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Fall Color Leaf Hike

Heller Nature Center | Highland Park, Ill.

Adults and children both will get a basic lesson in Mandarin Chinese through engaging, hands-on activities involving the colors and shapes of nature in fall. Offered in conjunction with Language Stars

When: 10-11 a.m.
Cost: $8

Flying Squirrel Night Hike

Prairieview Education Center | Crystal Lake, Ill.

Do flying squirrels actually fly? What do they eat, and where do they live? Find the answers to these questions and more while exploring the outdoors at night in search of the elusive flying squirrels.

When: 7-8:30 p.m.
Cost: $5, free resident

Ralph’s World Rocks and Reads!

Chicago Children's Theatre | Chicago, Ill.

A best-of live concert experience featuring favorite Ralph’s World songs. Covert’s top tunes correspond with his popular early learning children’s picture books including “Sawdust & Spangles,” “The Amazing Life of W.C. Coup” and his newest book, “Ralph’s World Rocks!” Fun, colorful, crazy multimedia productions and a big time “dance in your seats” vibe are cleverly infused with early learning reading, math and life lessons, making Ralph’s World Rocks and Reads! a one-of-a-kind, rock ‘n learn experience for kids.

When: 10 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. Friday; 11 a.m., 2 and 6 p.m. Saturday; 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Sunday
Cost: $39, $28 kids

Strolling through History

Oriental Institute Museum | Chicago, Ill.

This light-hearted tour and lively discussion in the galleries is for parents and caregivers and their pre-toddler-age (18 months or younger) children. This new program is offered every second Tuesday of each month. Tour begins in Breasted Hall and ends with playtime for babies in LaSalle Banks Room. Sept. 8: Changing Faces; Oct. 13: Magic & Mummies; Nov. 10: Eat, Play & Be Merry; Dec. 8: Superheroes & Myths.

When: 2-3:30 p.m.
Cost: $15, $10 members

Nature Connects: Art with Lego bricks by Sean Kenney

The Morton Arboretum | Lisle, Ill.

Marvel at 13 larger-than-life displays created from nearly half a million Lego bricks. Walk the Arboretum’s tree-lined grounds on the east side to find nature-themed sculptures crafted by Lego artist Sean Kenney, including a monarch butterfly boasting an eight-foot wingspan and an enormous hummingbird sipping nectar from a colorful trumpet flower.


When: 7 a.m.-sunset
Cost: Free with admission

Wings of Wonder: The Lorikeet Exhibit

Nicholas Conservatory & Gardens | Rockford, Ill.

Visitors will be “face to beak” with the small- to medium-sized parrots known for their playful personalities, vibrant coloration, and their ability to mimic words and sounds.

When: 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Cost: Free with conservatory admission


Chicago Children's Museum | Chicago, Ill.

Kids immerse themselves in a nautical experience of their own invention, complete with docks and an assortment of boats. Toddlers to tweens will be inspired to create their own lake-faring scenarios, like steering the ship, kayaking, hoisting a sail, or dropping a fishing line to catch ‘the big one.’ The exhibit includes a dock with a bait and tackle shop, a kayak, sailboat and two-level work boat with a wheelchair-accessible lower cabin (complete with bunk and a kitchen prep area) offering countless opportunities for kids to envision themselves as a cook, rescuer, biologist or whichever role they choose.

Cost: Free with museum admission

Run! Jump! Fly! Adventures in Action

Kohl Children's Museum | Glenview, Ill.

The exhibit allows visitors to engage in exciting activities including surfing, snowboarding, kung fu and rock climbing all in a fun and immersing environment. Visitors jump into “Action Star Training,” which are play activities that build strength, coordination, balance and endurance, and can earn stamps for each adventures they try in their Action Trackers. At the conclusion with their visit, guests can bring home a 3-day Action Tracker to build on the skills and activities they learned and incorporate them into their own lives.

Cost: Free with museum admission


John G. Shedd Aquarium | Chicago, Ill.

Developed and designed exclusively by Shedd, the one-of-a-kind exhibit will offer guests an immersive visual, audio and hands-on experience, immersing guests in the changing lives of salamanders, sirens, frogs, toads, newts, and more. Tadpoles will swim overhead, unusual and surprising amphibian sounds will fill the air, frogs in every color of the rainbow will hop and little-known, limbless caecilians will swim and slither.


Stingray Touch

John G. Shedd Aquarium | Chicago, Ill.

Shedd staff members guide guests through the 15-minute touch experience, while providing interesting facts about stingrays, including information about how choosing sustainable seafood protects stingrays in global waters. The outdoor exhibit also allows visitors to see the cownose stingrays through various angles.


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