May 7, 2009

Get out there and play

Chug into Union Station this Saturday for trains, trains and more trains at National Train Day, a celebration of, well, trains. Your little—and big—engineers can take train tours, play with model trains and participate in other train-related activities.

National Train Day is held in honor of Amtrak’s 140 years of rail service and the creation of the first transcontinental railroad. Kids can take a trackless train ride in Adams Cab Court, meet face painters, jugglers and stilt walkers in the Amtrakids Depot and ask real train engineers and conductors their most pressing train questions. For a more authentic train experience, take a train tour. Walk through two private railcars and a club-dinette, the Superliner“Empire” Sleeper and the Amfleet II Coach, all cars in the Amtrak line. Note that equipment in the tour is subject to change. It is recommended that parents reserve tickets for the train tour before heading to the event.

Union Station is located at 225 S. Canal St., Chicago. National Train Day is held from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. and is a free event. For more information, call (800) USA-RAIL (872-7245) or visit

Get your tickets here

Join security guard Larry Daley (Ben Stiller) as he encounters the likes of Amelia Earhart, Teddy Roosevelt and Albert Einstein while he attempts to save his museum buddies from the Smithsonian. Ten lucky Chicago Parent readers will receive a family four-pack to see“Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian” at 7 p.m. May 21 at the Navy Pier IMAX, 600 E. Grand Ave., Chicago. Before you enter, make sure you can attend this show. For more information, visit and To win, visit our discussion board.

Get out there and play some more

If you’re still not sure what you’re going to do to treat mom this Sunday, we have a few last-minute suggestions. From the gardener to the philanthropist, the theater lover to the bouncy, we’ve found activities that will help make her day special.

Rather than picking flowers for mom, take her to a place where she can admire them. Head to the Chicago Botanic Garden for National Public Gardens Day, where mom can take in the spring gardens in bloom. Mom might even take home a plant from the plant giveaway in the fruit and vegetable garden. The Chicago Botanic Garden is located at 1000 Lake Cook Road, Glencoe. Admission is free, parking fee applies. For more information, call (847) 835-5440 or visit

Your mom has spent countless moments attempting to get your family to give to those less fortunate. Make her proud by volunteering to help clean up at Chicago River Day. Join more than 3,900 volunteers to help make the more than 100 miles of river a little cleaner. This event is free. Visit the Web site to pick the volunteer site best for you. For more information, call (312) 939-0490 or visit

Mom loves the theater and is always asking to go. Make her wish come true by taking her to see“To Kill a Mockingbird” this Saturday at 8 p.m. Based on the novel by Harper Lee, the play is held at the Center for Performing Arts at Governors State University, 1 University Parkway, University Park. Admission is -. For more information, call (708) 235-2222 or visit

Although mom isn’t too keen on the kids jumping on the bed, she might like the idea of bouncing away her Mother’s Day. Pump It Up Chicago, 821 W. Eastman St., Chicago, is hosting the Mommy and Me Bounce from 9 a.m.-noon Sunday. Pump It Up Chicago will treat mom like the queen she is when she sits on an inflatable throne with her munchkins for a framed picture. When mom has had enough bouncing, she and the kids can take on the rock climbing wall or munch on provided snacks with coffee. Kids will receive complimentary gift bags. Admission is , kids. For more information, call (312) 664-5867 or visit

Photo courtesy of the Chicago Botanic Garden.

Outside fun

This Saturday, get your fix of all things bait, tackle and boats at the Boat and Tackle Market, held at Soldier Field’s South Festival Lot. The boating and fishing enthusiasts in your family will have a whale of a time checking out the boats and fishing equipment. The smaller fish fans can check out the games, climbing wall, bounce house, remote-control regatta and contests. Food is available for purchase and there is a picnic area. Plenty of music rounds out the festival atmosphere of this“market.”

Soldier Field is located at 1410 S. Museum Campus Drive, Chicago. Admission is , free kids 11 and under. Free parking is available in the Waldron parking deck. For more information, call (312) 235-7243 or visit or

Piece of the prize

Step into the world of Harry Potter—or just check out the props from the Harry Potter movies—at the Museum of Science and Industry, located at 57th Street and Lake Shore Drive, Chicago. One lucky Chicago Parent reader will win a family four-pack to visit“Harry Potter: The Experience.” For more information, visit To win, visit our discussion board.

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