28 Fun Things to Do With Kids This Weekend in Chicago and the Suburbs

Mother’s Day is a weekend to pamper and be pampered, even if it just means pretending to be asleep while the kids sneak upstairs with your “breakfast in bed.” We’ve found tons of great events to celebrate moms, as well as a few activities to enjoy from home or outside. As always, if you’re leaving the house, be sure to wear a face covering and heed social distancing requirements.

Read more: Things to Do with Kids This Spring in Chicagoland

Note: We’re updating our website as quickly as we can, but changes may occur due to COVID-19. Please double check before heading out for the most updated information on safety precautions and any last-minute cancellations. Stay safe!

In-Person Events

Photo courtesy: Richardson Adventure Farm

Dino Safari at Fox Valley Mall

  • When: Begins Friday
  • Where: Fox Valley Mall, 195 Fox Valley Center Drive, Aurora
  • Cost: $49.95 per car up to 7 occupants, $59.95 for large-capacity vehicles; advanced ticketing required

Families can take a Dinosaur Safari to see more than 40 animatronic dinosaurs along a drive-thru path. On each adventure, families will learn how dinosaurs evolved over time, where they called home and the discoveries paleontologists have made about how they ate, moved and behaved. Beware: along the journey, earthquakes might erupt, dinosaurs could battle, and families might just have to help save a baby dinosaur’s life. Dino Safari offers every visitor a Survival Pack that includes a scavenger hunt, coloring activity and other fun surprises for a more interactive experience.

Richardson Tulip Festival

  • When: Through end of May
  • Where: Richardson Adventure Farm, 909 English Prairie Road, Spring Grove
  • Cost: $12 Mondays-Fridays, $15 Saturdays-Sundays, Free 3 and under; each purchased ticket allows for one free tulip, $1 additional tulips

Enjoy five acres with more than 300,000 bulbs of tulips. For families looking for the perfect picture, there are 230,000 in colorful blocks with a central design, then 70,000 mixed colors in a pick-your-own area. Each ticket purchased will go home with a free tulip. Masks are required indoors — the gift shop is open for treats and indoor restrooms — and outdoors when social distancing can’t be maintained. The fields will remain open as long as the tulips are in bloom.

Mother’s Day Tea Party

  • When: Saturday
  • Where: Taste Buds Kitchen, 2521 Waukegan Road, Bannockburn
  • Cost: $35 per child with one caregiver included, $30 additional children; preregistration required

Moms and their budding chefs ages 2-8 will celebrate with a tea party made entirely from scratch. From strawberry shortcakes with hand-whipped cream to freshly-brewed sun tea, this fun Mother’s Day tradition is a way of saying thank you for all that moms do. Festive tea party attire welcome. This class is designed for kids and parents to cook together. Chef tables are spaced six feet apart and the use of masks is enforced.

Model Railroad Garden: Landmarks of America

  • When: Begins Saturday
  • Where: Chicago Botanic Garden, 1000 Lake Cook Road, Glencoe
  • Cost: $8, $7 seniors, $6 ages 3-12, Free ages 2 and under; -$1 per price for members

The Model Railroad Garden delights visitors of all ages with the sights and sounds of garden-scale trains traversing bridges and trestles, past miniature scenes of America’s best-loved landmarks and beautiful gardens planted to scale.

Mother’s Day Make It Take It: Serving Tray

  • When: Saturday
  • Where: ReBuilding Exchange, 1740 W Webster Ave., Chicago
  • Cost: $70 per person, $100 one item for two people, registration required

Teens can create a handmade wood serving tray for Mother’s Day. For those who think mom would want to learn right along with them, a couples ticket allows two to take the class and create one item. Masks and advanced ticketing required.

Mother’s Day High Tea

  • When: Sunday (two seatings)
  • Where: The Rose Hotel, 5200 Pearl Street, Rosemont
  • Cost: $60, $30 12 & under, free parking; advanced reservations required

For the moms who missed tea in 2020 can bring it back big with Mother’s Day High Tea in Thorn with Blooming Flower Green Tea (the tea actually blossoms into a flower as it flavors your tea!), finger sandwiches, delicious dessert bites and more! MOMosas and other specialty cocktails will be available for purchase, and live music from Dina Bach will set the scene for an elevated high tea.

