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The Irish American Heritage Festival

Chicago, Ill.

This annual family event features more than 100 performers for 3 days. Plus, Irish and American food and drink, shopping, step dancers, cultural exhibits, children's activities, a raffle with a trip to Ireland, the Mashed Potato Eating Contest and Sham-ROCK Stars singing contest for kids.

When: 6 p.m.-1 a.m. July 11; noon-1 a.m. July 12; 11 a.m.-11 p.m. July 13
Cost: $10-20, free kids 10 and under

Windmill City Festival

Batavia, Ill.


Featuring carnival, entertainment, music and demonstrations.

When: July 10-13. Visit website for schedule of events
Cost: Free

Windy City Smokeout

Chicago, Ill.

Guests can enjoy southern-inspired fare from premiere Chicago BBQ restaurants and have the opportunity to interact with chefs and their culinary teams. Plus country music and a Family Day on Sunday.

When: 3-10 p.m. July 11; noon-10 p.m. July 12, noon-9 p.m. July 13
Cost: $30; free kids 12 and under before 4 p.m. Sunday

Curious George Visits

Cosley Zoo | Wheaton, Ill.

Families have the chance to visit Curious George while interacting with animals and zookeepers.

When: 10 a.m.-noon
Cost: Free with admission

Swing! The Science of Baseball

Elmhurst Historical Museum | Elmhurst, Ill.


Try cool science experiments to learn how Newton's Three Laws of Motion apply to baseball. Make objects hover and fly, experiment with a human gyroscope to feel G-force, and trick gravity with inertia, plus get science tricks to take home. Registration required:

When: 1:30-2:30 p.m. or 3-4 p.m.
Cost: Free


Discovery Center Museum | Rockford, Ill.


Hold a baby bunny or cradle a downy chick during this barnyard bonanza of fun. Meet live turkeys, pigs, goats and ducks; plant seeds; play in the grain, and more. Fashion a hat, decorate a barn, and celebrate summer on the farm.

When: 11 a.m.-3:30 p.m.
Cost: Free with museum admission

Adventure Day

Seascape Family Aquatic Center | Hoffman Estates, Ill.

Cabelas provides kayaking demos and brings a variety of tents to explore. The portable climbing wall is available for rock climbing and Above and Underwater Scuba facilitates snorkeling demos.

When: 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.
Cost: Check website

LamaSeuss: Fine Feathered Friends

Oriental Institute Museum | Chicago, Ill.


Hear a reading from Dr. Seuss, plus go on a “birding” expedition through the Oriental Institute’s galleries and discover birds both common and rare and what people 3,000 years ago thought of them.

When: 11 a.m.-noon
Cost: Free

Where's Waldo? Neighborhood-Wide Scavenger Hunt

Women and Children First | Chicago, Ill.


Beginning July 1, children can stop by for a list of participating stores, which each have a 6" Waldo figurine hidden somewhere on the premises. When the child finds him, that business's staff will give the child a card that says "I found Waldo at _____." Bring all the cards back for chances to win prizes.

Cost: Free

Tree House Tales

The Morton Arboretum | Lisle, Ill.

Enter a tree house village filled with adventure and imagination. Play, make believe, and become part of the trees' ever-changing tale. The exhibition is comprised of six fun-filled, educational tree houses, aimed at kids 2-10.

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

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