musical romp where the actors have some fun with their quick dance steps and lines.

I did feel some concern for brother Peter, who was all but ignored by his parents, and I felt a little guilty watching Pinkalicious's mom spend too much time on her computer, but hopefully this all went over Mia's head.

After the show, we waited in a fairly long line for the chance to meet the actors and have them sign the autograph books that were passed out at the show.

Overall, a really delightful show that girls from 3 and up - maybe even age 2 - will really enjoy.

Emerald City Theatre at Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place
175 E. Chestnut Avenue, Chicago
July 8 - September 3
Tickets are available at all Broadway In Chicago Box Offices (24 W. Randolph St., 151 W. Randolph St., 18 W. Monroe St. and 175 E. Chestnut), the Broadway In Chicago Ticket Kiosk at Water Tower Place (845 N. Michigan Ave.), the Broadway In Chicago Ticket Line at (800) 775-2000, all Ticketmaster retail locations (including Hot Tix and select Carson Pirie Scott, Coconuts and fye stores), and online at

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Beauty and the Beast: Princess Perfect

Beauty and the Beast opened a six week run in Chicago, and little princesses from all over Chicago are making their appearances in the audience at the Oriental Theatre.

Kids will love the show, especially those familiar with the story and songs. It's best for the slightly older kids, as it's a lengthy show (more than 2.5 hours including intermission) and there are some dark parts that could be frightening. The scenes in the forest with the wolves could scare young kids, and the concept of a Beast kidnapping Belle would certainly give my 3-year-old some nightmares.

It's a festive show with lively performances for the more well known songs. "Be Our Guest" was one of the best numbers, with lots of high energy, great costumes and tinsel streamers shot out into the audience. I particularly enjoyed the beer-mug clinking number, but I think the complexities of that could be lost on the little princesses in the audience. Overall, this is a great show for little girls, and they'll enjoy seeing the movie brought to life on stage.

The show is at the Oriental Theatre through August 7, at 24 W. Randolph, Chicago. Tickets range from $18-85 and can be purchased at all Ticketmaster locations and online at

Monday, July 11, 2011

Win a membership to the new Cubs Kids Club

Perfect for your little Cubs fans - the just-launched Cubs Kids Club, presented by ComEd. This is the official Kids Club of the Chicago Cubs, and we're giving away a free membership!

Members will get special kid-specific perks, experiences and merchandise throughout the 2011 baseball season. Benefits include:

* Official Cubs Kids Club membership card
* Cubs Kids Club lanyard
* Catcher's chest protector backpack
* Cubs baseball cap
* School supplies package
* Cubs stickers
* Coupon for one free Wrigley Field Tour ticket
* Discounts on Cubs sponsor products

Learn more at the official web site.

For your chance to win, email with the subject line "Cubs" by end of day Thursday, July 14!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Cirque du Soleil's OVO Creeps and Crawls Into Town

Cirque du Soleil is back in Chicago under the Grand Chapiteau at the United Center with OVO, and this year's production has a very different feel from previous shows. Cirque for me has always been about jaw-dropping, death-defying acrobatic feats, where I sat at the edge of my seat with ratcheted nerves wondering if I were about to witness some sort of tragic circus mishap. I found myself rapt again last night, but this time I was more in awe of the costumes and music than the feats themselves.

Don't get me wrong. OVO has plenty of truly amazing moments and incredibly talented performers. But the emphasis was much heavier on the visual, and there was more of a silly storyline going on here than I've seen before. There was actually an entire act with just the 3 main bug characters that was entirely comedic, which was very surprising given what I've come to expect from Cirque. The bugs are funny - they use expressive chirps, twitters and sounds that serve as their dialogue - but it seems a little out of place in a Cirque production.

The costumes were stunning, and the salsa-like music was almost enough to make me get up and dance. The mood was light and fun, and the costumes and music created an upbeat, festive atmosphere. The performers moved with bug-like mannerisms which made them seem even less human and more other-wordly, and the overall effect was enthralling. The jerky head movements and reptilian tongue flicks of the grasshoppers and the lithe, precise movements of the three feminine spiders really added to the "buggy" character of the show.

The finale was an extended act, with funkified grasshoppers using trampolines to jump vertically onto what was essentially an enormous climbing wall. The performers looked like they were actually defying gravity, and I kept thinking that Broadway's Spiderman has NOTHING on these guys. They bounced up from the trampolines and landed frozen still in poses on the wall. They'd bounce up backwards, and I felt like I was watching a video in reverse of someone jumping OFF the wall. I could have easily watched an entire two hours of this act. By far the best of the show.

