Happy birthday to the Stars and Stripes! In between the fireworks, parades and Yankee Doodle-ing around, check out these can’t-miss events. You’ll have creative fun at Pinot’s Palette, watch hot air balloons take flight in Lisle, sit in awe watching fireworks at Navy Pier and more. Get out there and celebrate!
photo: Lisle’s Eyes to the Skies
Get the Scoop on Sweet Home Chicago
Discover why Chicago is known as “America’s candy capital” as the traveling exhibit, Sweet Home Chicago, makes a stop at the National Hellenic Museum. Fri.-Sun., 11 a.m.-5 p.m. National Hellenic Museum. $10/adults; $7/kids; free for ages 2 & under. All ages. Event details.
Discover Math in Nature with a Mirror Maze
Discover how naturally fun math can be in a maze filled with mirrors that help kiddos unlock the beautiful symmetry of the natural world. Numbers in Nature: A Mirror Maze kicks things off with a film that presents how fractals, spirals and “golden ratio” are woven into our lives. Fri.-Sun., 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Museum of Science and Industry. $18/adults; $11/children 3-11. All ages. Event details.
From superheroes to undersea adventures, princesses to dinosaurs, Storytown takes you on an interactive, fully improvised adventure. The actors use audience suggestions and ideas to create a different story every week. Sat., 10:30 a.m. Stage 773. $10. Ages 3-10. Event details.
Kids Classic Cooking Series: It’s Summer!
S’mores, chocolate fondue – say no more – we’re there! Join The Kids’ Table to cook up some of the favorite recipes from their Summer Camp series. Check their website for a full menu. Sat., 10:30 a.m.-11:30 a.m. The Kids’ Table. $22.50/members, $25/non-members. Ages 4-10. Event details.
A Detective Game with Cat-titude
This interactive spy story provides the purrr-fect opportunity to show your little ones the mystery and excitement of live theatre. With the promise of pie and the smell of a rat close by, gather clues to help Three Little Kittens find their missing mittens. Fri., 10 a.m.; Sat.,10:30 a.m.; Sun., 10 a.m. Emerald City’s Little Theatre. $15; $8/children 1 & under. Ages 0-5. Event details.
Try the New Kids Menu at Blackwood BBQ
A staple for fast-casual barbecue and smoked meats, Blackwood BBQ just became a easy choice for hungry families on the go with the introduction of their new kids menu. Hit up this Lakeview favorite and you’ll find Mac n’ Cheese, Hot Diggity Dogs, ‘Cuetie Sliders and BeansNFrank. Fri. & Sat., 10:30 a.m.-midnight; Sun. & Mon., 10:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Blackwood BBQ. All ages. Event details.
Engage in Improvised Fun at ComedySportz
This hilarious 90-minute improv show has two competing teams creating comedy scenes, songs and games right on the spot based on audience suggestions. The audience chooses the winner and the show never repeats. Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 6 p.m. & 8 p.m. ComedySportz – CSz Theater. $23-$25. All ages. Event details.
Release the Butterflies!
Who doesn’t love butterflies? Experience their beauty as new butterflies are released daily at the Peggy Notebaert Museum’s Butterfly Haven exhibit. Daily, 2 p.m. Peggy Notebaert Museum. $9/adults; $6/ages 3-12; free for ages 2 & under. All ages. Event details.
Milk a Cow at Lincoln Park Zoo
Visit Farm-in-the-Zoo at Lincoln Park Zoo to see how a typical family farm combines rural life with modern technology to milk its Holstein dairy cows. Fri.-Sun., 10 a.m. & 3 p.m. Farm-in-the-Zoo at Lincoln Park Zoo. Free. All ages. Event details.
See the Navy Pier Fireworks at 360 CHICAGO
Climb 94 floors above The Mag Mile to 360 CHICAGO Observation Deck to get a unique and unforgettable view of Navy Pier’s fireworks, happening every Wednesday and Saturday this summer. Sat., 10 p.m. 360 CHICAGO Observation Deck. $12/ages 12 & up; $13/ages 3-11; free for ages 2 & under. All ages. Event details.
Race Cars in the Zoom Room
It’s a race to the finish at Zoom Room, Chicago Children’s Museum’s newest exhibit. Check out the twisting racecourse that fills an entire room with hundreds of toy cars that race on crazy tracks. Fri.-Mon., 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Chicago Children’s Museum. Included in general museum admission of $14/person. All ages. Event details.