Mother’s Day House Walk

In lieu of a group walk, all houses featured in this yearly tradition will be available to “walk-by.” Homes will be visible from the exterior only and all house walk-by patrons will receive an electronic version of the House Walk-By book (hardcover book to follow). As always the book will contain maps and extensive information on the homes, the architecture and architects and the families. House Walk-By, sponsored by the Evanston History Center, begins on Mother’s Day and continues throughout the year.

Mother’s Day Celebration at Spring Valley

Bring the kids to Heritage Farm to create a simple handmade gift for mom under the picnic shelter, and then spend some time enjoying the grounds and nature trails. Please register as one family and park at St. Matthew’s Church, following signs to the Heritage Farm entrance.

Mother’s Day with Birds of Prey

Moms, grandmas, aunts and all mother figures can meet the Birds of Prey from the comfort of their cars. Families can meet the great horned, barred, barn and screech owl plus red-shouldered and broad winged hawks. Of course, there’s no missing the sweet vulture and star of the show Snowy owl. All birds will be brought to the car so that families can see them up close.

Mother’s Day Family Bike Ride

Riders of all sizes and abilities will meet for a short trail ride to Dairy Dream for a Mother’s Day treat. Bring helmets, masks and ice cream money.

ChiTown Movies Presents: Drive-In Theatre

Watch classic and cult movies from the comfort of your car. Moviegoers will have the option to have popcorn, tacos, wings and more delivered right to the car. Health and safety also remain a priority. Cars are situated in the lot at a safe distance from one another, with one car for every two spots. This weekend’s schedule: Friday – Toy Story, 8:15 p.m.; Die Hard, 10 p.m.; Saturday – Halloween, 10:45 p.m.

Virtual Events

Photo courtesy: Shedd Aquarium

Zzz’s Under the Seas: Virtual Slumber Party

  • When: Saturday-Sunday
  • Cost: $125, $110 members, registration required

During this evening-and-the-next-morning program, families will explore the impressive world of aquatic animals and uncover the cold water adaptations that will make you say “WOW!” Each household will look nature in the eye to meet animals up close, explore Shedd Aquarium habitats and participate in animal activities, games and more. The next morning, enjoy your breakfast with the belugas and animal yoga to start the weekend right. Suggested activities will be provided the week before the event to count down the days to the Virtual Slumber Party.

The Magic Parlour at Home

  • When: Saturdays through June 26
  • Cost: $49 per household

Enjoy magic from the comfort of your own home with an interactive series modeled after The Magic Parlour’s VIP Encore Room experience. For a fully immersive experience, guests are recommended to sport cocktail attire and bring their own deck of cards. Recommended for ages 12 and older, and as many as 10 people per computer.

Virtual Animal Experiences with the Lincoln Park Zoo

  • When: Saturday
  • Cost: $15

Join a Lincoln Park Zoo animal expert to learn more about the animals that call the zoo home through an open-ended session that focuses on everything from the animals’ personalities, habitat design and overall care. Following the program, guests will have the opportunity to ask moderated questions about their favorite animals, live from home. Saturday’s topic: Feeding Session (Cinerous Vultures and Snowy Owls)

Virtual Shark Feeding Tour

  • When: Saturday-Sunday
  • Cost: $49.95, $44.95 members

Join the ocean’s most dynamic and misunderstood predators — sharks — and other marine predators for brunch on this virtual feeding tour. Start with a close-up view of Shedd’s Wild Reef exhibit, which brings you to a Philippine coral reef. Then venture behind the scenes to the animal care area to witness mealtime. Learn how Shedd’s aquarists prepare meals of restaurant-quality seafood. Discover how each shark and ray species in Wild Reef has been trained to respond to an aquarist’s signal for mealtime. During this 40-minute virtual tour, get up close with sharks  and observe a feeding session with Shedd’s animal care team. Shedd Aquarium experts will take visitors into the waters of the Wild Reef habitat. Discover what it takes to feed and care for these animals and how that work supports these species in the wild.

Virtual Sea Otter Encounter

  • When: Saturday-Sunday
  • Cost: $49.95, $44.95 members

Come face-to-face with the playful, adorable sea otters that call Shedd home. This experience is all about getting up close — join Shedd experts behind the scenes (virtually) for a sea otter play session, watch them dive, socialize, vocalize and groom and find out how their sustainable, restaurant-quality food prep happens. Will you play with pups Cooper and Watson? Watch Yaku’s pocket in action? Visit Luna while she snacks on sea urchins? Dive in and explore the world of sea otters firsthand.