The kids that I saw or spoke to were all in agreement that it was a great show. Toward the end, an 8 year old girl sitting next to us asked her dad "Is it over?" When he said "No," she answered "Good!" And kids as young as 3 were having a great time. There was just one short scene in particular near the beginning that could be scary for some kids. It included two menacing, stilt-walking, praying-mantis-like characters, and I know this would have terrified my 3 year old daughter. But overall, I feel like the bright colors, upbeat Brazilian style music, and comic relief should appeal to most kids in the 4 and up range.

So while this production may be lighter on death-defying feats, it makes up for it in other ways with its visual splendor and upbeat fun vibe.

As for finding out what the big OVO egg is - we don't. Maybe you'll mind, maybe you won't. My husband says "It doesn't matter." Meanwhile, I feel unfulfilled for not finding out if my guesses were right. Coincidentally, we just took a book out from the library this week called "Hunwick's Egg." It's about a bandicoot who finds an egg, befriends it and cares for it, and then waits and waits and waits for it to hatch. It never does. But at least we find out why - it's not an egg, it's a rock. In OVO, the egg never hatches and we simply don't know why. So if you need closure, you'll have to make it up yourself.

Cirque du Soleil's OVO
Playing June 29 - August 21
United Center - Grand Chapiteau
1901 W. Madison, Chicago
Learn More

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Chicago Area Fourth of July Celebrations

The City of Chicago has cancelled the big fireworks show this year - Booooo!!!! We've rounded up some other great events taking place in Chicago and the surrounding suburbs, so you won't feel like you're missing a thing.

July 1-3
Lisle Eyes to the Skies Festival and Carnival
Community Park, Rte 53 and Ogden, Lisle
See beautiful balloons take flight at 6am and 6pm, and try a tethered ride for $25. Enjoy the children's activities that include moon jump, magic, picnic games, crafts, face painting, a lumberjack show, the Frog Lady, and much more. Enjoy the fireworks extravaganza at 9:45 pm on July 3. All ages. $5 Adults, free for 5 and under. FREE Sunday 11am - 4pm for Lisle residents with valid photo ID, and free Sunday for military members with valid photo ID (active and veteran)

July 1-4
Naperville Ribfest
724 South West Street, Naperville
The family area at Ribfest features entertainment and activities for the whole family! Activities include a carnival, inflatables, jousting, bull riding, big slide, euro bungee, petting zoo a circus aerial show and much more. On July 4, enjoy a fireworks display at 9:30pm. All ages. $12, free kids 11 and under. On Friday from noon - 4pm, enjoy $1 hot dogs, $ ice cream and $10 unlimited rides.

July 2
Racing, Music and Fireworks
Arlington Park Racecourse, 2200 W Euclid Ave., Arlington Heights
Take in a great day of horse racing and music by day, and the an amazing fireworks display by dusk. The day’s racing starts at a special post time of 4 pm and the racing action will run nearly seamlessly into a spectacular fireworks display that gets underway at nightfall. The first 20,000 in attendance will receive 3D Fireworks Glasses, and the first 1,000 kids will receive a complimentary Firecracker Popsicle. All ages. General admission tickets $10.

July 3-4
Wheaton's Independence Day Celebration
Graf Park, 1855 Manchester Rd., Wheaton
Beginning July 3rd at 6pm, Wheaton’s Graf Park will open for old-fashioned fun with picnicking and people watching. Kids can enjoy carnival rides including a giant slide, kiddie ferris wheel and inflatable obstacle course. Also take part in classic arcade games like the duck pond and boom blaster, as well as running races. DJ Gabe will be on deck from 6:00pm playing classic rock, pop, and a patriotic song or two to keep toes tapping. The fireworks start July 3 at 8:45pm. On July 4th, the parade starts at 10am. Free. All ages.

July 4
Fourth of July Celebration in Northbrook
Village Green, 1320 Shermer Ave, Northbrook
Begin the day with the traditional Pancakes in the Park from 7 am – 11 am at Village Green on the corner of Shermer and Meadow. The Dooley Brothers Band plays in the Gazebo from 9 am – 11 am, and the Police versus Firemen department softball game starts at 10 am. The Bike Parade kicks off at 2 pm from the corner of Western and Cherry followed by the mile-long Northbrook Parade starting at 2:30 pm from the corner of Western and Cherry, ending at Village Green Park. Fireworks begin at sundown from Techny Prairie Park and Field.

