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JustPlay! Sports & Rec Festival

JustPlay! Rec & Sports Festival | Carol Stream, Ill.


Dozens of free activities to thousands of participants. All designed to encourage people of all ages and backgrounds to get active, have fun and try new things.

When: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. May 17; 10 a.m.-4 p.m. May 18
Cost: Free

Malott Japanese Garden Children’s Festival

Chicago Botanic Garden | Glencoe, Ill.

Listen to music, enjoy traditional folktales, and watch a tea ceremony. Kids of all ages can make projects to celebrate Girls' Day and Boys' Day, including design a kimono paper doll, create a miniature carp kite, construct an origami samurai helmet, and more at family-friendly hands-on stations.

When: 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
Cost: Free, $20 parking

Sheep to Shawl

Blackberry Farm | Aurora, Ill.

See how wool is sheared and witness the process that eventually turns wool into clothing items. Sheep-shearing demonstrations are at 1 and 3 p.m.

When: Noon-4 p.m.
Cost: Free with admission

Lilac Festival

Serosun Farms | Hampshire, Ill.

Includes a cookout, hayrides, kids' games, golf cart tours, a technology show and more. Stay for the Spring Concert with the Sons of the Never Wrong until 6 p.m.

When: Noon-4 p.m.
Cost: Check website


Heller Nature Center | Highland Park, Ill.

Discover the secrets of the honeybees, then dress up in a beesuit for a safe, up-close look at life inside the hive. Everyone will get a taste of honey to enjoy. Children must be accompanied by a registered adult. All participants must wear closed shoes and tall socks to visit the hives.

When: 1-2:30 p.m.
Cost: $8

Bear Awareness Weekend

Brookfield Zoo | Brookfield, Ill.

Join animal care staff and volunteers to become acquainted with the bears at Brookfield Zoo: polar bears, grizzly bears, and sloth bears. Enjoy special Zoo Chats, craft activities, and watching a bear training session. In addition, learn about bears in the wild and the challenges they face.

When: 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Cost: Free with admission

Free Public Tour

Skokie Northshore Sculpture Park | Skokie, Ill.


Explore the sculpture park with trained docents. Kids get a bit of culture and art education, but aren't expected to be sit still, be quiet and never touch anything. May 18, June 22, July 27, Aug. 24 and Sept. 28.

When: 1-2 p.m.
Cost: Free

Mom and Me Make a Father's Day Surprise

Arlington Heights Historical Museum | Arlington Heights, Ill.

Mom and child create a personalized gift for Dad, a card and a gift wrap. Register by May 10.

When: 1-2:30 p.m. and 3-4:30 p.m. May 18; 6:30-8 p.m. May 22
Cost: $20

Sheep Shearing and Spin-In

Graue Mill and Museum | Oak Brook, Ill.


Harold Davis, a master shearer, gives sheep shearing demonstrations (1:30 and 2:30 p.m.) and Graue Mill volunteers demonstrate the art of spinning raw fleece into woolen yarn. Try spinning on a drop spindle, one of the earliest tools still in use today in many cultures.

When: 1-4 p.m.
Cost: Free

Tea with the Turtles

Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum | Chicago, Ill.

Get up close and personal with turtles and other special species from the museum’s living collections, discover fun facts about these animals, and learn about the threats that many face each day. Nature Museum biologists will discuss conservation initiatives and answer questions. A light lunch and refreshments will be served. Highlight activities include the special turtle feeding program, turtle crafts and turtle-themed games and races.

When: 11 a.m.-1 p.m.
Cost: $20, $15 member, $10 kids 3 and up

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