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Pierogi Fest

Whiting, Ind.


Festival features food, entertainment, kids' play area, polka parade and pierogi eating contest.

When: 11 a.m.-11 p.m. July 29-30, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. July 31
Cost: Free

Jeff Fest

Chicago , Ill.

The northwest side's cozy Jefferson Park neighborhood throws its annual community party with food, music, arts/crafts and activities for kids.

When: 5-9 p.m. July 29; 11 a.m.-9 p.m. July 30-31
Cost: $5

Tall Ships Chicago

Chicago, Ill.

The festival kicks off with a Parade of Sail. Then, starting Thursday, ticketed guests have the opportunity to view, tour and even sail away on participating vessels.

When: 3-10 p.m. July 27; 10 a.m.-10 p.m. July 28-30; 10 a.m.-6 p.m. July 31
Cost: $10 general admission; $15 dockside boarding, $25 weekend dockside boarding

Creature Feature

The Morton Arboretum | Lisle, Ill.

From tails to scales to slimy skin, meet some real reptiles and amphibians. Deb the Frog Lady showcases this incredible group of animals and kids will even get to hold a few.

When: 11 a.m.-4 p.m.
Cost: Free with arboretum admission

Malott Japanese Garden Family Sunday

Chicago Botanic Garden | Glencoe, Ill.

Families can rake miniature dry gardens, try chopsticks and practice calligraphy. Take-home projects include koinobori (mini carp kites) on June 5, kendama (origami cup and ball) on June 19, samurai masks on July 3, kabuto (samurai helmets) on July 17, uchiwa (paper fans) on Aug. 7, kimono paper dolls on Sept. 4 and gyotaku (fish prints) on Sept. 18.

When: 11 a.m.-4 p.m.
Cost: Free, $30 parking

Wildlife Campout

Willowbrook Wildlife Center | Glen Ellyn, Ill.

Bring your camping gear and sleep with your family under the stars. Enjoy fun, spooky stories by the fire; learn about owls and other animals; meet the center’s raptors; and hit the trails for a star-lit hike. Dinner and breakfast are included, and some tents are available for rent for an extra fee.

When: 6 p.m.-9 a.m.
Cost: $30, $20 kids 7-15

Free Children’s Concert: Super Stolie Guacamole!

Cantigny Park | Wheaton, Ill.


This act’s high-energy style and blend of kid-friendly pop-rock songs and audience participation encourages everyone to be silly and have a good time with music. Lawn seating; chairs and blankets welcome.

When: Noon
Cost: Free, $10 parking

Pan-African Cultural Festival

Cantigny Park | Wheaton, Ill.


A two-day celebration of the colorful and rich traditions of multiple African nations. Many forms of African art and culture will be represented, including native crafts, fine art, music, dance and culinary.

When: 11 a.m.-9 p.m.
Cost: Free; $10 parking

Happy Birthday, Harry

Discovery Center Museum | Rockford, Ill.

Birthday cake, pumpkin juice, and chocolate frogs are only the beginning of this birthday celebration for our favorite wizard. Greet teachers as you drop into herbology, practice potions or get a glimpse of the night sky in astronomy class. Don a cloak of invisibility, practice in the quidditch pitch, and fool your friends from the Joke Shop. Find your patronus before venturing into the outdoor park where giant spiders, dementors and bogarts may be lurking. Hogwarts attire is recommended; Muggles are welcome.

When: 6-9 p.m.
Cost: $12, $4 members

Great American Family Camp Out

Gurnee Park District | Gurnee, Ill.

Includes outdoor games, activities and campfire as well as family movie, dinner Saturday and breakfast on Sunday. Bring camping gear.

When: 6 p.m.-7:30 a.m.
Cost: $35 family, $28 resident family

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