July 4
Lake Forest Festival & Fireworks
Deerpath Community Park, 400 Hastings Road, Lake Forest
Celebrate Independence Day with a community celebration featuring food, a beer garden, live music and activities for kids, all culminating in a gala fireworks display. The fun starts at 6pm, with local band Sixteen Candles, followed by a Pie Eating Contest at 7:30. At 8pm, kick back for a concert with Rick Springfield, and then enjoy the fireworks at 9:30. All ages. $10 admission, 5 and under free; standard parking pass $20.

July 4
Patriotic Celebration
Cantigny Park, 1S151 Winfield Road, Wheaton
Cantigny Park will be alive with patriotic sights, sounds and activities for the whole family on Independence Day. Kids will love the inflatables, and painting our 20 foot mural on the Cantigny Parade Field from noon to 3 pm. They can ring the Liberty Bell, sign the Declaration of Independence with a quill pen, and see reenactors fire cannons. At 3pm, enjoy the Illinois Brass Band. Events and parking will be free all day on July 4th. All ages. 12:00pm - 4:00pm. Free.

July 4
Fourth Fest
Sunset Woods Park, 1801 Sunset Road, Highland Park
Play carnival games. Jump around in an inflatable. Go around the Fest in a train or hop on a pony for a ride. Feed the animals in our petting zoo.Stop and listen to live entertainment while feeding your hunger from one of our vendors in the concession area.*Tickets for games and rides: 3 for $1. All ages. 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Free.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Family Fun at Taste of Chicago

You know summer is officially in full swing when Taste of Chicago gets underway! This famed Chicago event is a local favorite, and is packed with plenty of family friendly activities and events.


Taste of Chicago takes place at Grant Park, located at Michigan Ave. & Congress Dr.

If you can, avoid traffic and parking hassles and take public transportation. Call 836-7000 (any area code) to get details on CTA, RTA and Metra travel routes or visit

You can also park in the new Taste Parking Lots for a special discounted rate. You can park for $13 at the Waldron Deck parking garage at Soldier Field - get there by taking the exit at 18th Street from Lake Shore Drive. The free McDonalds Family Trolley runs on the North side of 18th Street and will take you to the Taste. The trolley runs roundtrip from Taste to the garage from 10:45 am - 8 pm daily, and 10:45 am - 5:30 pm on July 3rd.


Taste runs June 24-July 2 from 11 am to 8:30 pm, and July 3 from 11 am to 6 pm.

Admission to Taste of Chicago is FREE.

Food and beverage tickets are sold in strips of 12 tickets for $8 (includes $2 charge for Taste amenities) Smaller “Taste of" portions are available at each food vendor and are between 2-4 tickets

Click here to see the Taste map.


You'll find family fun at the Family Village, located at Columbus & Jackson. This special area features hands-on activities including arts and crafts stations led by area museums; family games; face painting; and green activities for kids.

The schedule also includes daily performances by Midnight Circus at noon, 2 p.m., 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. Circo Urbano, their new production, features an international cast of characters performing high-flying, gravity defying acrobatics and over the top theatrics. Admission to the Midnight Circus performance is $2 in Taste tickets.

Here's the full daily schedule:

Friday, June 24
11 a.m. – 3 p.m.Make your own book beats music shaker with Chicago Public
Library (ages 3-10)
11 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.Create your own Butterfly Life Cycle Necklace with Peggy
Notebaert Nature Museum (age 6 -12)
11 a.m. – 4 p.m.Chicago Public Schools Community Partnership Programs (ages 0-8,
arts & crafts, face painting)
11 a.m. – 6 p.m.Chicago Department of Family & Support Services (ages 1-12, arts & crafts, face painting)
11 a.m. – 7 p.m.National Museum of Mexican Art (ages 4-12)
3:15 - 4:45 p.m.Free mini massages for mom & dad (ages 18 & up)
4 - 7 p.m.Play LaLoteria (Mexican Bingo, win prizes)
4:30 – 7 p.m.It’s U Caricatures (ages 16 & under)
5 – 7 p.m.Decorate and enjoy a free slice of Eli's Cheesecake (while supplies
last, ages 12 & under)

