The beautiful Lurie Garden, located at the southeast corner of Millennium Park near Columbus Drive and Monroe Street, is one of my very favorite places in Chicago. While it’s great year-round, it is especially fantastic in the summer. In addition to being a wonderful spot for a family outing on your own, Lurie Garden offers fantastic free family programs for you and your little ones.
If you’re raising an animal lover, don’t miss the Wildlife! program
Tuesday, June 26
6 – 8 p.m.
For this event, the Lurie Garden partners with the Fox Valley Wildlife Center, which provides care for wild animals in need of help with the hope of releasing them back into the wild. This event features both reptiles and mammals commonly found in urban areas. Learn about their habitats, their adaptations and the challenges that they face.
If you’re raising a budding birder, check out the Raptors! program
6 – 8 p.m.
All ages Birds of prey and their habitats are fascinating, as are the adjustments they’ve made to thrive in urban environments. Learn more about them and even get a chance to observe some raptors up close. Fielding questions about birds from your kids that you can’t answer? Experts from Wings and Talons will be on hand to help you out and give your kids the info they seek.
If your kids love bugs, the Sunday Science: Insects program is a must-do
Sunday, July 29
2:30 – 3:30 p.m.
Wondering what the buzz is on insects? Learn all about the ones that make their home in the Lurie Garden at this program. They’ll cover why insects are so important and explain the roles they play in maintaining the health and beauty of the ecosystems. This drop-in program meets at the south end of the boardwalk in the garden.
If your family loves to get creative, attend Art in the Garden
11 – 11:45 a.m.
Your family will learn new ways to examine and capture the beauty of the garden through art with the help of teaching artist Beth Iska. Be prepared to be impressed with your kid’s perspective! Class meets on the south lawn in Lurie Garden.
If there’s a spider fan in your family, head to Sunday Science: Spiders
Sunday, Aug. 19
2:30 – 3:30 p.m.
Learn about the science behind the garden and specifically about the ways spiders keep the garden in balance. This program includes spotting spiders at work. Meet at the south end of the boardwalk in the garden.
You can find a full listing of all family programs and events at the Lurie Garden here. No registration required for any of the listed programs but some other family programs, like the Family Bookbinding Workshop for kids five and older, do require registration. Program dates and times are scheduled to change, so it’s always smart to double check before you head out and get your garden fun on!
This story was originally published on June 30, 2017. It has been updated with 2018 dates.