MAKE A PLAY DATE
It’s true what they say—in summertime, the living is easy. While June and July may have been amped up with plenty of outings and activities, there’s no need to slow down in August. This month has a ton of events to take in with the whole family, from a charity-driven Ducky Derby Race to a Kite Festival at one of Chicagoland’s most nature-filled spaces and the annual Comic-Con with a slew of superheroes. With summer winding down and school on the horizon, any of these ideas will help give your kids the break they need before going back to hitting the books for the next nine months, and give you a chance to experience the city in a whole new way.
1 MIDNIGHT CIRCUS IN THE PARKS
If you let your kids run away with any circus, let it be Midnight Circus in the Parks. Since 2007, this actively engaged group of world-class performers provide a show that is affordable and accessible for all. Held under a little “big top” in every neighborhood, kids are invited to be part of the show and the whole thing raises money for local Chicago Parks—to date the group has raised $960,000. Catch them in action Aug. 25-26 at Garfield Park and Aug. 31-Sept. 2 at McKinley Park. Find the full schedule at www.midnightcircus.net.
2 KITE FESTIVAL AT CHICAGO BOTANIC GARDEN
Look to the skies at this annual family-friendly festival (August 11 and 12) and see the wonders of hundreds of kites flying high above the trees and plants at this one-ofa-kind arboretum. Bring your own kite to take part in the public fly time, or help your kids make one during a fun workshop session. In addition to flying your own masterpiece, the Chicago Fire Kite Team and members of the Kite Society of Wisconsin & Illinois will be on hand to offer their own stunts set to music. Food and drinks will be available for purchase on-site. Get all the details at www.chicagobotanic.org.
3 NAVY PIER
This iconic landmark was first completed in 1916 as part of famed architect Daniel Burnham’s plan for Chicago. Since reopening in 1995, it has become a must-see destination for visitors and a go-to for locals with plenty to do across the 50-acre stretch. Navy Pier is home to the Chicago Children’s Museum where little ones can dig for dinosaur bones and construct skyscrapers among various activities. Navy Pier is also home to the Chicago Shakespeare Theatre with many kid-friendly productions, too. Other options include the IMAX Theatre and lush Crystal Gardens with rich foliage under a six-story atrium. www.navypier.org.
4 LEGOLAND DISCOVERY CENTER
For all the little builders in your family, this exploration center and fun house in nearby Schaumburg will engage them for hours on end. See the city of Chicago built in miniature with famous attractions like Navy Pier, Wrigley Field and Buckingham Fountain assembled from 1.5 million little pieces. Then, head to the Master Builder Academy where your kids can learn how to make their own unique creations in hands-on workshops. There’s also a 4D cinema and plenty of rides for the whole family. www.chicago.legolanddiscoverycenter.com.
5 AMERICAN GIRL PLACE
Welcome to the dollhouse! Here, child’s play becomes a whole new reality as little ones can bring in their favorite American Girl doll for a day of shopping and pampering together. In addition to a boutique full of apparel, accessories and furniture, there’s also a salon where dolls and their human companions can have their hair styled, ears pierced and enjoy a day of spa relaxation. American Girl Place also has an on-site café with brunch, afternoon tea and lunch and dinner service. www. americangirl.com/ retail/chicago.
6 CHICAGO DUCKY DERBY
It’s off to the races! Watch as more than 50,000 yellow rubber ducks swim their way down the Chicago River to the finish line in this annual event benefiting Special Olympics Illinois. Adopt a duck for only $5 (or pony up for a pack) and you could win prizes if yours is one of the first to finish the race. Prizes include a 2018 Chevy Equinox, $2,500 cash, NASCAR tickets and all-inclusive vacations. The event kicks off at 10 am on August 9 at the Wrigley Building at 400 N. Michigan Avenue. The day also includes entertainment and activities. www.duckrace.com/chicago.
7 WIZARD WORLD COMIC-CON
Over the course of four days, August 23-26, kids can meet all their favorite superheroes and TV and movie stars at this annual Comic-Con at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in nearby Rosemont. Scheduled to appear is the cast of “Boy Meets World,” Christy Romano from “Kim Possible” and The Fonz, Henry Winkler. Autograph signings, panel discussions, costume contests and vendors are all part of the weekend. www.wizardworld.com/comiccon/chicago.
8 MAGGIE DALEY PARK
Named for one of Chicago’s great first ladies, the late Maggie Daley, this park honors her commitment to the children of Chicago with plenty of green space and playgrounds for hours of outdoor fun. In addition to a 40-foot climbing wall and massive skating ribbon (you can rent rollerblades and scooters on-site), there’s also mini golf, tennis courts, picnic groves and a comprehensive three-acre Play Garden with fun attractions including an Enchanted Forest, Watering Hole, Wave Lawn and 12,000-square-foot Slide Crater zone. www.maggiedaleypark.com.
The Ducky Derby
American Girl Place