Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Mon 7/13 - Sun 7/19

My husband called this past weekend "Man vs. Festival" and even though we experienced two great days of food, music, and bike-friendly activities, I'm not sure who won. Our son would probably argue that his mud-encrusted sandals and stroller full of street-vendor swag make him the outright champ, but as the sun sets on Sunday night I sit here and type without having finished any of the laundry, grocery shopping, or cleaning. Tomorrow is a work day for mom so let's move on.....

Thought of the Week: Stay and Spray
A few weeks ago I wrote about getting out of the city to enjoy the suburban pools. Cityfolk, when you are looking to save on gas and time, there are plenty of opportunities to get soaked at water playgrounds within city limits. One of my favorites is Adams Playground in Lincoln Park as it has an awesome climbable water structure and a spray play area. The only problem with Adams is that the water playground doesn't open until 12n or 1p most weekdays through early August. The water area opens at 10a on weekends though, so if you are contending with an afternoon nap, make this a Sat-Sun destination. Click above for details. Heading a little further north, River Park on Foster right across from Galter Life Center, has a great water play area and swimming pool. There is a fence between the sprayground and swimming pool, which means not having to worry about your little one running into the deep end when you turn your back. The spray area is open from 11a-7p daily but closes between 1p-3p M-F. While there is no baby pool, the swimming pool has parent tot swim time 11a-11:45a M-F and 11a-12:30p Sat-Sun. This is a big, beautiful city park with lots of grass and trees - perfect for a summer picnic. Barely inside of city limits, but worth the drive, is the Whealan Pool Aquatic Center at Devon and Milwaukee. Whealan boasts a water playground, zero depth pool, baby pool, sand play area, and water slides. If it sounds as good as a suburban pool, it is because you can throw a stone and hit Niles. Hours are 11a-7p daily. Adults are $5, kids 4-12 are $3, and kids 3 and under are free. Get out and enjoy the city spray!


Craft Mobile: Throughout the week the Chicago Park District is bringing an outdoor crafting station to various parks and playlots throughout the city. Kids under age 6 can enjoy outdoor craft projects including sidewalk murals, stained glass window hangings, drawing, and more. All crafting supplies will be provided. Hit their website for where to find the Craft Mobile this week. There are 13 stops this week including the Ravenswood Manor and Senn playlots. FREE.
Where: Various playgrounds throughout the city
When: Mon - Fri this week

Camp Hollywood Family Film Series at the Davis: Every Tuesday and Wednesday the Davis Theater in Lincoln Square is showing family films for $1 per person! This week the feature presentation is "Hotel for Dogs".
Where: Davis Theater • 4614 N Lincoln Ave
When: Tues and Wed • Doors at 9:30a/Movie at 10a

Dancin' Sprouts at the Botanic Garden: Kids' band Jeanie B! and the Jelly Beans will be performing two shows on Wednesday night at the Botanic Garden. Bring a picnic and your dancing shoes and make it a family outing. This event is free but you'll still have to pay the Botanic Garden's $20 parking fee.
Where: The Botanic Garden's Esplanade • 1000 Lake Cook Road, Glencoe
When: Wednesday at 5:30p and 6:30p

Nature Story and Activity Hour: Head to Northerly Island for story time followed by a nature themed crafts activity sponsored by the park district. Come a little early or stay late to enjoy the nature paths, play areas, and views of the city skyline. Kids 6 and under. FREE.
Where: Northerly Island • 1400 S Lynn White Drive
When: Wednesday 10a-11a

Movie in the Park - Kung Fu Panda: Let your kids stay up late this week and enjoy movie watching in the great outdoors under the stars. Pack up your chairs, blankets and popcorn and head to Wicker Park for some high-kicking panda moves and star-studded voices (Jack Black, Dustin Hoffman, Angelina Jolie).
Where: Wicker Park • 1425 N Damen, Chicago
When: Thursday 8:30p-10:30p

Stroller Strut: 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: Gompers Park • 4222 W Foster Ave, Chicago
When: Thursday 10a

Green Kids Room: If you haven't been to Uncommon Ground on Devon, Saturday is the perfect time to check it out with the kids. Eating at this restaurant any day of the week provides a green education as Uncommon has a certified organic rooftop garden and they grow everything from tomatoes to currants in planter boxes alongside the outdoor eating area. On Saturday, their monthly green series is targeted towards families with entertainment by Little Miss Ann, samples of organic kids' products, and special guests like the Green Mama and Purple Asparagus. Parents can enjoy a cocktail while the kiddies rock out and snack on organic goodies. I'd like to give special thanks to the coordinators of this event for scheduling it post-naptime! We'll be there!
Where: Uncommon Ground on Devon • 1401 West Devon
When: Saturday 3p-5p

Evanston's Ethnic Arts Festival: Bring the kids up to Evanston for cultural education made fun this weekend. The Ethnic Arts fest will include live music, dancing, and art on the lakefront in Dawes Park. There will be arts and crafts as well as poetry activities for kids all day. FREE.
Where: Dawes Park • Sheridan Road and Church Street, Evanston
When: Sat and Sun 12n-7p

Sheffield Garden Walk: The Sheffield Garden walk isn't just keg parties and beer pong - there have been confirmations of actual gardens! Throw your kids in the stroller, backpack, or bjorn and take them on a walk through some of Lincoln Park's most beautiful backyards and gardens. When they tire of the tour, hit the Kids' Corner inside of the festival confines where there will be story time, entertainment by Bubbles Academy, pony rides, a ferris wheel, petting zoo, train rides, a visit from the fire department, and more. The Kids' Corner is located in the 2200 block of Kenmore and open from 12n-5p on Sat and Sun. Hit the link above for the schedule of kids' events. $6 donation before 3p $10 after.
Where: Webster and Sheffield, Chicago
When: Sat and Sun Garden Tours • 12n-5:30p Festival 12n-9:30p


The Alder Planetarium 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. The cost of entry plus the show is $19 for adults and $15 for kids ages 3-14.
Where: 1300 S. Lakeshore Drive, Chicago.
When: Mon-Fri 10a-4p • Sat-Sun 10a-4:30p

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 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.

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 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 Conservatory: Every 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 Market: Visit 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.

Lincoln Park Zoo's Edible Garden: Don't have room for a garden on your back deck? Bring your little ones to the Farm-in-the-Zoo's Edible Garden where kids get hands-on growing, weeding, compost making, and harvesting practice. Your kids may leave with an understanding that corn and tomatoes are grown somewhere other than Jewel.
Where: Lincoln Park Zoo Farm-in-the Zoo • 2200 N Canon Drive, Chicago
When: Garden is open Wed and Sat 10a-1p

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

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!

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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