80 at 80

Museum of Science and Industry | Chicago, Ill.

Special exhibit showcases 80 rarely displayed artifacts from the museum's extensive collection in honor of the museum's 80th anniversary. These artifacts, carefully selected by MSI curators, will ignite guests' memories from past exhibits but many will be revealed for the first time.

Cost: Free with admission

Treasures of the Walt Disney Archives

Museum of Science and Industry | Chicago, Ill.

The exhibit showcases the creative accomplishments and innovations of one of Chicago's native sons, Walt Disney, and the ongoing legacy of the company that bears his name. Features artifacts that have not been widely seen by the public, including drawings, props, costumes, artwork from classic Disney animation, theme park attractions, TV shows and live action films, plus items from contemporary Disney milestones. Hands-on, interactive stations bring Disney's technological breakthroughs in animation and motion pictures to life. Guests can try recording sound effects, explore Disney's revolutionary MultiPlane film camera and learn to draw some of their favorite Disney characters in the Animation Academy.

Cost: $9, $7 kids 3-11, plus admission

The Places You’ll Go

Waukegan Public Library | Waukegan, Ill.

FREE  

Includes hands-on elements that teach children about the role of transportation in their lives. The exhibit includes an auto repair shop, a train station with caboose, flight simulator and airplane cockpit, wind tunnel, and bicycles on stands. The exhibit will also help develop map-reading skills, teach the elements of flight, and help children recognize street signs. In addition, a G-scale model train will run above the children's department desk all year. The exhibit also includes information on energy efficient ways to travel.

Cost: Free

Illinois State Fair

Springfield, Ill.

This event features entertainment, carnival, parade, kids' tent, petting zoo and animal shows.

When: Aug. 7-17. Grounds open 7 a.m.-midnight, buildings open 9 a.m.-9 p.m.
Cost: $7, $3 kids 5-12 and seniors, free kids under 5

Cool Kids Winter Play

Morton Arboretum | Lisle, Ill.

A guided glimpse into the world of outdoor play will depend on the day. Possibilities include snowman and snow fort building with natural materials or garden scavenger hunt for natural objects. Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from Dec. 1-Feb. 28.

When: 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.
Cost: Free with admission

Gnome Hunt

Morton Arboretum | Lisle, Ill.

Search for gnomes in the Children's Garden using your best "I Spy" skills. Checklist provided.

When: 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m.
Cost: Free with admission

The Orchid Show

Chicago Botanic Garden | Glencoe, Ill.

A showcase of unusual and stunning orchids that gives visitors the opportunity to learn about one of the largest, most diverse and revered flowering plant families. Special activities include a Garden Shop kiosk offering orchid items for purchase, orchid vendors on the weekends, a free story time in the Lenhardt Library on Mondays, and family weekend classes that include making ice cream with the vanilla orchid seed and making a tropical terrarium.

When: Purchase timed tickets online
Cost: Check website

Solar Lit Trails

Lake County Forest Preserves | Libertyville, Ill.

FREE  

With small solar lights to guide their way, hikers, skiers and snowshoers traverse the Solar Lit Trails at Pleasant Valley, Woodstock (half mile beginner loop) or Hickory Grove Highlands, Cary (1 mile intermediate loop).

When: until 9 p.m. daily
Cost: Free

Paint Covered Wednesdays

Wonder Works | Oak Park, Ill.

Children use a large variety of paints, styles and canvases as they learn to tell their stories. Painting helps children by enhancing problem solving skills, improving fine motor skills, boosting self-esteem and allows them to express themselves in a positive way.

When: 10:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
Cost: Free with admission

Beginner's Art Studio

Wonder Works | Oak Park, Ill.

Children and adults can explore their creative sides in this fully engaging, open-ended art experience. Materials change daily, trained facilitators assist with the artistic process, while children create masterpeices. The drop-in art studio is open 10:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday and Wednesday-Saturday; 12:30-4:30 p.m. Sunday.

Cost: Free with paid admission
 





 
 
 
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