Saturday, May 23, 2009

Monday 6/1 - Sunday 6/7

If you're like me, you've waited all winter just to push a stroller around a crowded festival while attempting to eat street-meat on a stick.   Well, your long wait for festival season is over as this week boasts so many fests that I'm not sure how one family can fit them all into a single weekend. And more good festival news: most of the Chicago street fests now include kid-friendly activities to accommodate the growing number of pint-sized city dwellers.  But before you hit the fest circuit, don't turn a deaf ear to my thought of the week...

Thought of the Week: All Ears
Just as you protect your child's sensitive skin from the scorching heat at summer fests you should protect their sensitive ears from the booming music as well.  My son's sweet looking "headphones" are a staple in the festival bag.  The headphones are really noise-reduction ear muffs and he actually keeps them on while we are watching live music at summer fests.  Not only does he wear them, but he looks super cool in the muffs and loves all the attention he gets from festival goers as he rides on my husband's back in a backpack or dances near the stage wearing his muffs.  Click here to buy a pair for your little one.  At $17 they are an inexpensive investment in your child's health that will be used for many years to come.  


Museum of Science and Industry:  Mon-Fri of this week are free admission days at the museum.  Bring your kids to see the Harry Potter exhibit, the Green Home exhibit, and to see live science experiments.  This is the first week of the farmers market at the museum.  June through October the museum will host a free farmers market on the first and third Fridays of the month from 7a-2p.  The museum will always have free admission on farmers market Fridays. This Friday's farmers market will feature a live cooking demonstration by the Hearty Boys.
Where: 5700 S. Lakeshore Drive, Chicago
When: Mon-Sat 9:30a-5:3op / Sun 11a-5:30p

Habitat Park: The outdoor nature exploration area, Habitat Park, at the Kohl Children's Museum reopens this week.  The newly renovated area includes a slate water-painting wall, a butterfly garden, a sensory garden, and climbing structures for both school-age children and toddlers.  There is also an Imagination Hut which allows kids to play in a fort-like environment full of tunnels, passages, and hiding places.  The price of the park is included in admission.  Admission is $7.50 for adults and kids over the age of 1.  
Where: Kohl Children's Museum • 2100 Patriot Blvd
When: Reopens this Wed • Hours are Mon-Sat 9:30a-5p / Sun 12n-5p

Toddlers, Tunes, and Turtles: this Park District program will make its way to various Chicago parks throughout the summer.  Kids will be able to interact with animals, participate in nature-themed art projects, and listen to live performances by artists from Old Town School of Folk Music.  
Where: South Shore Cultural Center • 7059 South Shore Drive
When: Wed 5p-7p

Raven Fest: This second annual street fest in Ravenswood benefits the tutoring program and playground rehab project at Chase Park.  The fest will feature jumping inflatables, story telling, the Merry Music Makers, kid's yoga, a petting zoo, face painting, and more.  Parents, if cover bands are your thing, book a babysitter and hit the fest for Two White Crew, Trippin Billies, and Mike and Joe.  The Raven promises plenty of food and drink from local restaurants as well. 
Where: 4700 block of North Clark St between Lawrence and Leland
When:  Fri 5p-10p / Sat noon-10p / Sun noon-9p

Chalk Festival 2009:  Unleash your child's inner sidewalk-Picasso at Oz Park on Saturday for Art Therapy Connection's Chalk Festival.  Professional artists will reproduce famous works of art using chalk on a sidewalk canvas throughout the park.  For $10 you can buy your kids a square where they can create their own little chalk masterpieces.  There will be a Wiggleworms concert, a Jesse White Tumblers show, and other performances and activities for kids.
Where: Oz Park between Webster and Dickens at Larabee St • Lincoln Park
When: Sat 9:30a-3p   

