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Zoom Room

Chicago Children's Museum | Chicago, Ill.

Step into a room-sized racecourse for toy cars. Climb up high to release your vehicle and see how far it goes. Send your wheels for a whirl through the twists and turns of a turnpike. Test different courses and vehicles to see what makes things move fast.

Cost: Free with admission

Forts

Chicago Children's Museum | Chicago, Ill.

Forts are the perfect place for pretend stakeout areas and secret society meetings. Use couch cushions, upside-down tables, doors, headboards-even stairs that go nowhere!-to create a cool and cozy space that's all your own.

Cost: Free with admission

Japan and Nature: Spirits of the Seasons

Kohl Children's Museum | Glenview, Ill.

A multi-media, interactive, exhibit that allows children to discover how nature is reflected and celebrated in the lives of Japanese children through special seasonal environments and traditional Japanese activities. The exhibit focuses on the regions of Lake Biwa, Sapporo, Kyoto and Fukuoka, offering an in-depth exploration of each region through video, audio and visual media, as well as authentic props and hands-on interactive activities.

Cost: Free with admission

Storytelling: Inspiring Traditions for Generations

Mitchell Museum of the American Indian | Evanston, Ill.

Exhibit looks at the many ways Native Americans tell the history of their people through visual and oral traditions. It contains more than sixty artifacts from tribes throughout the United States and Canada, including an Ojibwe drum, Winnebego jingle dress and Navajo rug.

Cost: $5, $3 fseniors, students and kids; free museum members and Tribal members

Megalodon: Largest Shark That Ever Lived

Burpee Museum of Natural History | Rockford, Ill.

Exhibit highlights the evolution, biology and misconceptions of Megalodon, an enormous prehistoric shark that once cruised all the world's oceans. The exhibit conveys current research findings of Florida Museum paleontologists, and showcases both fossil and modern shark specimens and full-scale models from several collections.

Cost: Free with admission

Opening the Vaults: Wonders of the 1893 World's Fair

Field Museum | Chicago, Ill.

Travel back to 1893 and experience the excitement of the White City. Digital technology will bring the World's Fair to life. Visitors will see items that thrilled fairgoers 120 years ago including large taxidermied animals, fully articulated animal skeletons, and ancient fish from Wyoming's Green River fossil bed. Using an iPad application, visitors can explore many items from the World's Fair still hidden in the Museum's vaults and will also get an overview of the Museum's history and the personalities who helped shape this institution.

Cost: Included in Discovery and All Access passes

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

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
 







 
 
 
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