Chicago

Things to do with kids in and around Chicago

Welcome to our highlights of events and entertainment in Chicago for kids and families to enjoy. Bookmark this page and check back for updates on the latest activities.

Chicago Air and Water Show

The Blue Angels perform in Chicago in 2019.
Rick Majewski | For the Sun-Times

When: noon-1 p.m. Aug. 21-22 (practice runs 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Aug. 20)

Where: For the best view of the free event, go to the lakefront between Oak Street and Fullerton Avenue.

What: A scaled-back edition of the popular and long-running show takes place along the Lake Michigan waterfront. The only sky-high performance this year will be by the U.S. Navy Blue Angels.

More information: chicagoairandwatershow.us

Glenwood Avenue Arts Fest

The Glenwood Avenue Arts Fest
Rogers Park Business Alliance

When: From 6-10 p.m. Aug. 20, 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Aug. 21 and 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Aug. 22

Where: Glenwood and Morse

What: The popular festival returns to Rogers Park with more than 30 live music acts on two stages, 120-plus artist vendors, children’s activities, food from local restaurants and live demonstrations of performance art and artmaking. Music acts include White Mystery, Funkadesi, Plastic Crimewave Syndicate, Wild Earp and more. Admission is free.

More information: glenwoodave.org

Chicago SummerDance in the Parks

Chicago SummerDance in the Parks.
DCASE

When: Aug. 18-Sept. 15

Where: Parks throughout the city

What: Dancers of all ages and skill levels are invited to take part in introductory dance lessons by professional instructors followed by live music and dancing. Lessons begin at 4:30 p.m. followed by dancing from 5:30-7:30 p.m.

More information: chicagosummerdance.org.

Loop Mural Walk

“Make It Good” by Shawnimals on the Loop Mural Walk.
Chicago Loop Alliance

When: Through Sept. 6

Where: Online

What: As part of an initiative to encourage people to return to downtown Chicago, the Chicago Loop Alliance has created a free self-guided tour of the colorful artwork tucked into alleys and side streets. A mural guide, which features three different routes of artwork by both well-known and emerging artists, can be accessed on smartphones.

More information: loopchicago.com

Chicago Fireboat Tours

Chicago Fireboat Tours offer great views of Chicago’s waterways.

Chicago Fireboat Tours offer great views of Chicago’s waterways.
Courtesy Chicago Fireboat Tours

When: Ongoing

Where: DuSable Harbors, 111 N. Lake Shore Dr.

What: Built in 1936, the Fred A. Busse was the largest, diesel-powered fireboat in the world at the time and served the Chicago Fire Department from 1937-1981. The current owners renovated the retired fireboat, which is now in its second season cruising Chicago waterways. Tickets: $35-$40, $19.50 ages 4-12.

More information: fireboattours.com

Merit School of Music

Merit School of Music is hosting summer pop-up performances beginning July 24.

Merit School of Music is hosting summer pop-up performances beginning July 24.
Courtesy of Merit School of Music

When: To Aug. 28

Where: Various locations

What: In July and August, the music school hosts a family-friendly series of interactive pop-up events throughout Chicago neighborhoods from Pilsen to Lincoln Park. “Pop-ups in the Parks” offers free instrument tunings, demos and performances by students and faculty, “Music at the Markets” features performances and giveaways at outdoor markets and “Musical Storytimes” is filled with stories and activities.

More information: meritmusic.org

Adler Planetarium

“Imagine the Moon”
Adler Planetarium

When: Ongoing

Where: 1300 S. Lake Shore Dr.

What: The planetarium has partially reopened with a selection of its award-winning sky shows. On weekends in July and August two shows will play twice daily: “Imagine the Moon” (10:30 a.m., 12:15 p.m.) and “Skywatch Live” (11:30 am., 1:15 p.m.). The full museum won’t reopen until March 2022. Tickets: $15.

More information: adlerplanetarium.org

Tempel Lipizzans’ stallions

A Tempel Lipizzan stallion performs “Airs Above the Ground.”

A Tempel Lippizan stallion performs “Airs Above the Ground.”
Courtesy Tempel Lipizzans

When: Ongoing

Where: Tempel Farms, 17000 Wadsworth, Old Mill Creek.

