Our Picks: Top 10 March events for Chicago families

This month, tinker around at Chicago Children’s Museum, hang out with R2D2 and celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.

This month, tinker around at Chicago Children’s Museum, hang out with R2D2 and celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.

Miss chasing fireflies on a warm summer night? Check outthis new exhibit all about glowing creatures. The next exhibit runsMarch 7-Sept. 8.

Do the kids question the magic of fireflies every summer? This exhibit will provide you with the answers.

New Creatures of Light exhibit illuminates Field Museum

What kid doesn’t love watching fireflies on a warm summer night?But when it comes to their questions about why the fireflies lightup, most parents would be hard-pressed to come up with ananswer.

That’s where a trip to the new exhibit at TheField Museum can help. “Creatures of Light: Nature’s
Bioluminescence” delves into the mystery of glowing creatures, from
glowworms in caves to deep-sea fish that illuminate the dark ocean

Leo Smith, lead curator of the exhibit, says this interactiveexhibit will appeal to even the youngest of kids. “You walk intothe fireflies and … they see these things light up. There’s aniPad app where you can try to mimic the flashing patterns.”

The exhibit continues with glowworms dangling from the ceilingto real fish lighting up their tanks. Creatures of Light runs March7-Sept. 8. For more information, visit fieldmuseum.org.

Let the kids get their hands dirty at this year’s ChicagoFlower & Garden Show. The show runs March 9-17 at NavyPier.

Family fun in bloom at Chicago Flower & Garden Show

If the words “flower show” make you think of prim old ladiesdisplaying their prized roses, it’s time to think again. After all,when it comes to the Chicago Flower & Garden show, “We’re notyour grandmother’s flower show,” says director Tony Abruscato.

In fact, the Chicago show is a family-oriented destination, morefocused on bugs and veggies than award-winning blooms.

Oh, and lots of fun.

The Kids’ Activity Garden is the prime spot for families, deckedout with playground-like apparatus for kids to climb, crawl andgenerally blow off some steam. And those who like to dig will finda home in the oversized sandbox.

Plus, kids get the chance to get their hands dirty throughplanting projects, arts and crafts and a visit from a University ofIllinois Master Gardener, who brings along creepy-crawlies likecentipedes, slugs and Madagascar cockroaches for an example of thegrosser side of gardening.

“The kids love the bugs,” Abruscato says. “There are some funthings to do and some educational … You can spend a lot of timehere.”

For the educational component, parents can keep an eye on thewebsite to see which parent/child workshops are scheduled.Abruscato hints that there may even be a chance to build a “fairygarden”-miniature displays that are especially popular withkids.

But the Activity Garden isn’t the only spot for those withlittle ones. The show itself offers many highlights, including koiponds where kids can feed the fish and unusual vertical gardensthat are sure to catch their attention.

This year’s theme, “The Art of Gardening,” lends itself tothings like performance art and a photography display on floralgraffiti.

“A part of our goal is to get kids and young people interestedin gardening and greening,” Abruscato says. “We do that throughways that are fun and interesting.”

He also sees it as a way to bring families together, even for aday, and to encourage exercise. Plus, he says that kids who growtheir own vegetables at an early age are more inclined to eatveggies for the rest of their lives. (Shh, it’s our littlesecret!)

So this year, forget about those grannies and follow Abruscato’sadvice: bring the whole family for a day of flowery fun.

This month we celebrate a man whose talents entertain andeducate. Happy 109th birthday to Dr. Seuss! Celebrate at eventscity-wide on March 1-2.

Chicago events to celebrate Dr. Seuss’s birthday

He gave us the Whos, the Lorax and the Grinch He taught us to count and clean up in a pinch And this is the month we all celebrate A man whose tales entertain and educate Not Silverstein or Dahl or even Mother Goose It's 110 years for the ageless Dr. Seuss

Celebrate the master of rhyme at one of these Seussical events
around Chicagoland this weekend:

Spring is on the horizon, which means it’s about time toreplace that bike your kid has outgrown. At the bike swap you canbuy bikes, bike parts, gear and clothing. Even better, you can sellyour old wheels in the Bike Corral.

