This winter, Chicago is sizzling as the city celebrates the hottest it has to offer in music, theater, art, dance, multi-culturalism and family entertainment.
Dozens of kid-friendly events, many of them free, will be held around the city throughout February as part of the two-month long Winter Delights celebration.
Dorothy Coyle, director for the Chicago Office of Tourism, says the city always considers families and children when planning celebrations, but this year the Family Delights category was specifically created to showcase the plethora of family-focused events Chicago offers.
"We want our programming to be child-oriented-to engage them in cultural activities at a young age so they can participate for the rest of their lives," Coyle says. "Maybe they're a budding musician, dancer or artist, so the more we can expose them to, the more they'll benefit."
This year's Family Delights include:
The world premier of "The Velveteen Rabbit" at Lifeline Theater through Feb. 4.
"Body Worlds 2: The Anatomical Presentation of Real Human Bodies" at the Museum of Science and Industry. (Note: You might want to keep young children at home for this one.)
"Blue Man Group: Making Waves," an interactive exhibit at the Children's Museum focused on the unique musical trio's instrumentation.
"Awesome Ancient Africa," where, on Feb. 25 at the Oriental Institute Museum, kids can explore Africa through storytelling, treasure hunts, film and crafts.
Chicago's Top 10 All Star Kids Concert, featuring musical and dance performances, instrument making and kids' rhythm circle, on Feb. 4 at the Chicago Cultural Center.
Kid-friendly events can be found in several other Winter Delights categories, adds Eva Silverman, director of collaborative programs for the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs.
One event, which highlights a re-popularized hobby, is a Family Sip and Stitch. Held Feb. 4 and 18 at the Stitching Salon on 72 E. Randolph St., the family-focused afternoons give parents and children the chance to learn a new craft together, enjoy light snacks and make something to take home. Admission costs $10 for adults, $5 kids 12 and under and includes all materials. Reservations are required and can be made by calling (312) 742-8497.
For a full listing of Chicago's Winter Delights, go to www.winterdelights.com.