4 nature programs your kids will love

Want to spark your child’s curiosity in the natural world? These engaging sessions are such a blast, kids won’t even realize they’re learning!

Photography Workshop

River Trail Nature Center

9:30 a.m.-noon May 2

Recommended ages: 7-12

Cost: Free, registration required

3120 Milwaukee Ave., Northbrook

(847) 824-8360


Point-and-shoot cameras will be offered for attendees to learn basic techniques like how to focus, compose and record interactions with nature. “By capturing what’s meaningful to kids, we can help them reconnect to nature,” says Jerry Attere, the naturalist leading this new program for novice photographers. Snap breathtaking images of resident animal ambassadors, like this one of a stunning red fox.

Gumballs& Superballs Weekend Family Class

Chicago Botanic Garden

9:30-11 a.m. or 1-2:30 p.m. March 21 or April 12

Recommended ages: 4-10, accompanied by adult

Cost: $23 per child, registration required

1000 Lake Cook Road, Glencoe

(847) 835-5440


All the fun and none of the clean up! Making gumballs and superballs can be sticky and messy, and oh so awesome! Learn and create together in these one-and-a-half hour hands-on workshops. Discover how parts of the rainforest can be used to make rubber and chewing gum, then whip up your own bouncy ball and flavored gum to take home.

Treasures from Trash

Morton Arboretum

1-4 p.m. weekdays in April

Recommended ages: 2-10

Cost: Free with admission

4100 Illinois Route 53, Lisle

(630) 968-0074


Instill the joy of reusing by creating new masterpieces from egg cartons, bottle caps and scrap materials. Drop in and enjoy the hands-on discovery. “Our programs are designed for parents to become their child’s partner in learning,” says Lesley Kolaya, manager of Youth and Family Programs. Allow plenty of time to stretch bodies and imaginations in the award-winning Children’s Garden.

Live Animal Feedings& Critter Connections

Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum

Daily; check website for times

Recommended for all ages

Free with museum entry

2430 N. Cannon Drive, Chicago

(773) 755-5100


If you’re animal lovers, be sure to drop in to the Live Animal Feedings and Critter Connections. Guests can watch a turtle devour a crayfish or pet a snake, if they dare. It’s also a beautiful sight to see new butterflies released into the Judy Istock Butterfly Haven every after

Cortney Fries
Cortney Fries
An award-winning travel journalist, Cortney Fries (pronounced "freeze") has been writing about family travel for over a decade. She knows that parents planning trips are looking for all members to have fun and make lasting memories. Cortney believes that you should definitely try anything that makes you slightly nervous.
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