Metronome Celebration: What differentiates this  inaugural Logan Square street festival from the rest of the fests?  The Metronome fest has stepped up the music choices by featuring 40 original bands (no cover bands here) on four stages.  You and your little rockers can enjoy a stage devoted to Electronic, Folk, Punk, and Rock.  Food will be provided by 20 local restaurants, there will green products and services,  and a good beer selection as Goose Island is one of the sponsors. And of course there will be a family area with face painting, games, and balloon artists.  Entrance fee is $5 per person.
Where: Milwaukee Ave at Western and Armitage • Logan Square
When: Sat and Sun 12n-10p

Naperville Frontier Kite Fly Festival:  Go fly a kite in Naperville this weekend.  Or be a voyeur and watch professional kite fliers and amateurs alike fly their kites over Frontier Park.  There will be all kinds of activities for kids such as kite making and a carnival.  Admission is free to the festival and $5 for the carnival.
Where:  Frontier Park • 95th and Book Rd
When: Sat and Sun 10a-4p

Kraft Kids Concerts at Ravina: Ravina kicks off the summer season with the first in a series of family-friendly shows this weekend.  On Saturday, the Koi-Thi Dance Company plays instruments and performs cultural dances in brightly-colored authentic costumes.  $10 for reserved seats and $5 for lawn.
Where:  200 Ravinia Park Road • Highland Park 
When: Saturday • Gates at 10a and performance at 11:30a

Summerfest at the Palos Park Children's Farm:  At this annual summer farm festival, kids can enjoy horse rides, hayrides, tours of the animal barns, crafts, games, food, and more.  Parents will enjoy shopping at the Green Fair and perusing the flea market vendors.  Cost is $4 for adults and $2 for kids.
Where: Children's Farm at the Center • 12700 Southwest Highway, Palos Park
When: Saturday 10a-4p

Chicago Children's Museum: Sunday is a free day at the Children's Museum and a perfect time to check out the new Block Party exhibit.   Block Party is a kids-sized replica of Chicago's neighborhood festivals.  Kids will have the chance to get on stage to perform in a rock band, prepare meals in food booths for the festival goers, use the cash registers, or just chill out on the lawn for some people watching and live music.
Where: Navy Pier • 700 E. Grand Ave, Chicago
When: Sunday is free for kids 15 and under • Hours are M-W/F-Sun 10a-5p and Th 10a-8p


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. Sunday 6/7  is a free admission day 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. 

Barnes and Noble Story Time:  Are you looking for a free activity for a rainy day?  You can enjoy a latte while your kids enjoy story time at one of the Barnes and Noble city locations.  2-3 times a week the city locations offers a story time activity for children ages 0-3 years.
Where: Webster Place (1441 W. Webster) or State and Elm (1130 N. State)
When: Webster- Every Mon, Tues, Thurs 10am / State- Every Mon & Sat 10am

Brookfield ZooIn 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.

Chicago Botanic Garden -Model Railroad GardenStarting 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 

Garfield Park ConservatoryEvery Wednesday through the fall is 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: Every Wednesday through 10/28 • 3p-6p

Green City MarketVisit Chicago's largest Farmer's Market in the heart of Lincoln Park every Wed and Sat through October 31st. Be sure to stop by the Growing Home booth for your organic produce. 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

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. 

The Pig Pen: Pig Pen is half clothing store and half arts and crafts studio.  While you shop for locally made, organic, and gently used children's clothes and accessories, your kids will paint, glue, glitter, sticker, and stamp their little hearts out.  Kids under age 4 can spend an hour crafting for $5 while kids 4 and older are $10 for an hour.   Tara, Pig Pen's owner, throws a great birthday party at a great price.  
Where: 1536 W. Jarvis • Rogers Park
When: Tue-Sat 10a-5p / Sun 10a-3p

Pump It Upwhen 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!

Tots on Tuesdays at the Shedd: Every Tuesday the Shedd Aquarium offers activities devoted to toddlers and pre-schoolers. There are story times, crafts, animal touch programs, videos and costumed characters.
Where: The Shedd Aquarium • 1200 S. Lakeshore Drive, Chicago
When: Tuesdays • 9a-5p

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