Working Bikes provides bikes to people who need them

The Chicago Bike Swap

Bike shops, businesses, nonprofits, bike clubs, bike teams andbike people to exhibit and sell bikes, bike parts, gear, clothing,bike event registrations and more. The public is welcome to bringup to three bikes per person to sell in the Bike Corral. Plus,presentations on topics like biking safely with children, updateson Chicago’s new biking infrastructure and performances by theRacketeers, a women’s BMX bike dance troupe.

Chicagoland Kids Expo & Fun Fair

An afternoon of kid friendly entertainment, rides, games, costume characters and hands-on activities. Parents can learn about the latest trends of products and services to help make their hectic lives a little easier.

This sweet soiree features a maple syrup boil-down,Native-American and pioneer-era sugar camps a puppet show and, ofcourse, a pancake breakfast.

Sugar Bush Fair

Features a pancake breakfast, authentic demonstrations of maple syrup production, a pioneer sugar camp, children’s puppet show and a wagon shuttle to event area. Syrup and other goodies available for purchase.

Midwest artisans and farmers exhibit their goods and offerworkshops on growing and making food. Plus, you can watch cookingdemos and there are family-friendly activities for the kids. Thefestival is a great way to get kids excited about eating healthyand local.

Good Food Festival

A family-friendly day of inspiring speakers, tastings from local food artisans, DIY workshops on the Good Food Commons, chef demos, an interactive Purple Asparagus Kids’ Corner, and the Good Food Marketplace, a show and sales floor featuring more than 150 farmers, artisanal food producers, retailers, other vendors, and nonprofit organizations.

Legoland launches its first-ever Lego Star Wars Mniland duringStar Wars Days weekend March 8-10. Star Wars Weekend activitiesinclude a meet and greet with members of the 501st Legion; buildyour own Lego creation in the Model Builder Workshop, photos withlife-sized Lego Star Wars Darth Vader and more!

Legoland Star Wars Days and new Star Wars miniland

New Star Wars exhibit opens at Legoland Chicago in March

The force will be with all who enter Legoland Discovery Center in Schaumburg beginning March 8.

After a public vote to choose a theme, a new Star Wars
exhibit featuring the world of Episode 1 The PhantomMenacemade completely of Lego. The opening of the new exhibit
coincides with Star Wars Days weekend, March 8-10, an annual event
at Legoland.

“There was a huge community push to have Star Wars be
the theme that won,” says Legoland Discovery Center’s Master Model
Builder Andrew Johnson.

“I think Star Wars is always one of the huge fan
favorites of Lego fans.”

The walk-through exhibit will transport guests right into scenesfrom The Phanton Menace in three separate pods featuring
moments from the movie. The new exhibit also will feature a Lego
Star Wars Miniland, complete with interactive pod racers
and a Droid Destruction game.

At this year’s Star Wars Days, kids will be able to build theirown Lego creation in the Model Builder Workshop, take photos with alife-sized Lego Star Wars Darth Vader and R2-D2, plus
enter to win prizes and giveaways.

Johnson says a local Star Wars legion, the 501st, will
visit the center for Star Wars Days again this year, dressed in
costumes from the movies. Kids will be able to hang out with
members and take pictures with them.

Legoland also has planned for a big group build upstairs in thecenter for Star Wars Days. Johnson says they’ll be building areplica of the wisest member of the Star Wars crew, Yoda.
The model is expected to be almost 2 ½ meters tall.

The Boogers Concert

The full band will be here, including Crusty, Greenie and Sticky on drums. The Boogers will be performing original and classic children’s music in their now famous rock ‘n’ roll style.

Find the St. Paddy’s Day parade closest to you and get yourgreen on! Head downtown to watch the dyeing of the Chicago Riverand hit up your neighborhood celebration.

Chicago St. Patrick’s Day 2014 events and parades

A complete listing of Chicagoland’s St. Patrick’s Day parades,community happenings and special events. Check back for updatedlistings.

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