Chicago weekend events for kids


There's a lot going on in this world-class city we live in, and the options can be overwhelming. So every week, we'll pick our not-to-miss events. Chances are, you'll see us there, kids in tow. If none of these suit your schedule, browse our full calendar to find events near you.

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St. Charles Scarecrow Fest

View more than 150 handcrafted scarecrows and vote for your favorite in each of six categories. Plus, live entertainment, arts and crafts show, carnival, petting zoo, canine corner and make-your-own scarecrow.


Great Highwood Pumpkin Fest

Come to watch as Highwood attempts to win the Guiness World Record and partner with the Autism Society of Illinois to carve and light a pumpkin for each individual impacted by autism in Illinois. Other activities include trick-or-treating, food vendors, live music, hay rides, pumpkin carving, massive pumpkin displays, light up the night parade, pet costume contest, pumpkin dump and more. Fest goers will enjoy nightly electronic pumpkin wall lighting ceremonies set to music. Additionally, pumpkin seed lovers can participate in a Seed Spitting Contest. The autism-friendly event will have a sensory quiet area located at the Highwood Library.


Robot Block Party

Guests have the opportunity to interact with impressive and amazing robots face-to-face, including a robotic chair that can disassemble and reassemble itself. Other activities include performances by musical act Human-Tim+Robot-Tim, a robot dance party and demonstration courtesy of Culture Shock Dance, stations to make your own robot antennas, find out your “robot name” and more.


Family Weekend

Bring the whole family out for story-telling, face painting, science experiments, critter shows, live music, and more. In the Children’s Garden, kids can fashion fun fall crafts and plant a tree seed to take home. Small pumpkins to paint will also be available for purchase. Costumes are encouraged.


Hobo Night

Features a wide variety of activities for families. Attendees are encouraged to wear hobo costumes and there will be a best costume prize. Everyone also receives a goodie bag upon arrival with all the ingredients necessary for s'mores. Plus, take tours of the Rail Park's retired and restored Illinois Central locomotive and caboose.


Heritage Day

Families and history lovers can explore the buildings, touch the artifacts, and connect with history. Outdoor picnic food and beverage favorites are available for purchase. Activities include candle making, pumpkin painting, a petting zoo, pony rides, arts and crafts, spinning wheel and weaving demos and rug braiding. Plus, Taylors Battery & Colonial Militia Reenactors, Hamilton’s Battery & Soldiers of the 7th New Jersey Continental Army and the Firing of the Cannon on the hour.


North American Reptile Breeders Conference and Trade Show

Attendees will get an up-close view of reptiles of all shapes and sizes including snakes, frogs, turtles, geckos, iguanas, and tortoises - all are available for sale. In addition to viewing exotic and rare breeds, admission to the show includes educational sessions from some of the industry’s most respected experts as they discuss specific species and habitats during various presentations throughout the weekend.


Howl-O-Ween Pooch Parade

Dogs should come dressed to impress and ready to be judged for the most unique costume. Other activities include a dog agility course, fun tricks competition, a pooch parade and an area for free play. The first 50 dogs receive a special Halloween treat. All dogs must have current shots.


Cirque Zuma Zuma

This African Cirque-style show features non-stop action-paced entertainment and live music sure to wow old and young alike.


Junior Archaeologists

Learn how archaeologists work in the field and discover artifacts, then take part in excavating a simulated dig in the Oriental Institute's Kipper Family Archaeology Discovery Center.


Movement Zoo

A family friendly dance event celebrating local wildlife. The audience can wander the Nature Center during the performance, deciding what they want to watch and for how long. They can spend a lot of time looking at one exhibit, or get a glimpse at all the dancer-animals. Dancers invoke their own unique creatures inspired by the local wildlife and the park’s history.


Danada Fall Festival

Main-arena events will feature a parade of breeds and the center’s volunteer musical horseback drill team. Midwest Renegades will entertain with vaulting and trick riding, and the Northern Illinois Outlaws will demonstrate cowboy mounted shooting. Visitors can also take horse-drawn and tractor-pulled hayrides through the autumn woods, tour the barn that once housed Kentucky Derby-winner Lucky Debonair, and learn about horse care, grooming and tack. Children can decorate paper hobbyhorses, take pony rides, and paint pumpkins or stop by the face-painting booth.


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