For their 100th season, the Chicago Bears are putting families right in the middle of the action for “It’s We Season” and it’s shaping up to be an epic preseason like parents have never seen.
Here’s what you need to know to score big with the kids:
Free tickets and goodies.
The Bears return to Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais for the “Illinois. Are You Up For Amazing?” Chicago Bears Training Camp July 27-Aug. 10. Practices are open to the public 7:30 a.m.-noon July 27-29, Aug. 1-2, Aug. 4-5 and Aug. 10. Get there early to get in on the fun giveaways at the gates (the first 1,000 fans or while supplies last). Think arm sleeves, headbands, mini fans, stadium seat cushions and umbrella hats and more. Inside, kids will love the activity areas including Mini Monsters sponsored by Advocate Health Care, End Zone, The Midway, Art Van Lounge and Staley’s Corner sponsored by Visit Kankakee County.
Make sure to get your free ticket needed for entry before driving down, available at chicagobears.com/camp. Parking is free, too.
Nab autographs from favorite Bears.
Head to the Goodwill Store and Donation Center in Bourbonnais to pick up passes for entry into the Goodwill VIP Autograph Zone; passes are date specific and limited quantities are available.
Circle Aug. 3 in red on the calendar.
Get excited for the season at always fun Meijer Chicago Bears Family Fest and the Bears’ first 2019 practice at Soldier Field 7 p.m., Aug. 3. Don’t miss appearances by alumni, Staley Da Bear, Chicago Bears Drumline sponsored by The Pride Stores and Monster Squad sponsored by Planters.
Outside the stadium, kids will love the pony rides, petting zoo, field goal kick, rock wall, face painting, video game truck, bounce house, first & goal bungee run, football toss, a stilt walker and other interactive displays.
Inside the concourse, 5-9 p.m., check out a touchscreen graffiti wall and Staley’s Corner (face painting, Bears Giant Lite Brite and Letters to Staley). Nursing moms can find peace at the Advocate Health Care Nursing Pod inside Soldier Field across from Gate 25.
Gates open at 5 p.m. and practice begins about 7 p.m. The fun night out ends with fireworks.
Tickets are $10 (plus fees) at chicagobears.com/familyfest. Parking lots open at 3 p.m. and the End Zone, an interactive area outside Gate 6, will be open from 4:30-6:30 p.m.
This year’s preseason home games keep the family fun going. Think about taking in a game Thursday, Aug. 8, against the Carolina Panthers at 7 p.m. and 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 29 against the Tennessee Titans. The End Zone, open 2 ½ hours before the game until 30 minutes before kickoff outside Gate 6, will feature pony rides, petting zoo, field goal kick, rock wall, caricaturists video game truck and other interactive displays, plus live music performances by To the 9’s (Aug. 8) and Red Carpet Riot (Aug. 29).
Inside the stadium, check out a locker room display and graffiti wall photo opps, Bears Giant Lite Brite, face painting and more. “My First Bears Game” certificates will be available at all Fan Services booths. The first 20,000 fans get a Red Grange bobblehead (Aug. 8) or Bill George bobblehead (Aug. 29) thanks to United Airlines in honor of the team’s centennial season.
Buy tickets through Ticketmaster at chicagobears.com/tickets or by phone at (800) 745-3000 (800-943-4327 for the hearing impaired.) Keep in mind, starting this year, entry to games and events will be via mobile tickets only.