Hasta la vista, Spring! It’s been fun, but we’re shedding the layers in favor of swimsuits and shades. This month, show the kids their very first rave, hit up a fest or two, come in for a landing at the Cavalcade of Planes — wait, there’s more where that come from! Check out our Editor’s picks for kicking off summer in the Windy City.
(1) Nature Nights: Ready, Set, Grow!
Pack a picnic dinner and spend an evening in the garden. Along with a enjoying a tram ride, planting project and s’mores around the campfire, kids will have a chance to learn what plants need to grow and gardening basics in Chicago Botanic Garden’s Grunsfield Children’s Growing Garden.
When: Jun. 3 & 10
Hours: 5 p.m.-7:30 p.m.
Where: Chicago Botanic Garden, 1000 Lake Cook Rd., Glencoe
Cost: $26/child; 20% discount for members
(2) Do-Division Annual Family Fun Fest
Be a kid again at Do-Division’s annual Family Fun Fest. Joust with your kids or race them up a climbing wall. Toss around a ball at the sports area, and boogie on down at the kid’s music and talent show.
When: Jun. 3 & 4
Hours: noon-6 p.m.
Where: Hoyne between Crystal & Potomac and on Crystal between Hoyne & Damen, Wicker Park
Cost: Suggested donation of $5/person
(3) Feed your need for speed at Cavalcade of Planes
Throw on your old-timey aviator gear and hit up Clow International Airport’s Cavalcade of Planes. New planes, vintage planes, military vehicles, drone demos, helicopters, refueling simulator — it’s no wonder this event attracts more than 10,000 visitors every year! Beyond just getting a line of sight on all these cool things, you’ll see them in motion with formation flying, helicopter demonstrations and even a chance to take to the skies yourself.
When: June 3 & 4
Hours: 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Where: Clow International Airport, 130 International Pkwy., Bolingbrook
Cost: $3/adults; $1/ages 5-11; free for ages 4 & under
(4) 20th Annual Railroad Day at Franklin Park Fest
Franklin Park Railroad Day is one heck of a choo-choo extravaganza. Explore the interiors of over a dozen trains and check out some classic train memorabilia. Kids can take mini train rides and everyone can enjoy a carnival, live entertainment and food at this train-tastic fest.
When: Jun. 10
Hours: 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
Where: Tower Park, Calwagner Street & Franklin Avenue, Franklin Park
Cost: Free, except for train rides
(5) A Pride Fest with a Swedish Twist: Andersonville Midsommarfest
Set in the heart of Chicago’s historically Swedish neighborhood, you’ll enjoy music, dancing, kids’ entertainment and food. Check out unique craft vendors and sample the local talent with ethnic dance troupes and 5 performance stages. It’s one of the highlights of Pride Month and, while not solely Pride focused, Andersonville is a diverse area that loves to celebrate its LGBTQ community.
When: Jun. 9-11
Hours: Fri., 5 p.m.-10 p.m.; Sat. & Sun., Noon-10 p.m.
Where: Clark Street, from Foster to Catalpa, Andersonville
Cost: Suggested donation of $10/person; free for ages 12 & under
(6) Eco Fun at Green Music Fest
Want to be green and teach your kids to do the same? Check out this annual blast where your family can get eco-friendly living tips while grooving to local music. The Green Family Fun Fest is a fest-within-a-fest that provides lots of fun-filled and green children’s activities throughout the weekend, including mini-golf, arts and crafts, a kiddie play area and projects. Bring your pets for a charity dog wash, bandana-making and more!
When: Jun. 10 & 11
Hours: Sat. & Sun., noon-10 p.m.; Noon-5 p.m. (kids’ area hours)
Where: Damen Ave. between North Ave. & Schiller St., Wicker Park
Cost: Suggested donation $10
(7) Mr. Dave’s Baby Rave
One of Chicago’s favorite kindie musicians is throwing a baby rave, and he invited his friends DJ Matt Roan and Magical Myster AJ for an epic dance party. Kids can look forward to 90 minutes of live action featuring awesome beats, amazing magic tricks and fabulous tunes. The fun will include a light show, glow sticks for all, balloon art falling into the crowd, giveaways, and adult beverages for the grownups.
