Saturday, October 10, 2009

Monday 10/12 - Sunday 10/18

Thought of the Week: Grinding Halt
I realize I'm probably the last one in the city to list and/or review Family Grounds Cafe in Northcenter.  We've been busy traveling in the last month, so I just hadn't had a chance to get there yet.  Plus, I couldn't imagine playing in an indoor playground when it was warm outside so we waited until last Friday to check it out.  In case you don't remember, Friday = rainy+cold.  Due to an appointment in the morning, we couldn't make it to FG until 10:15a.  I should have been there a bit earlier, but parking was horrific (tip:  forget about the Family Grounds parking lot post-9am on a rainy day).  Anyway, when we made our way inside I found that the lucky members of our playgroup who had arrived right around 9a were happily frolicking in the play area.  Little Man and I were unhappily on the waiting list - a minimum of a 45 minute wait waiting list.  So, I purchase my chai tea latte, and wait, and wait, and let Little Man have some and now he's all hopped up on caffeine with no where to play.  Readers, I hope you don't misinterpret this as a pissed off rant about Family Grounds.  Really what I'm most pissed off about is that I didn't come up with the concept first.  This place is so popular that I'm predicting lines around the block in the dead of winter.  Anyway, the moral to this story is this: check the Family Grounds website frequently in the coming month.  I heard the owner telling people that she is considering a sign up list for play times on the FG website.  And since we left before our name was called as it was looking like more than a 45 minute wait, I'd love to have the opportunity to go back without the possibility of delay.  If I have to be on maternity leave in the dead of winter in Chicago, a wait-free FG sounds like an excellent place to have newborn slung to my chest while sipping warm, caffeinated beverages AND letting the Little Man run himself ragged.  This scenario thus ensures a big afternoon nap for the entire household, which of course is the ultimate goal.  Maybe that's an optimistic view of my future, but a girl can dream.  If my dream comes true, we'll be at FG multiple times a week. 


Columbus Day Celebration/Camp: You have to work but your kids don't have school on Columbus Day.  No problem, you can drop your kids age 6-12 off at Margate Park on Monday for a day chocked full of activities including a movie, sports, games, and other activities.
When: Monday 9a-6p
Where: Margate Park  4921 N Marine Drive AND Wicker Park • 1425 N Damen

Day Off at the Museum:  Kids age 6-8 can spend Columbus day at the Notebaert learning about science and animals.  Snacks are provided but you will need to pack a lunch.  $45 members and $55 non-members. 
When: Monday 9a-3p
Where: The Notebaert Nature Museum • 2430 N Cannon Drive, Chicago

Field Museum: Monday is a free admission day at the Field Museum.  It is sure to be crowded given that it is a school holiday.  The Real Pirates exhibit ends next week, so make sure to hit the museum soon if you haven't taken your kids to this exhibit. 
When: Monday 9a-5p
Where: 1400 S Lakeshore Drive, Chicago

Bedtime Buddies:  Come check out the zoo under the stars and moon on Friday night.  Kids can wish small mammals and reptiles goodnight and then head to the bat cave and get up close to the nocturnal animals.   Open to all ages but designed for kids age 3-10.  Members pay $35 for adults/$25 for kids 3+.  Non-members pay $40 for adults/$30 for kids age 3+. 
When: Friday 7p-9p
Where: Lincoln Park Zoo • 2200 N Cannon, Chicago

Brookfield ZooThe zoo celebrates halloween with Boo at the Zoo and Dino Nights this weekend.  There will be scarecrow building, pumpkin decorating, a corn maze, hay rides, etc during the day.  There will also be a nighttime entrance to Dinosaurs Alive as well as spooky Halloween activities into the evening. Combo tickets for both events are $18 for adults and $12 for kids 3+.  
When: Dino Nights is Fri-Sun Night Boo at the Zoo is Sat and Sun day (hit above link for exact times)
Where: Brookfield Zoo • 8400 31st Street, Brookfield

Twilight Night: Kids of all ages are invited to Northerly Island to explore what lurks in the dark.  There will be star gazing, learning about nocturnal animals, marshmallow roasting, crafts, and more.  FREE.
When: Friday 6p-8p
Where: Northerly Island • 1400 S Lynn Wright Drive

Corn Harvest Festival: The closest farm to Chicago will celebrate the autumnal season with horse drawn wagon rides, corn picking, apple pressing, interaction with the farm animals, and more. Seasonal farm treats will be available for purchase.  $3 per person and children under 2 are free.
When: Saturday 10a-4p
WhereHistoric Wagner Farm • 1510 Wagner Road, Glenview

Pumpkins in the Park 5K Run and Walk: Head to Lincoln Park for some exercise and fun activities for all ages.  Aside from the 5K, there will be a children's costume parade, pumpkin decorating, an adult costume contest and live music.  This is basically a fall fest that just happens to have a race starting and finishing in it's confines. Beer will be served.  The cost is $35 for the 5K and $10 for the kids sprints.  Register this week online or at a Fleet Feet location.  You can register at the event as well if there is still space remaining.
When: Sat 2p-6p (Kids sprints at 2:30p and 5K is at 4p)
Where: Lincoln Park • 1800 N Stockton Drive 

Morton Arboretum: There are all kinds of fall festivities happening every weekend in October at the Arboretum.  Kids can paint pumpkins, enjoy a scarecrow trial, watch professional gourd carving, eat seasonal food, play in the children's garden, etc.  
When: Weekends in October
Where: Morton Arboretum  4100 IL Route 43, Lisle


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 TimeAre 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.

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 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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