Monday, January 9, 2012

Events to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

School's out on Monday, January 16, in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, and here are some family activities taking place in the coming week in honor of the holiday.

Thursday, January 12

Open Mic Night: I Have a Dream, Dr. King!
Chicago Children's Museum, Navy Pier - 700 E. Grand Ave., Chicago
Express your dreams for freedom and fairness through poetry and freedom songs. Recite excerpts of Dr. King’s famous speech. Then, write a letter to Dr. King expressing your dream for equal rights for all. 5-8 p.m. All ages

Sunday, January 15

Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration with the Brotherhood Chorale
Nichols Concert Hall, 1490 Chicago Avenue, Evanston
The Music Institute of Chicago honors the extraordinary legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. at its eighth annual celebration of the legendary civic leader, featuring the renowned Brotherhood Chorale of the Apostolic Church of God. The 180-member male choral group will perform an electrifying program of repertoire offering traditional and contemporary gospel and jazz arrangements. All ages. 5pm. Free.

The Journey, The Dream: Annual Tribute to Martin Luther King, Jr
Wentz Concert Hall, 171 E. Chicago Ave, Naperville
Mei-Ann Chen, Music Director of the Chicago Sinfonietta, continues Founder Paul Freeman’s cherished annual tradition of paying tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Maestro Chen opens the concert with Zoltán Kodály’s lively Dances of Galánta. Jeri Lynne Johnson then takes the podium to conduct the overture to Ludwig van Beethoven’s delicate Fidelio. All ages. Sunday at 3pm. $35-45.

Monday, January 16

Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration
Brookfield Zoo, First Avenue and 31st Street, Brookfield
Free admission! Enjoy a choral celebration by the John F. Kennedy High School Advanced Choir, and see a complete showing of the iconic “I have a Dream” speech. All ages. 11:30 a.m. Free.

King Day Celebration
DuSable Museum of African American History, 740 E. 56th Pl., Chicago
DuSable Museum will celebrate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and the Civil Rights Movement with our annual King Day celebration. The day will be filled with live performances, storytelling, films, food and activities for the entire family. All ages. 10am - 5pm. General admission $10, members $8.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day
Chicago History Museum, Clark St. at North Ave., Chicago
Commemorate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. through family activities and crafts reflecting his messages of peace and justice. Listen to music that honors Dr. King, and attend a performance of The MLK Project by the Writers’ Theatre. Ages 5 and up. 10:00 a.m.–3:00 p.m. Free.

Visit the Calendar of Events to find more events.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Chicago Free Outdoor Winter Family Fun

I appeared this morning on ABC's Windy City Live to talk about free outdoor family fun in January. Here's a link to the video, and a run-down of our favorites.

For some free outdoor adventure in the City....

POLAR ADVENTURE DAYS at Northerly Island takes place from 12-4pm on January 21 and February 18. Northerly Island is located on the Museum Campus near the Lake by Soldier Field. At Polar Adventure Days, held once monthly in the winter months, families can watch ice sculptors, create nature-inspired crafts, hear live entertainment from Old Town School of Folk Music, try out free snowshoeing (weather permitting), meet Siberian Huskies and other live animals. Parking is $3.

ICE SKATING AT MILLENNIUM PARK. The McCormick Tribune Ice Rink in Millennium Park offers a breathtaking background for ice skating. A great activities for families, or just adults, you can enjoy free skating under the lights of the city. . The rink is open through March 11. You can bring your own skates, or you can rent skates for $10.

And throughout the city and suburbs, park districts and their nature centers offer lots of great free options for cross country skiing, winter nature walks, snowshoeing and more. Here are some great suburban picks...

WILLOWBROOK WILDLIFE CENTER in Glen Ellyn has one of the nicer trails for kids in the winter, as it offers some indoor and outdoor areas to explore. There are animals on site that kids can visit, who have been rescued but aren't able to return to the wild on their own. And outside, there's a short 1/2 mile trail that's the perfect distance for a winter family nature walk, which takes you through different types of winter scenery including woodlands, open space and a pond.

HELLER NATURE CENTER is part of the Park District of Highland Park, and offers outdoor nature walks, cross-country skiing and other outdoor activities, as well as some great outdoor special events. On January 26 and February 25, your family can take part in a winter astronomy event for some night sky viewing, and you can use Heller's super powered telescope to view the moon, the stars and Jupiter.

SLEDDING AND SNOWBOARDING IN NAPERVILLE. The Naperville Park District has many great facilities for outdoor adventure. One great sled hill is at Rotary Hill, which overlooks the downtown area and you can sled with a view of the downtown area. And there's even a with a hill that's exclusively for snowboarding - Weigand Riverfront Park allows NO sleds, only snowboards!