Hogwash: An Improvised Tall Tale
Fitting of its name, which means “nonsense”, the lack of structure of this improvised show makes it an absolute riot. Kids assist with costume selection and choose a location for the fully improvised story. Sat., 10:30 a.m.-noon. Bug House Theatre. $10/kids; free for adults. Ages 3-12. Event details.
Foodie Adventure Series
The best childhood memories come from Summer Camp, right? No need to pack your sleeping bags for this one – The Kid’s Table has you covered. Join them for their summer camp’s favorite recipes. See their website for the weekly menu. Sat., times vary. The Kids’ Table Wicker Park & Lakeview. $22.50/members, $25/non-members. Ages 4-10. Event details.
Challenger Sports’ British Soccer Camps
Spring soccer season is long gone and fall has yet to kick off, but don’t let those cleats get dusty this summer. Take some time this weekend to sign your kids up for Challenger Sports’ British Soccer Camp, where they’ll benefit from the efforts of hundreds of Challenger’s coaches who have developed one of the most innovative approaches to coaching youth soccer in the US. Week-long camps through Aug. 26. Various field locations throughout Chicagoland. Ages. 3-18. Event details.
Brush Up on Your Creative Side at Pinot’s Palette
Pinot’s Palette West Loop is hosting a series of Little Brushes family events and you’re invited! Take the kids for fun-filled, party-like classes where kids and adults can explore their inner artist. Each event is led by professional local artists who will guide participants in creating their own canvas paintings to take home. Sat., 2 p.m.-4 p.m. Pinot’s Palette West Loop. $35/person. Ages 6+. Event details.
Model Railroad Garden: Landmarks of America
Experience the delightful sights and sounds of miniature trains traversing high and low tunnels, across bridges and around buildings at the Chicago Botanic Garden’s Model Railroad Garden. The exhibit features 18 garden-scale trains on 1,600 feet of track with vignettes of tiny people and animals that give it a storybook feel. Fri.-Sun., 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Chicago Botanic Garden. $6/adults; $4/ages 3-12; free for 2 & under. All ages. Event details.
Play with Butterflies at Chicago Botanic Garden
Come play with hundreds of colorful butterflies at the Chicago Botanic Garden’s Butterflies & Blooms. Enter the serene tropical habitat made up of beautiful flowers and hundreds of butterflies fluttering about. Sit still and they may just land on you. Fri.-Sun., 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Chicago Botanic Garden. $6/adults; $4/children 3 – 12; Children 2 & under free. All ages. Event details.
Toys: The Inside Story at Kohl Children’s Museum
Learn what makes toys tick at Kohl Children’s Museum’s newest exhibit, Toys: The Inside Story. This temporary exhibit lets visitors take a peek inside some of the most recognizable toys to examine the linkages, pulleys, cams and circuits that make them irresistibly fun. Fri. & Sat., 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sun., noon-5 p.m. Kohl Children’s Museum. $12; free for ages 11 months & under. All ages. Event details.
The Village of Hoffman Estates, the Hoffman Estates Park District and Hanover Township are coming together to host Chicago’s Largest Suburban Independence Day Celebration. Enjoy the region’s biggest Fourth of July celebration at the Sears Centre Arena. Fri., 6 p.m.-11 p.m.; Sat., 9 a.m.-10 p.m.; Sun., 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Sears Centre Arena. Free admission. Fees for food and beverage & carnival rides. All ages. Event details.
Ribbit! The Exhibit Hops into Morton Arboretum
This spring and summer, hop over to The Morton Arboretum for Ribbit! The Exhibit, a whimsical collection of larger-than-life copper frog sculptures. The exhibit features 19 displays of five- to seven-foot-tall frogs taking part in a variety of activities. Daily, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Morton Arboretum. $14/adults; $9/ages 2-17. All ages. Event details.
Eyes to the Skies
Some cities celebrate the 4th of July once, but Lisle likes to live it up for five days. Head to the Eyes to the Skies Festival to enjoy kid-friendly activities like face painting, magic shows, and arts and crafts, as well as amazing hot air balloon launches. Wed.-Sun., times vary. Lisle Community Park. $8 adults; free for ages 6 & under. All ages. Event details.
GlowJump at Pump It Up
The only thing better than jumping at Pump it Up is glowing at Pump It Up. Kids will have the time of their lives playing in the massive inflatables with special FX lighting that makes white clothing glow in the dark. Fri., 4 p.m.-5:30 p.m. Pump It Up. $8/child (includes either a glow necklace or bracelet). Event details.
Tell us how you plan to spend your weekend in the Comments below!
— Maria Chambers