Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is Monday, January 16.  No school for this important holiday means your kids have a chance to honor and explore Dr. King’s inspiring legacy through family activities. Read on for the best MLK happenings!

dr. martin luther king jr.

Museum of Science and Industry’s Black Creativity Family Day
Celebrate science on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, at the Museum of Science and Industry’s annual Black Creativity Family Day. Learn about academic programs, admissions and campus life at a college fair, experience hands-on activities all over the Museum, including live experiment stations and Jr. Science Cafes, where kids can learn what it’s really like to be a scientist, engineer or innovator.

Jan. 16; 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m.
Cost: Free for IL residents
Museum of Science and Industry
5700 S. Lake Shore Dr.
Hyde Park
Online: msichicago.org

Chicago Sinfonietta’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Tribute Concert
Chicago Sinfonetta’s MLK Tribute Concert, a cherished Sinfonietta tradition since its founding in 1987 by Dr. Paul Freeman, celebrates the life, legacy and vision of Dr. King through a diverse program featuring symphonic masterworks and gospel music. This year’s program includes a never-before-seen performance featuring young musicians singing side-by-side with the orchestra, beginning with Williams’ masterpiece Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis performed by young musicians from three area music programs followed by Vivaldi’s rhythmic and intense Concerto for 4 Violins and Cello Opus 3 No. 10 B minor Opus featuring young violin soloists Maria Arrua, Teddy Wiggins, Tomer Marcus and Tara Lynn Ramsey from the Civic Orchestra of Chicago.

Jan 14;  8 p.m.
North Shore Center for the Performing Arts
9501 Skokie Blvd.
Skokie

Jan. 15; 3 p.m.
Wentz Concert Hall
North Central College
171 E. Chicago Ave.
Naperville

Jan. 16; 7:30 p.m.
Orchestra Hall of Symphony Center
220 S. Michigan Ave.
Loop

Cost: $10-$99
Online: chicagosinfonietta.org

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day at the Chicago History Museum
Commemorate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at the Chicago History Museum’s day-long family event. The Writers Theatre will present The MLK Project: The Fight for Civil Rights and little ones can learn more about Dr. King’s legacy of peace and justice with storytelling and crafts. Don’t miss the 12:30 p.m. performance by the Chicago Chamber Choir, Precious Lord: A Tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Jan. 16; 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
Cost: Free of IL residents
Chicago History Museum
1601 N. Clark St.
Lincoln Park
Online: chicagohistory.org

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day: Lift Every Voice at the Art Institute of Chicago 

Celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by bringing his message to life through art. Hear a reading of a new children’s book A Gift From Greensboro by author Quraysh Ali Lansana and experience performances by young poets from Reborn Poetry Ensemble. Drop-in art-making activities for kids of all ages will be offered at the museum’s Ryan Education Center. Be sure to take a moment to design your own symbols of friendship and peace. Registration is not required for this program.

Jan. 16; 10:30 a.m.-3 p.m.
Cost: Admission to Ryan Education Center and to the museum is always free for ages 14 & under
Art Institute of Chicago
111 S. Michigan Ave.
Grant Park
Online: arctic.edu

chi-childrens-mlkphoto: Chicago Children’s Museum

What Does It Mean, Dr. King? at the Chicago Children’s Museum
What Does It Mean, Dr. King? is a musical that invites families to investigate the Civil Rights movement. Little ones will be asked what they would have done if faced with some of the situations that took place during the Civil Rights Movement, including the Montgomery bus boycott, the integration of a New Orleans elementary school by six-year-old Ruby Bridges and the March on Washington where Dr. King delivered his iconic I Have a Dream speech. At the end of the 20-minute show, kids can write their own letter to King, sharing what they’ve learned and asking questions of their own.

Jan. 18; 11 a.m., 1 p.m., 2 p.m. & 3 p.m.
Cost: Free with museum admission ($14/children & adults; free for ages 1 & under)
Chicago Children’s Museum
700 E. Grand Ave.
Navy Pier
Online: chicagochildrensmuseum.org

Celebration at DuSable Museum of African American History
Home to hundreds of artifacts from the Civil Rights Movement, Chicago’s DuSable Museum of African American History celebrates Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. with a day dedicated to his life and lasting impact. Short films will be shown in the Ames Auditorium and dance performances, storytelling and music will be featured in both the Illinois Black Legislators Auditorium and the Harold Washington Skylight Gallery throughout the day.

Jan. 16; check link for schedule
Cost: $10/adults; $3/ages 6-11; free for ages 5 & under
740 E. 56th Pl.
South Side
Online: dusablemuseum.org

brookfield-zoo-mlkphoto: Brookfield Zoo

Choral Performance & Crafts at Brookfield Zoo
The Chicago Zoological Society will celebrate the day through various local musical presentations your kids will go wild for. A full version of I Have A Dream will also be displayed. Spread Dr. King’s message of peace by having the kiddos create their very own peace dove.

Jan. 16; noon-1 p.m.
Cost: General zoo admission is free
Discovery Center at Brookfield Zoo
8400 31st St.
Brookfield
Online: brookfieldzoo.org

What Does it Mean, Dr. King? at the Chicago Children’s Museum
What Does It Mean, Dr. King? is a musical that invites families to investigate the Civil Rights movement. Little ones will be asked what they would have done if faced with some of the situations that took place during the Civil Rights Movement, including the Montgomery bus boycott, the integration of a New Orleans elementary school by six-year-old Ruby Bridges and the March on Washington where Dr. King delivered his iconic I Have a Dream speech. At the end of the 20-minute show, kids can write their own letter to King, sharing what they’ve learned and asking questions of their own.

Jan. 16; 11 a.m., 1 p.m., 2 p.m. & 3 p.m.
Cost: Free with museum admission ($14/children & adults; free for ages 1 & under)
Chicago Children’s Museum
700 E. Grand Ave.
Navy Pier
Online: chicagochildrensmuseum.org

What do you plan to do on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day? Let us know in the Comments section below.

— Amy Bizzarri