Saturday, June 25
11 a.m. – 3 p.m.Play Speed Chess Against the Best Youth Chess Players in Illinois
(ages 5-18)
11 a.m. – 7 p.m.FIRST Robotics: See cool robots drive around and do crazy things!
11 a.m. – 7 p.m.Illinois Wing Civil Air Patrol: Come Fly With Us - Learn Why Planes Fly
11 a.m. – 7 p.m.Play at Shedd's interactive kids station! (ages 2-12)
11 a.m. – 7 p.m.True Star's Karaoke and Dance Challenge
1 – 3 p.m.Meet the SMURFS
4 – 7 p.m.Take a fun photo using Green Screen Photography

Sunday, June 26
11 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.Face Painting, Temporary Airbursh Tattoos & Henna Art for Kids
11 a.m. – 7 p.m.Chicago Philatelic Society: Free Stamps for Kids
11 a.m. – 7 p.m.FIRST Robotics: See cool robots drive around and do crazy things!
11 a.m. – 7 p.m.Illinois Wing Civil Air Patrol: Come Fly With Us - Learn Why Planes Fly
11 a.m. – 7 p.m.Organic Sock Gardening with Chicago Metro AEYC (ages 2-12)
3 – 5 p.m.Design a fuzzy flower ring or a pair of super cool fuzzy super hero
glasses with K~Fleye (ages 8-14)
5:30 - 6:30 p.m.Family Bingo (win prizes)

Monday, June 27
11a.m. – 2 p.m.Healthy Farmers Market Eating Workshop with Fresh Connections
(ages 5-12, games, activities)
11 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.Be a Rocket Scientist with Adler Planetarium (ages 6-12)
11 a.m. – 3 p.m.Explore hands-on science with the Museum of Science and Industry
(ages 5-15)
11 a.m. – 7 p.m.FIRST Robotics: See cool robots drive around and do crazy things!
11 a.m. - 7 p.m.Illinois Engineering Council: Why Things Work - Everyday Engineering
2:30 – 5 p.m.Color your favorite characters from Peter Pan & Beauty and the
Beast with Broadway in Chicago (ages 3 & up)
3 – 7 p.m."Wish you were here…" Design a postcard of your favorite Chicago
place with the Chicago History Museum (ages 4 & up)
3:30 – 7 p.m.DHS Community Alliance Team: Fingerprint ID Kit (ages 2-18)
5:30 - 6:30 p.m.Family Bingo (win prizes)

Tuesday, June 28
11 a.m. – 3 p.m.Insect Petting Zoo and Worm Composting Demo with University of
Illinois Extension (ages 2 & up)
11 a.m. – 6 p.m.Chicago Department of Family & Support Services (ages 1-12, arts & crafts, face painting)
11 a.m. – 7 p.m.Illinois Engineering Council: Why Things Work - Everyday Engineering
11 a.m. – 7 p.m.Learn about the Environment with Environmental Protection Agency
(ages 5-12)
11:30 a.m. - 12:15 p.m. Stretch-n-Grow - Fun Fitness for Kids (ages 3-12)
1 – 7 p.m.Sweet & Sassy summer makeovers for girls (ages 3-13)
3:30 - 4:30 p.m.Play the Giant Twister Game
5 – 7 p.m.Create your own Clay Coil Pot with Art Girl Pottery (ages 4 & up)

Wednesday, June 29
11 a.m. – 3 p.m.Food Safety at home with the Food & Drug Administration
11 a.m. – 3 p.m.Insect Petting Zoo and Worm Composting Demo with University of
Illinois Extension (ages 2 & up)
11 a.m. – 3 p.m.Make an Ape handprint with Lincoln Park Zoo (ages 2-10)
11 a.m. – 6 p.m.Chicago Department of Family & Support Services (ages 1-12, arts & crafts, face painting)
11 a.m. – 7 p.m.Illinois Engineering Council: Why Things Work - Everyday Engineering
11 a.m. – 7 p.m.Fun activities with Radio Disney AM 1300 Chicago
3:30 – 7 p.m.Learn to draw Celtic knots with the Irish American Heritage Center
3:30 – 7 p.m.Paint a refrigerator magnet with Plaster of Paradise

Thursday, June 30
11 a.m. – 3 p.m.Create a mask or headress inspired by artwork from Africa in the Art Institute of Chicago
11 a.m. – 3 p.m.Insect Petting Zoo and Worm Composting Demo with University of
Illinois Extension (ages 2 & up)
11 a.m. – 6 p.m.Chicago Department of Family & Support Services (ages 1-12, arts & crafts, facepainting)
11 a.m. – 7 p.m.Bicycling Ambassadors: Learn about bike safety & win prizes! Bring your bike helmet for a complimentary fitting!
11 a.m. – 7 p.m.Illinois Engineering Council: Why Things Work - Everyday Engineering
11 a.m. – 7 p.m.Fun activities with Radio Disney AM 1300 Chicago
3:30 – 7 p.m.Candle Art with Art Zone (ages 4-16)