When: Jun. 10
Hours: 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Where: The Chop Shop & 1st Ward, 2033 W. North Ave., Wicker Park
Cost: $10/person; free for ages 11 mos. & under
(8) Origami Extravaganza
Okay, so this is NOT Origami 101, this is definitely expert level looking stuff. But, don’t be intimidated . . . origami expert Marilyn Schweitzer will be on-hand in the Children’s Garden to help you fold paper into something truly magical. While you’re there, check out the temporary Origami in the Garden exhibit. (If you’re looking for some adult-only fun, the Arboretum has you covered! Stop in for their Craft Beer Festival, Jun 24.)
When: Jun. 10 & 11
Hours: Sat. & Sun., 11 a.m.-4 p.m.
Where: Morton Arboretum, 4100 IL Rte. 53, Lisle
Cost: Free with arboretum admission; $14/adults, $9/ages 2-17, free for ages 1 & under
(9) Hometown Picnic
What better way to spend a summer afternoon than at a picnic with old-fashioned games, contests, music and an apple pie baking competition. Take your family and some munchies, enjoy some outdoor fun and relive the past!
When: Jun. 11
Hours: 1 p.m.-4 p.m.
Where: Naper Settlement, 523 S. Webster St., Naperville
Cost: $12/adult, $10/senior (62+), $8/youth (4–12). Naperville residents* and members are free.
(10) Brickworld 2017
See spectacular creations all built from LEGO bricks by local LEGO enthusiasts. Enjoy interactive activities, such as the LEGO and DUPLO play brick areas, fighting robots, seek and finds and more. Buy your favorite LEGO sets, minifigures and LEGO accessories from various vendors.
When: Jun. 18 & 19
Hours: Sat., 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; Sun., 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
Where: Renaissance Schaumburg Convention Center, 1551 N. Thoreau Dr., Schaumburg
Cost: $12 general admission, $9 military & first responders (door only), free for ages 3 & under$12 general admission, $9 military & first responders (door only), free for ages 3 & under
(11) It’s All About Kids at Geneva’s Swedish Summer Days
This classic ode to summer has kid’s events for six straight days. Parades, ice cream eating contests, a “creation station,” dodge ball tournament and 5K are just a few of the can’t-miss activities at this Swedish-inspired fest.
When: Jun. 20-25
Hours: Tues.-Sun., 10 a.m.
Where: Main & First Streets , Geneva
Cost: Free (cost for some activities)
(12) Campout with the Animals
It’s always fun to check out what your animal friends are up to after the zoo closes, but what if you could hang out with them all night? With Campout at the Zoo, you can! Check out the African apes, hang out in the mammal-reptile house and enjoy s’mores under the stars. In the morning, you will be woken up by your new friends and grab a quick breakfast before heading home.
When: Jun. 24
Hours: Evening only, 7 p.m.-10:30 p.m.; Full overnight, 7 p.m.-8:30 a.m.
Where: Lincoln Park Zoo, 2001 N. Clark St., Lincoln Park
Cost: evening only $40/non-member, $34/member; full overnight $65/non-member, $55/member; $12/person add-on dinner
(13) Family Sunday with the Sox
Spend a family Sunday with the Sox! The White Sox ballpark experience for kids will feature special kid-focused activities throughout the concourse and the opportunity to run the bases after the game.
When: Jun. 25
Hours: 1:10 p.m.
Where: Guaranteed Rate Field, 333 W. 35th St., Chicago
(14) Eyes to the Skies Carnival & Fest
Here’s your chance to see a hot air balloon up close — or even ride in one! Hot air balloons rise up daily, and tethered balloon rides are available in between. There’s also a carnival and a children’s area with LEGO building, martial arts and dance performances, storytelling, music, games and animal shows. Fireworks that end the festivities every night round out this spectacle.
When: Jun. 28-Jul. 2
Hours: 5:30 a.m. (balloon launch on July 1, 2 & 3) to 10 p.m. (fireworks end)
Where: Lisle Community Park, 1825 Short St., Lisle
Cost: $8; free for ages 6 & under (purchase tickets to ride carnival rides)
(15) Celebrate Family Equality at Chicago Children’s Museum
Through the end of June, museum goers can help transform a thee-story staircase into a giant rainbow by adding colorful ribbons and write their ideas about family on the “What Makes a Family?” chalk wall. Pretty cool stuff, right? For other ideas on how to celebrate Pride Month in Chicago, check out our story To the Rainbow! Pride Month Fun for Families.
When: Thru Jun. 30
Hours: Daily, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Where: Chicago Children’s Museum, 700 E. Grand Ave., Navy Pier
Cost: $14/adults & children over 15; Free for children 15 & under
What’s on your family agenda for June. We’d love to hear all about it in the Comments below!
— Maria Chambers