Thursday, April 30, 2009

Monday 5/3/09 - Sunday 5/10/09

I hope everyone was able to get outside and enjoy the awesome weekend weather this last week. Fear of the Swine (see below) kept attendance low everywhere we went on Thursday and Friday but did not keep people from enjoying the Kites and Kids Fest at Montrose Beach. It was an awesome free event with plenty of crafts for the kiddies and wind to keep the kites afloat. Of course my child left in tears because he could not steal one of the 20 Elmo kites we saw other kids flying. Note to self for next year's Kite Fest: hit toy store beforehand and get the kite featuring the obsession du jour.

To sequester your kids or not to sequester - that is the question. I was supposed to meet a friend and her daughter at the Nature Museum on Thursday morning. After waking up and hearing on the news that there was one confirmed case of the Swine/H1N1 Flu and many more probable cases in Illinois, I was a little nervous about being in an enclosed space with a million kids running around for free day at the museum. My friend was even more nervous and pointed out that there would likely be two million kids at the museum considering that some public schools had been closed for the day. In the end, we decided to skip the museum and meet at a friend's house for a playdate. I'm really not the type to keep my son at home because the flu is going around but I guess I got a little freaked out because doctors don't like to prescribe Tamiflu to toddlers. My philosophy going forward is to be cautious yet optimistic. I will be even more diligent about anti-bacterial wipes. When I get on an airplane with my son, I wipe down the entire row. Not a tray table, arm rest, seat belt latch, or button is missed by my wipes. I'm now going to use my airplane approach at the playground, the grocery store (don't mind me as I wipe down the pin pad), and restaurants. Of course, all of this rubbing alcohol wipe down madness could be avoided if germs were kept at home. My hope is that parents will keep their sick kids sequestered so that healthy kids can continue to enjoy all the fun activities that Chicagoland has to offer. Not sure if your kid's sniffles are contagious? Hit this Children's Hospital site, as it lists pretty much every possible pediatric illness, the incubation period, and the contagious period for the given illness.


Green City Market: Chicago's largest Farmer's Market returns to the great outdoors this week! Visit them outside every Wed and Sat now through October 31st. Be sure to stop by the Growing Home booth for your organic produce (mentioned in last week's blog). My son loves to run around the park and boogie to the live music while I shop for our groceries.
Tip: if you are not a zoo member, consider becoming one. why would i pay to join a free zoo, you ask? zoo membership gives you free parking adjacent to the zoo and a short walk to the farmer's market (as well as a short walk to the nature museum, the beach, etc). plus zoo membership is tax deductible. we usually get an early start on saturday mornings and hit the farmer's market and then make a stop at the zoo. this makes for a full morning of outdoor activities that the entire family can enjoy!
Where: The south end of Lincoln Park between Clark and Stockton.
When: Every Wednesday and Saturday 7a-1p

Garfield Park Conservatory: This week kicks off Little Green Thumb Wednesdays at the conservatory. Little gardeners can unite to dig in the soil, plant pretend veggies, play with wheel barrels, and other gardening activities. No registration required. FREE!
Where: 300 N. Central Park Avenue, Chicago • Outside in the Demonstration Garden (moves indoors to the Children's Garden in bad weather)
When: Wednesdays through 10/28 • 3p-6p

Where: 2100 Patriot Boulevard, Glenview
When: Through 5/11 • opens at 9:30a Mon-Sat and 12n on Sunday

Harry Potter: The Exhibition: Fans of the J.K. Rowling's books and the movies, will love the Harry Potter exhibit that just opened at the Museum of Science and Industry. The exhibit features over 200 props, costumes, and artifacts from the Harry Potter films all displayed in a 10,000 square-foot space made to look like settings from the films. $13 for adults and and $9 for kids ages 3-11. The Potter exhibit is an additional $13 for adults and $10 for kids.
Where: Museum of Science & Industry • 57th Street and Lakeshore Drive, Chicago
When: Mon-Sat 9:30a-4p and Sunday 11a-4p
Tip: buy your time specific ticket online now. several dates and times have already sold out.

