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Once Upon a Castle

Chicago Children's Museum | Chicago, Ill.

An original exhibit inviting young imaginations to create their own kingdom in a one-of-a-kind castle-themed play space. Kids hold the power to play in a castle complete with secret tunnels, a rope bridge, tower, dungeon, throne room, wizard's room, kitchen, feasting table, market and more, setting the stage for a fantastical experience where the only limit is one's imagination.

Cost: Free with museum admission

Dream with Da Vinci

DuPage Children's Museum | Naperville, Ill.

Visitors will learn the basics about Da Vinci and the Renaissance era; children will add their own ideas and voices to the exhibit. They can explore elements of flight and connect today’s technology to Da Vinci’s innovations; explore several machines and structures, from bridges to clock gears; try on the role of engineer; express themselves with different artistic mediums, from clay to crayons; and dress up in Renaissance clothing.

Cost: Free with museum admission

Children’s China: Celebrating Culture, Character and Confucius

Kohl Children's Museum | Glenview, Ill.

This interactive exhibit explores what life is like for children in China. Kids will celebrate the annual holiday, National Teachers’ Day, while learning to write “thank you teacher” in Chinese characters on a touchscreen notepad. Kids will shop in a traditional Chinese neighborhood market and then prepare a healthy meal while working in a restaurant. In the home, visitors will learn how families celebrate the Chinese New Year and participate in a daily dragon parade led by a traditional dragon headdress. Computer interactives invite children to experience the art of paper cutting, discover their lunar calendar animal and play traditional musical instruments. A key focus of the exhibit will be Confucius, the inspirational teacher and moral leader still considered to be a hero to children in China today.

Cost: Free with museum admission

Fun Unplugged: Little Adults

DuPage County Historical Museum | Wheaton, Ill.

FREE  

Located in the room across from the Museum’s electric HO gauge model railroad, the exhibit displays popular and homemade toys that entertained children without electricity, from army figurines to tea sets, board games, dollhouses, erector sets, irons, stoves, cabins, and more.

Cost: Free

Freedom: A History of US

Naper Settlement | Naperville, Ill.

Exhibit explores the evolution of freedom by examining critical figures and events in U.S. history from founding until 1968. Visitors can view reproductions of a rare 1776 printing of the Declaration of Independence, a secretly printed draft and official copy of the U.S. Constitution, Lincoln’s handwritten notes of speeches and letters by leading figures such as Frederick Douglass, Susan B. Anthony and others. There will also be a variety of local components on display, including reproductions of a letter written from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., a NCC Chapel Convocation Program, and a pair of shoes on display that were worn by North Central College student, Mike Bibler, who wore them to the Selma March in 1965.

Cost: Free with museum admission

Brick by Brick

Museum of Science and Industry | Chicago, Ill.

Features a spectacular collection of more than a dozen giant Lego-built structures of engineering marvels, including a 60-foot long Golden Gate Bridge. Guests will learn how architects and engineers push the limits of design, materials and location to make the seemingly impossible, possible; witness how form follows function; learn how building beautifully uplifts us all; and explore Chicago’s impact as the birthplace of the skyscraper.

Cost: Requires a separate, timed-entry ticket.

Where the Wild Things Are: The Works of Maurice Sendak

Museum of Science and Industry | Chicago, Ill.

Explore original artworks by Sendak, including sketches, illustrations and works on paper. Presidents, illustrators, friends and celebrities also share their words about the renowned author—how he inspired them, influenced their careers and touched their lives.

Cost: Free with museum admission

Experience Rock N’ Roll

Northbrook Court | Northbrook, Ill.

This memorable interactive exhibit explores the history of rock and roll, uncovers the fundamental building blocks of music, demonstrates how instruments work, investigates how sounds are produced, reveals the science of sound recordings, and sheds light on careers in the music business.

Cost: $14.95, $9.95 kids

Chicago Auto Show

Chicago, Ill.

The nation's largest and longest-running auto exposition showcases over 1,000 domestic and imported vehicles, auto-related exhibits, competition vehicles and project, antique and collector cars

When: Visit website for times.
Cost: Visit website for admission prices

Winter Play

The Morton Arboretum | Lisle, Ill.

A self-guided glimpse into the world of outdoor play will depend on the day. Possibilities include painting snow or building a fort.

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