Fun things to do with kids this weekend in Chicago


It's Memorial Day weekend, which means it's the unofficial start of summer here in Chicagoland. Remember the sacrifices that many have made for our country, then celebrate with one of these twelve great events throughout Chicago and the suburbs. Not quite a fit for your schedule? Be sure to browse our full calendar to find dozens of other events near you.

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Chicago Memorial Day Wreath Laying Ceremony and Parade

The wreath laying ceremony will begin at 11 a.m. at the Eternal Flame on Daley Plaza. The parade kicks off at noon and proceeds south on State Street from Lake Street to Van Buren Street. Participants include many area high schools' Drum and Bugle Corps as well as many veterans groups.


Mole de Mayo Festival

Along with the traditional mole puestos (mole booths) and mouth­watering festival food concession stands, this year’s celebration features more than 30 live bands, dozens of artisans, merchants and craft vendors, matches by professional masked wrestlers (Mexican lucha libre), flame­throwing performances, and a chance to ride the mechanical bull. At the Plaza de los Niños (kids zone), enjoy face­painting and carnival games and a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) outreach component presented by Northeastern Illinois University.


Family Field Day

See ongoing horse and riding demonstrations, dog obedience and field trials, sheepherding demonstrations, and raptors from the Northern Illinois Raptor Conservancy. Explore St. James Farm’s new 2-mile trail and enjoy pony rides and hay-wagon rides, fishing, archery instruction, food vendors, live music, and a display of vintage tractors with ties to the preserve’s agricultural history.


Kids Fare: Phabulous Philharmonia

Marvel at the magic of combined strings, woodwinds, brass, and percussion as the Northwestern University Philharmonia presents a colorful program of orchestral music including Benjamin Britten’s The Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra.


A.B.L.E. Twelfth Night

A.B.L.E. (Artists Breaking Limits & Expectations), in partnership with Chicago Children’s Theatre, provides artistic experiences through which individuals with special needs feel empowered to discover their own unique voices and develop the confidence and skills to share who they are. Actors work together and support each other to create a performance piece, while building lifelong skills that will help both onstage and in their day-to-day lives. Speaking in Shakespeare’s original verse, twenty teenage actors with Down syndrome will share roles in scenes, monologues and songs to tell this tale about identity and love—and how things can be different from what they seem.



Family Day/Open House

Features 10 wolves, Siberian tiger, black bear, mountain lion and more. Plus, food, drinks, gift shop, music, raffles and fun. Featured activity: Wolf Puppy Play Time! Season passes and adoptions available.



The tale of a lonely old man who discovers an unlikely friendship that floats into his life unexpectedly through the window: a bright red balloon. Set in his solitary ways, he begrudgingly encounters the friendly balloon that seems intent on becoming his friend. Packed with physical comedy that will charm and delight young audiences of all ages, this award-winning play shows how with a little imagination and acceptance, companionship can come from the most unlikely places.


Bike the Drive

Choose between a 15- or 30-mile loop of Lake Shore Drive with no cars in sight. All ages and skill levels are welcome. Participants receive an event T-shirt (early registrants only), access to three rest stops and admittance to a post-ride festival with food and live music.



Memorial Day Remembered

Observe Memorial Day with a ceremony rooted in the history and traditions of the late 1800s, when the holiday was known as “Decoration Day.”


Butterflies & Blooms

Outdoor butterfly garden where visitors can immerse themselves with hundreds of live tropical butterfly species from around the world. A field guide is available to help visitors identify dozens of species in the exhibition. Visitors can also observe butterflies hatching through a window into the pupa emergence room.


Festival of Flight

Guests will fly high with excitement while watching birds demonstrate their natural flight abilities during this interactive experience. The 20-minute show features nearly 20 bird species.


Planet Nine

Adler’s newest sky show explores the largest of Pluto’s neighbors in the Kuiper belt and invites visitors to join in the search for a new ninth planet. Follow Mike Brown and his team at CalTech as they uncover dwarf worlds like the remarkably bright Eris; Haumea, an egg-shaped object rotating incredibly fast; and Sedna, whose orbit takes it deep into the far reaches of the Solar System. Is there a new planet beyond these distant objects? Plus, tag along on Mike Brown’s first night searching for the ninth planet at the Subaru Telescope in Hawaii.


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