Friday, July 1
11 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.Paint a refrigerator magnet with Plaster of Paradise
11 a.m. – 3 p.m.Insect Petting Zoo and Worm Composting Demo with University of
Illinois Extension (ages 2 & up)
11 a.m. – 6 p.m.Chicago Department of Family & Support Services (ages 1-12, arts & crafts, facepainting)
11 a.m. – 7 p.m.Bicycling Ambassadors: Learn about bike safety & win prizes! Bring your bike helmet for a complimentary fitting!
11 a.m. – 7 p.m.Illinois Engineering Council: Why Things Work - Everyday Engineering
11 a.m. – 7 p.m.Fun activities with Radio Disney AM 1300 Chicago
3 – 7 p.m.Sweet & Sassy summer makeovers for girls (ages 3-13)

Saturday, July 2
11 a.m. – 1 p.m.Japanese Culture Center: Aikido demonstration/Japanese martial
arts (ages 5 & up)
11 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.Face Painting, Temporary Airbursh Tattoos & Henna Art for Kids
11 a.m. – 7 p.m.Action Booth Photos
11 a.m. – 7 p.m.Illinois Wing Civil Air Patrol: Come Fly With Us - Learn Why Planes Fly
11 a.m. – 7 p.m.True Star's Karaoke and Dance Challenge
1:30 - 4:30 p.m.Design masks inspired by African motifs with DuSable Museum of
African American History (ages 5-12)
3 – 6 p.m.Candle Art with Art Zone (ages 4-16)
5 – 7 p.m.Free mini massages for mom & dad (ages 18 & up)

Sunday, July 3
11 a.m. – 1 p.m.Free mini massages for mom & dad (ages 18 & up)
11 a.m. – 2 p.m.Design your own patriotic crafts with the Bronzeville Children's
Museum (ages 3-9)
11 a.m. – 3 p.m.Face Painting, Temporary Airbursh Tattoos & Henna Art for Kids
11 a.m. – 5 p.m.Illinois Wing Civil Air Patrol: Come Fly With Us - Learn Why Planes Fly
11 a.m. – 5 p.m.True Star's Karaoke and Dance Challenge
1:30 - 4:30 p.m.It’s U Caricatures
2:30 – 5 p.m.Paint a refrigerator magnet with Plaster of Paradise

Monday, June 20, 2011

Summer Solstice at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum

Summer is officially here, and the Nature Museum has a great way for you to celebrate with your entire family! On Tuesday, June 21, the Museum will be open from 5-9pm for a special Summer Solstice evening. It's free, and the entire Musuem will be open for you to enjoy.

Guests will enjoy a special evening of music, summer treats, fun activities and the chance to win tickets to Cirque du Soleil's OVO. You'll also having a chance to be among the first to tour the Museum's newest exhibit, Nature Trails. This will be the Museum's largest permanent exhibit, and is a 1/3+ mile trail right in the heart of nature in Lincoln Park. Forget you're in the city, and you can:
  • Explore native vegetation such as prairies, savannas, wetlands and woodlands
  • Marvel at the colorful cluster of butterflies at the Woodward A. Wickham Butterfly Garden
  • Watch dragonfly larvae, diving beetles and tadpoles at the Pickerelweed Pond
  • Listen to one of the sounds of summer—birds singing
  • Smell the herbs and fresh, seasonal produce in the urban garden

Again, it's all FREE on Tuesday evening!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Father's Day Activities

You've brought Dad breakfast in bed, the kids have given their cards and homemade art - now what will you do the rest of the day? Here are a few great ideas.

Friday, June 17

Date with Dad
American Girl Place, 835 N Michigan Ave., Chicago

Bring Dad and make memories to last a lifetime. Dads can enjoy a delicious meal and special time with daughters. The fee includes an American Girl book, a commemorative photo and frame, and keepsakes to take home as a reminder of your day together. Ages 6 and up. 7:30pm. $40 per person.

