It’s hard to be a parent when Spring Break rolls around. Your kids are hearing all about the fab trips to the Caribbean or Disney their friends are taking with their families and they aren’t happy to be “stuck” at home. So we teamed up with our bloggers to find ideas that go down as parent wins this Spring Break.
There’s no better place to fuel childlike wonder—where noise is A-OK!—than with the exuberant curious blue guys of the Blue Man Group, which is celebrating 20 years at the Briar Street Theatre this year. Not only have they added shows for Spring Break, but they also have created experiences before or after the show for a great day out in the city. Ticket packages include free tickets to Skydeck Chicago and 360 Chicago for a little sky time and 10 percent off a ticket at Chicago Trolley and Double Decker Co. for some street-level love for our beautiful city. Tickets are available from $39-$99 at (800) BLUE-MAN or blueman.com/chicago.
Just because you aren’t traveling anywhere exotic doesn’t mean you can’t put a little exotic into your week. The Shedd Aquarium’s Penguin Encounter is infinitely easier than taking a trip to Antarctica, and getting to meet and pet a penguin is fun and memorable.
And no vacation photo envy: You get a photo with your tuxedoed friend as part of the experience. Tweens and teens will appreciate the social media appeal this offers. The Shedd staff tells you how to spot the penguin you meet (they all have colored beads in a unique pattern) so later on the day you can see him or her in the exhibit. It’s really fun to see kids (and parents) excitedly waving to their new friend.
If penguins aren’t your thing, Shedd has shark feeding or a chance to hang out with the belugas, and Brookfield Zoo offers chances to interact with exotic animals, too. – Shannan Younger
Hit the water
If you need an inexpensive warm, wet escape, try a few local year-round water parks:
Arctic Splash in Wheeling has a zero-depth pool, lazy river, interactive water play structure and lap pool.
At Splash Landings in Glenview, little swimmers will adore the air traffic control tower-themed waterslide, plus all the fun interactive water play features. Adults can relax in the Splash Landings Whirlpool or the warm therapy pool (double win!).
The Water Works in Schaumburg has plenty of water fun, including zero-depth pool, fountains, slides and other enjoyable contraptions.
Pelican Harbor in Bolingbrook is a win for tots with its fun Parkie the Pelican slide, while older kids can slip and slide down the two water slides. – Cheryl Eugenio
Send them to camp
Chicagoland is filled with awesome Spring Break day camp options. We especially love the newest: Chicago Children’s Theatre’s Spring Ahead Camp at The Station where kindergarteners-fifth-graders create a mini-show of singing, storytelling and dancing all about their hopes and dreams, then perform it on stage.
Relive your childhood
Put the American Writers Museum on your to-do list and catch the Laura Ingalls Wilder exhibit, “From Prairie to Page,” before it closes March 31. Lots of moms loved those books and I love them even more after reading them all to my daughter. It will be fun to revisit them together and learn more about Laura’s life. As an added bonus, I suspect it’ll make us grateful for all our modern-day conveniences. Don’t miss the Nagaunee Foundation Children’s Literature Gallery. – Shannan Younger
If you can get out of town
Last year we packed up the kids and boarded overpriced connecting flights to and from Palm Springs. This year we are looking forward to a short drive to Milwaukee! We are staying at The Journeyman, which has bunk bedrooms for the kids and is less than a mile away from The Children’s Museum, The Milwaukee Art Museum and Discovery World. We are looking forward to a slow-paced week of fun, learning and zero time spent on an airplane. – Michelle Elfvin
My kids have been begging to go to The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, so we decided Spring Break would be the perfect time to visit. Not only does the museum have a fantastic dinosaur exhibit, but they are also unveiling a new 7.5-acre indoor/outdoor sports experience. –– Cheryl Eugenio