Virtual Sea Lion Encounter

  • When: Saturday-Sunday
  • Cost: $49.95, $44.95 members.

Experience a live virtual visit with the sea lions that call Shedd home from wherever you are in the world. You may know California sea lions best for their loud vocalizations, and their ability to traverse both land and water. During this encounter you will meet one of the four rescued sea lions at Shedd—Biff, Cruz, Laguna, or Tanner—and learn how their rescue and rehabilitation gave them a second chance at life. This 30-minute Virtual Sea Lion Encounter will take place on Zoom so you can enjoy the experience from your own home.

Virtual ComedySportz

  • When: Saturday
  • Cost: Free

ComedySportz is an approved-for-all-ages improv competition. They make up the story up with suggestions from you as two teams battle each other for your love and points. The Ref presides over the whole thing and by the end of the night, one thing will have won: comedy.

New Philharmonic: Rachmaninoff Piano Concertos

  • When: Through June 15
  • Cost: $40

This downloadable concert features Rachmaninoff’s Concerto 1 in F-sharp minor, Concerto 2 in C minor and Concerto 3 in D-minor. Featured pianist Dr. Wael Farouk has performed on five continents in such venues as the White Hall in St. Petersburg, Schumann’s house in Leipzig and Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall in New York, where his solo debut performance in 2013 was described as “absolutely masterful.” He was last seen at the MAC in 2018.

Imagine U Storytime

  • When: Sunday
  • Cost: Free

Northwestern University School of Communication Theatre Department storytellers will read and perform books for kids weekly on the Wirtz Center Facebook Page and the Wirtz Center Youtube Channel. Sunday’s story: “Sensory Adventure with the Very Hungry Caterpillar”

Around Town

Photo Credit: Skydeck Chicago

Learn about your own neighborhood or explore a new one (maintaining social distancing, of course) with Walkie Talkies, a new program from Chicago Children’s Theatre. Different local theater artists walk you – podcast style – through their favorite neighborhoods.

  • Want to see Chicago in a whole new way? Check out the reopened Skydeck at Willis Tower, with a new Chicago-centric museum that the whole family will be wowed by. 
  • During the winter shutdown, Chicagoland attractions improved their options and here are 24 of our favorite exhibitions to check out this spring and summer.
  • Puppet-grams are back! If you missed having puppeteer Mark Blashford perform for your family or loved ones last summer, appointments are available beginning this week.
  • Escape to Long Grove, a Northern Suburb full of charm, using our family guide. Or make early reservations now for Long Grove’s For the Love of Chocolate weekend.

At-Home Fun

Photo 1 from Disney+, Photo 2 from HBO Max

While you and your family remain at home, you can try out a new kids’ show or virtually visit your favorite Chicagoland locations!

  • Whether you’re waiting for your vaccine or just not ready to leave the house, these 10 great family vacations are ones you can take from the comfort of home.
  • If you’ve blown through all of your favorite podcasts this winter, try one of these that are family friendly enough that you’ll want to listen together (and not hit mute when the kids walk in the room).
  • The list of new shows and movies streaming in May makes staying inside worth the popcorn!
  • It can be aggravating to hear kids moan about how “bored” they are. But our experts say that boredom is really a good thing.

Parents Only

Photo Credit: Michael Brosilow

Partners who are so over all this family time and looking for alone time, we feel you. Whether it’s starting a fabulous puzzle or cooking a new dish together, here are a few of our favorite ideas for this weekend. (If you want more – or just like to plan ahead – check out this list of at-home date night ideas.)

  • Immersive Van Gogh has created the ultimate date night package. Sit on the “Juliet balcony” to experience Chicago’s hot art exhibition, including chocolate truffles and champagne.
  • Navy Pier has reopened, and there’s no better way to enjoy the end of a Saturday date night in Chicago than with a fireworks display from the pier. Displays run at 9 each Saturday night through the month of May.
  • For the best intimate theater experience, The Music Box has reopened with COVID-19 protocol in place (no one sitting in front of you to block the screen). This weekend kicks off a heist films series with at least three showings each day.

This post is updated regularly. 

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