In February we celebrate all the commanders-in-chief of our country, from George Washington all the way to Barack Obama. But for those of us who live in Illinois, aka the Land of Lincoln, there’s one president that tops the list–and you don’t have to go to his former home in Springfield to party. Check out these spots this month that honor Abraham Lincoln in both name and spirit.
You don’t even have to spend a Lincoln to enjoy a day at the city’s free zoo. But stop by from 1-3:30 p.m. on Feb. 14 for the Animal Enrichment Workshop, where you can help make piñatas or willow balls for the animals to use. $5, $4 members. On Presidents Day itself (9 a.m.-3 p.m. Feb. 16.), elementary school kids can go ape wild learning about primates at Zoo Camp and observing the zoo’s monkeys in action. $57-$67. Lincoln Park Zoo, 2200 N. Cannon Drive, Chicago. (312) 742-2000
Abe Lincoln grew up in a log cabin, so it’s only fitting that this natural area bears his name. From 1-2:15 p.m. Feb. 1, enjoy a Snow Day at the marsh, which includes a hike to check out the animals living nearby. $9.50, $7.50 resident. Or hit the trails as part of the free Great Bird Count from 1-2 p.m. Feb. 14. Families create an avian inventory that will be submitted to the annual Great Backyard Bird Count. Lincoln Marsh Natural Area, Harrison and Pierce avenues, Wheaton. (630) 871-2810
Did you know that Honest Abe wasn’t always the serious and gravelly voiced figure we’ve come to know? In fact, this former prankster would probably fit right in at the Lincoln School Carnival, which includes such frivolous pursuits as “Plinko” and “Bozo Buckets.” Head over from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Feb. 7 for a goldfish toss, bingo, face painting and airbrush tattoos, balloon animals and a cake walk. Raffles and healthy snacks are promised. Lincoln School, 1111 S. Grove Ave., Oak Park.
OK, it might not be named for the man of the hour, but Naper Settlement’s Feb. 16 day camp is clearly in Abe’s honor. At School’s Out Day Camp: Happy Birthday, President Lincoln, kids in grades 1-5 celebrate Lincoln’s birthday a few days late (9 a.m.-3 p.m.) with games that pioneer kids like Abe once played and a round of “Pin the Hat on President Lincoln.” Crafts and homemade cupcakes are on the menu (we hear he liked corn cakes). $45. Naper Settlement, 523 S. Webster St., Naperville. (630) 420-6010.