Lil Kickers Open Free Play: So you didn't score a goal when it came to getting your kids signed up for soccer this summer. Make it up to them with a fun morning at Chitown Futbol. During Open Play kids can kick the ball around this indoor facility as well as play, climb and slide in giant inflatables. Open to kids ages 1.5 - 5 years. FREE!
Where: Chitown Futbol • 2343 S. Throop • 312.226.1988
When: Friday 5/8 • 9:30a-12n

Thomas & Friends Live! On Stage: Head to Hoffman Estates to watch as Thomas, Percy, James, Gordon and the rest of the crew prepare for the circus to come to the Island of Sodor. During the 1.5 hour show, kids can join in singalongs as well as learn valuable lessons about friendship and team work.
Where: Sears Centre • 5333 Prairie Stone Parkway, Hoffman Estates
When: Friday 5/8-Sunday 5/10 (click on above link for showtimes)

Chicago Botanic Garden -Model Railroad Garden: Starting this week, the Botanic Garden is featuring an area devoted to model trains. Seventeen trains travel across bridges, through tunnels, and around various American landmarks in a miniature garden setting. Admission to the Botanic Garden is free but there is a $20 per car parking fee. There is an additional fee of $5 for adults and $3 for kids for the Railroad exhibit.
Where: 1000 Lake Cook Road, Glencoe
When: Daily 5/9-10/25 10a-8p

Chicago River Day: Join the Friends of the River for the 17th annual river clean-up day. Volunteers will help clean riverbanks, remove invasive plants, repair nature trails, and conduct water quality tests. Everyone from toddlers to senior citizens are invited for age appropriate clean-up activities. After the morning clean-up, there will be an afternoon festival for the volunteers in the Ravenswood Manor neighborhood. Hit the above link for information on how to sign up. This is a great way to teach your kids to give back to the community!
Where: Over 60 sites along the river - as far north as Lake County and as far south as Blue Island in Cook County • Festival for Volunteers at River Park 5100 N. Francisco
When: Saturday 5/9 • Workday 9a-12n/Festival 12n-3p

National Train Day at Union Station: In honor of National Train Day, Union Station is holding a celebration which will include everything from live music to a train equipment display. From 10:15-12n, kids can enjoy an appearance by the Radio Disney Road Crew. There will be a dance party, games, magicians, face painting and giveaways. FREE!
Where: Union Station • 225 South Canal Street, Chicago
When: Saturday 5/9 • 10a-3p

**REMINDER for Napervillians: The Early Bird Membership for Naperville Centennial Beach ends on Saturday 5/9. The early rate for a Family Membership is $142. It goes up to $164 next week! Click here to register online.


The Alder Planetarium is showing One World, One Sky: Big Bird's Adventure staring, you guessed it, your kids' favorite Sesame Street characters. Big Bird, Elmo, and a friend from China, discover fun facts about the stars, planets, sun and moon. Weekday shows are at 1p and 2:30p and weekend shows are 12n and 3p. Tuesday 5/5, 5/12, 5/19, and 5/26 are free admission days at the planetarium. Otherwise the cost of entry plus the show is $19 for adults and $15 for kids ages 3-14. 1300 S. Lakeshore Drive, Chicago.

Brookfield Zoo: In the Dinosaurs Alive! exhibit, the Brookfield Zoo has created a Jurassic Park experience minus all the scary stuff. Kids can touch and control the movement of life-sized dinosaurs along a wooded path in an outdoor forest setting. The exhibit also features a dig site that allows visitors to find replica dinosaur fossils. General zoo admission is $12 for adults and $8 for children 3-11. Admission for Dinosaurs Alive! is an additional $5 for adults and $3 for children 3-11. The exhibit runs through October.

The Field Museum: Aaargh! Pirates are a hot topic these days. You and your kids can learn all about the ups and downs of pirate life at the Real Pirates exhibit. This exhibit features hundreds of artifacts recovered from the wreck of the first fully authenticated pirate ship discovered in U.S. waters almost 300 years ago. Admission to the museum is $13 for adults and $9 for children ages 3-11. If you want to see the Real Pirate exhibit the cost is $21 for adults and $12 for children. The field museum is free on the second Monday of each month. Upcoming free days are: Monday 5/11 and Monday 6/8 • 1400 S. Lakeshore Drive, Chicago.

The Kids' Table offers cooking classes for 2-3 year olds almost every day of the week. Classes for 4-6 year olds, 7-10 year olds, and 11-16 year olds are offered several days a week as well. The classes for toddlers and kids are one hour and cost $25. The classes for teens are 1.5 hours and are $110 for a series of four. 2337 W. North Avenue.

Pump It Up: when it is too hot or cold to play outside, Pump It Up offers indoor play in Chicago and the suburbs. Kids can jump, slide, and climb on giant inflatables during Pop-in Playtime on the weekdays. The city location also has a separate area designed for little kids age 1-4. Pop-in playtime is $8 -$10 for 1.5 hours. Hit their website for hours and the address of the location nearest you. Locations include: Chicago, Glenview, Elmhurst, and Vernon Hills. Don't forget socks!

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