What: The stallions return for a new season of equestrian dressage along with interactive, educational events. Performances feature synchronized movements set to classical music that show off the strength, beauty and intelligence of the Lipizzan horse. Following each event, there are self-guided tours through the stables to meet and pet the equine stars and ask questions of riders and trainers about how the Lipizzans are raised, trained and taught to “dance.” Tickets: $35, $25 for ages 4-14.

More information: tempelfarms.com

‘Par Excellence Redux’

When: “The Front 9” (to Sept. 16) and “The Back Nine” (Oct. 13-Jan. 2)

Where: Tee off at the Elmhurst Art Museum, 150 S. Cottage Hill, Elmhurst

What: A fun new exhibit features a fully playable 18-hole mini-golf course created by more than 20 artists, designers and architects from Chicago and beyond. The family-friendly course pays homage to the School of the Art Institute’s wildly popular 1988 exhibition “Par Excellence.” Course themes range from social justice to the occult and include a fortune-telling hole that has the power to dramatically change scores as well as a hole that challenges players with an optical illusion. Admission is $5-$10 (online timed reservations); children 4 and under free.

More information: elmhurstartmuseum.org

Chicago Children’s Museum

Where: Navy Pier, 700 E. Grand

When: Ongoing

What: Fun and learning are on the agenda at the popular family gathering spot, offering a wide variety of exhibits aimed at improving children’s lives by creating a community where play and learning connect. Babies and toddlers can enjoy “Treehouse Trails” and “Kids Town” while “Tinker Lab” and “Dinosaur Expedition” will enthrall older children. Admission: $19.

More information: chicagochildrensmuseum.org.

‘Becoming Jane’

A new exhibit at the Field Museum, “Becoming Jane: The Evolution of Jane Goodall,” follows her journey from her childhood in England to a career as a passionate scientist studying chimpanzees in Africa.

A new exhibit at the Field Museum, “Becoming Jane: The Evolution of Jane Goodall,” follows her journey from her childhood in England to a career as a passionate scientist studying chimpanzees in Africa.
Hugo van Lawick/National Geographic

When: To Sept. 6

Where: Field Museum, 1400 S. Lake Shore Dr.

What: Generations have been inspired by the work of primatologist Dr. Jane Goodall who has not only shown the urgent need to protect chimpanzees but also redefined species conservation to include the needs of local people and the environments. A new exhibit at the Field Museum, “Becoming Jane: The Evolution of Jane Goodall,” follows her journey from a curious young child in England to a passionate scientist studying chimpanzees in Africa. Included in the exhibit are a recreation of her field research tent, a hologram-like projection of Goodall who shares her fieldwork memories, augmented reality activities and a projection of Tanzania’s Gombe Stream National Park.

Tickets: Admission: $18-$32

More information: fieldmuseum.org

‘Hello Helios: The warming suns of Chicago’s Greektown’

Detail view of James Mesplé’s Sun and Moon Image featured in the “Hello Helios” exhibit in Greektown.

Detail view of James Mesplé’s Sun and Moon Image featured in the “Hello Helios” exhibit in Greektown
Courtesy Greektown Chicago

When: Through spring 2022

Where: Halsted from Monroe to Van Buren

What: Welcome summer with a new outdoor exhibit celebrating the start of summer with 24 artworks inspired by the sun and related mythologies from Greek, Aztec, Yoruba, Japanese and Native American cultures.

More information: greektownchicago.org

Kayak for Conservation

The Shedd Aquarium’s popular “Kayak for Conservation” program.

The Shedd Aquarium’s popular “Kayak for Conservation” program.
Shedd Aquarium

When: Ongoing

Where: Kayak Chicago: 1220 W LeMoyne,

What: Get close to nature via the Shedd Aquarium’s popular Kayak for Conservation program, which features a variety of socially distant kayaking experiences on the Chicago River. Participants learn about the river’s environmental history and discover wildlife living in its ecosystem. Sessions are open to all levels of kayakers (including newbies) and are led by Shedd’s wildlife conservation experts. The cost is pay-what-you-can ranging from $20–$100 per participant, with a recommended $40, the base cost of the program.

More information: sheddaquarium.org/kayak

‘Take Flight’

The Boeing 747 at “Take Flight.”
Museum of Science and Industry

When: Permanent

Where: Museum of Science and Industry, 5700 S. Lake Shore Dr.

What: The MSI’s Boeing 747 reopens with a reimagined exhibit that explores modern aviation and the science of flight. The plane’s interior has been restored and new interactive elements have been added. Tickets: $12.95, $21.95.

More information: msichicago.org

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