Friday, May 29, 2009

Monday 6/8 - Sunday 6/14

The weather blew and attendance was low which made Raven Fest and Chalk Fest good warm up events for the sure-to-be-crowded street fests this coming weekend.  Speaking of crowded, I didn't even list Old Town Art Fair below.  I will reserve that festival for 20-somethings looking for a summer fling and the middle aged set who can actually afford the art being sold.  Yes, I know there is a family area but I still can't help to believe that those of us with strollers should leave this one for the youngsters, or at least for those parents lucky enough to score a babysitter.

Thought of the week: Local Mom Makes Funny
If you are like me, you have time to watch approximately 2.5 episodes of Oprah per month when the show title on your DVR sounds somewhat intriguing.  A few months ago, I tuned into the "Truth About Motherhood" episode hoping for revolutionary motherhood secrets to be revealed between funny quips from the featured mommy bloggers.  Only one of the moms on the show (the one that opted to pee in a diaper rather than stop for a bathroom break and interrupt rare quiet time with sleeping children in her car) had me peeing myself with laughter.  Last week I discovered a local mom's website, and my first thought was, "this chick is hilarious.  why wasn't she on Oprah?"  For those of you who need some comedy relief between tantrums and diaper changes, hit on a regular basis.  I was laughing aloud at Tuesday's blog entry: Thanks for the Guilt: To My Son's Pre-School.  And to think, momtrolfreak could be the mom next door, the mom of your kid's pre-school bff, the mom you idly chatted with in line at Target.  We may never know, the fact that she's anonymous is half the fun.  Now if someone out there has a connection at Harpo, perhaps a suggestion to the Queen of Media would guarantee one funny mommy on next season's follow up show.

The Alder Planetarium is free this week Mon-Fri.  The Planetarium is currently showing One World, One Sky: Big Bird's Adventure in which 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. Entrance to the museum is free this week but the show will run you an additional $9 for adults and kids over age 3.
Where: 1300 S. Lakeshore Drive, Chicago. 
When: Mon-Fri are free! Open 10a-4p

Concerts in the Park: Every Tuesday night this summer head to the gazebo in Welles Park for a free show.  This week's musicians are The Paul Green School of Rock.  Students from local high schools who are in TPGSOR will be performing.  Bring a blanket and a picnic and rock out with the fam.  FREE
Where: Welles Park gazebo • 2333 W. Sunnyside 
When: Tuesday 6:30p-8:30p

Family Fun Festival: Kid-friendly activities start up again this week in Millennium Park.  Head down there any day this summer for a Wiggleworms class,  story time Reading Circle, or music and dancing during Family Performance.  The perfect place to wiggle and sing, chill-out, boogie, do the bean-thing, and run through the fountains all in the same day.  FREE
Where: Millennium Park Chase Promenade North
When: Daily starting Wed 6/10 • 10a Wiggleworms • 11a Reading Circle • 1p Family Performance

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.  FREE.
Where: Winnemac Park • 5100 N. Leavitt St.
When: Wednesday • 5p-7p

Pals Around the Pond: Head to Lincoln Park for an outdoor class for kids ages 3-6 hosted by the Nature Museum.  Kids will learn about the North Pond and the critters that make it their home.  $7 for members / $9 for non-members.  Call 773.755.5111 x6 to register.   Remember, Thursday is a free day at the museum so you can visit the butterflies and indoor play area after the class at no additional cost!
Where: Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum • 2430 N. Cannon Drive
When: Thursday • 9:30a-10:30a

Stroller Struts:  During this park district program, your kids get to learn about nature from the comfort of their ride while mom or dad gets some exercise.  FREE.
Where: Meet at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum • 2430 N. Cannon Drive
When: Thursday 10a

Kraft Kids Concerts at RavinaRavina isn't just for the wine and cheese crowd anymore. Jump on the Metra with your little ones and a picnic basket and head to the Northshore concert venue this weekend to hang with the PB&J crowd.  On Saturday, the Dirty Sock Funtime Band will be rocking the stage.  This is a pretty popular children's band so you may want to click on the above link and buy your tickets ahead of time.  $10 for reserved seats and $5 for lawn.
Where:  200 Ravinia Park Road • Highland Park 
When: Saturday • Gates at 10a and performance at 11a

Andersonville Midsommarfest: Head to the northside to get your Swede on at this annual A-Ville fest.  The people are colorful, the cover bands play all your favorite hits, the food is sure to be delish as many of A-ville's restaurants will have booths, and of course there is entertainment and crafts for the kiddies.
Where: Clark Street north of Foster 
When: Sat and Sun • 11a-10p

Ribfest:  If you can tolerate the crowds, this street fest provides some of the best food and music to date this summer.  Last year my family spent quite a bit of time in the "Kids Square" where there was a petting zoo and crafts.  This year's Kids Square promises more of the same plus a mini-golf course, story time, and inflatables.  I would recommend you leave your strollers at home and bust out the kiddie backpacks, bjorns, slings, etc.  Either that or become one of the parents you've always loathed and put a leash on your kid.
Where: Lincoln/Irving Park/Damen intersection
When: Fri 5p-10p • Sat and Sun 12n-10p

Hideout Kid's Dance Party:  The last time you were at the Hideout is was probably years ago well past midnight and you were drenched in sweat happily dancing amongst a strange crowd to some crazy live music.  Ah, relive those memories this Sunday around 12 o'clock, noon this time, with your youngsters.  Once again you can boogie on down with another crazy crowd: the under-four-feet set.  This dance party features disco tunes, snacks, and cartoons on the big screens.  The best reason to go - proceeds benefit the Jasper Against Batten Fund.  A heartbreaking childhood disorder that I had never heard of before this blog posting.  Click the above link to donate.
Where: The Hideout • 1354 W. Wabansia, Chicago
When: Sunday 12n-4p


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

Chicago Children's Museum: The first Sunday of the month is always 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:  M-W/F-Sun 10a-5p and Th 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. 

Museum of Science and Industry:   Bring your kids to see the Harry Potter exhibit, the Green Home exhibit, and to see live science experiments.   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.  Otherwise, general admission is $13 for adults and $9 for kids ages 3-11.
Where: 5700 S. Lakeshore Drive, Chicago
When: Mon-Sat 9:30a-5:3op / Sun 11a-5:30p

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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