Sunday, June 19:

Father's Day Brunch
Soldier Field, 1410 S. Museum, Chicago
Soldier Field will host its 4th Annual Father’s Day Brunch, opening the United Club’s fine dining to the public. Families can treat their "Dads" to an exquistite brunch, and also take a shot at kicking a field goal on the stadium field. Reservations required. All ages. 10am. $55 adults, $25 ages 3-12, under 3 free.

Father's Day Barbecue
Brookfield Zoo, First Avenue and 31st Street, Brookfield

This is one day where Dad can take a break for the grilling tasks. Bring Dad to this all-you-can-eat barbecue, which features all the trimmings, begins at Noon in the Zoo's Pavilions. Afterward, take a leisurely stroll around the grounds. All ages. Noon. $49 for adults and $35 for children (zoo members pay $39 and $29).

Father's Day Canoe Adventure
Chicago Botanic Garden, 1000 Lake Cook Road, Glencoe

Bring Dad to canoe the lakes of the Chicago Botanic Garden with Bob Kirschner, the Garden’s aquatic biologist. Herons, ducks, small fish, and maybe even a few turtles and frogs will greet you as we explore their watery habitat. No experience with canoeing is necessary; instruction, canoes, life jackets, and paddles are all provided. Registration required. Ages 5 and up. 9am, 11am or 1pm. $89/$112 per canoe.

Father’s Day Brunch
Lamb's Farm, I-94 and Rte. 176, Libertyville

The whole family will love this tasty buffet, featuring country favorites made from scratch. Feast on country fried chicken and breakfast favorites including french toast, and the ever-popular omelets-to-order. Delicious desserts made in the Farm's very own bakery round out the perfect meal. Call the Country Inn Restaurant for reservations, at 847.362.5050. All ages. Seatings at 10 a.m., Noon, and 2 p.m. $19.95 for adults, $10.95 for children 12 & under. Children 23 months and younger eat for free.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Chicago's Best Summer Story Hours

Every day, somewhere in Chicago, there's a free story hour taking place! Check out some of the free story hours taking place this summer in Chicago and the suburbs. This list includes some of our favorites, and you can find more by visiting the Calendar of Events.

Summer Storytime with Emerald City Theatre at Open Books Store
Second Saturdays at 11:00am
213 W. Institute Pl., Chicago
This story hour takes place on the second Saturday of every month this summer, with read-aloud stories, crafts, and drama games with artists from Emerald City Theatre. Free. For ages 3-5.

Story Time at Lincoln Park Zoo
Wednesdays and Fridays at 9:15 and 10:00am
2200 N. Cannon Dr., Chicago
Story Time at Lincoln Park Zoo’s Farm-in-the-Zoo delights young audiences with silly songs and tall tales. Join Mr. Singer as he performs original songs while the wee ones dance and sing along. For ages 6 and under. Through September 9. Free.

Stories To Grow On Story Time for Kids at Flourish Studios
Wednesdays at 10:30am and 4:30pm
3020 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago
Featuring a reading circle with fun stories, songs and social time with other children all set in our beautiful space.

Story Hour at The Bookmarket at Hangar One
First Thursdays at 10:30am
The Glen - 2651 Navy Blvd., Glenview
Storyteller Nili Yelin is one of Chicago's favorite storytellers, and the first Thursday of every month she tells stories at the Boormarket at Hangar One. Best for ages 2-6.

Storytime at Brown Cow Ice Cream Parlor
Tuesdays at 11am
7347 W. Madison Street, Forest Park
Ms. Tracy (and her story telling glasses) has been studying improv and acting for the past six years. She tells stories at Brown Cow Ice Cream Parlor every Tuesday at 11am.

Storytime at Women & Children First
Wednesdays at 10:30am
5233 N. Clark Street, Chicago
Store co-owner Linda Bubon reads and performs 5 or more stories for a room full of fabulous children. There's singing, dancing, and silliness every Wednesday morning in the store. It's free and featured for ages 2-5.

Garden Story Time at Morton Arboretum
Fridays at 11:00am
4100 Illinois Route 53, Lisle
Bring the kids and gather around for "Garden Story Time." Enjoy a different fun, nature-themed story every week. Takes place in the Children’s Garden on Fridays through October. Included with regular admission.

Kraft Story Time at The Field Museum of Natural History
Saturdays and Sundays at 11:30am and 1:30pm
1400 S. Lake Shore Dr., Chicago
Take a seat in the Crown Family PlayLab to hear a story and make an art project--all in 20 minutes. Included with regular admission. Best for ages 2-6.

Visit the Calendar of Events to find more story hours and other events.