The kiddos are back to school, but that doesn’t mean the carefree fun has to end. From a ginormous frog display to a traveling circus, the smiles can keep on rolling into September. Read on to find our Editor’s picks on the best of the best for saying hasta la vista to summer.

Navy Pier Fireworks 2photo: Navy Pier

(1) Final Fireworks of the Summer at the Pier
Keep the kids up a tad later on Wednesdays and Saturdays this summer to experience the fireworks display synchronized to music at Navy Pier.

When: Sept. 3 & 10
Hours: 10:15 p.m.
Where: Navy Pier, 600 E. Grand Ave., Streeterville
Cost: Free

(2) Midnight Circus in the Parks
Chicago’s offbeat and totally entertaining circus takes its act on the road, performing in parks in all corners of the city. The troupe does high-wire acts, juggling, clowning and acrobatics. It’s all for a good cause: The tour raises money to improve public parks and playgrounds.

When: Sept. 3 & 4
Hours: 3 p.m.
Where: Gately Park, 44 E. 103rd St., Pullman
Cost: $5
Online: for additional dates and locations, visit

Butterflies & Bloomsphoto: Chicago Botanic Garden

(3) Last Chance to See Butterflies and Blooms
Dance among 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. Or try to catch them. Be gentle though, as they are nature’s jewels.

When: Thru Sept. 5
Hours: 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Where: Chicago Botanic Garden, 1000 Lake Cook Rd., Glencoe
Cost: $6/adults; $4/children 3 – 12; Children 2 & under free

(4) Enjoy Quiet Time with Parents Night Out
Pump it Up is helping parents capture some alone time with their Parents Night Out. Drop the kids for jumping, dinner, crafts and games. Each jumper will get a glitter tattoo to experience the new GLOW experience.

When: Sept. 16
Hours: 6 p.m.-9 p.m.
Where: Pump it Up, 4995 Varsity Dr., Lisle
Cost: $25 for first child, $20 each additional

(5) Parent & Toddler Yoga at Lincoln Park Zoo
Connect to nature while exercising the body and imagination with your little one. Toddlers will practice fun animal yoga poses and also engage in activities like guided nature exploration, reading a storybook, and more. After class, visit the lions, monkeys, turtles and other animals that inspire this unique, animal-themed yoga class.

When: Thursdays thru Sept. 15
Hours: 10 a.m.-11 a.m.
Where: Lincoln Park Zoo Nature Boardwalk Peoples Gas Pavilion, 2001 N. Clark St., Lincoln Park
Cost: $20/child

Identification Day at The Field Museumphoto: The Field Museum

(6) Identification Day at The Field Museum
The Field Museum will host its 3rd annual Identification Day on a day that’s free for Illinois residents. Is there a mysterious fossil you found while backpacking or a picture of the bizarre bird in your backyard? Bring in your fossils, seashells, rocks, meteorites, feathers, leaves or photographs of mammals, birds, reptiles, fish, flowers and insects for world-renowned scientists to identify! Stop by, with or without mystery objects to see (and touch) the scientific specimens on display.

When: Sept. 17
Hours: 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
Where: The Field Museum, 1400 S. Lake Shore Dr., Museum Campus
Cost: Free for Illinois residents

Morton Arboretum Ribbit 5photo: Morton Arboretum’s Ribbit! The Exhibit

(7) Last Chance to See Ribbit! The Exhibit
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, including playing instruments, catching butterflies and meditating on a lily pad.

When: Daily thru Sept. 25
Hours: 9 a.m.-6 p.m.
Where: Morton Arboretum, 4100 IL Rte 53, Lisle
Cost: Exhibit free with admission; $14/adults; $9/ages 2-17

(8) Hejsan – Story & Craft Hour
Hear a story of immigration at Brunk Children’s Museum’s story and craft hour. While there is no additional cost to attend, reservations are appreciated and can be made via email to

When: Sept. 16
Hours: 11 a.m.-noon
Where: Swedish American Museum, 5211 N. Clark St., Andersonville
Cost: Free

(9) Kick Off Celebrating Fall in Cary
Make a trip to Cary for their 3rd annual Main Street Fest featuring craft brew selections, local restaurants and businesses, a marketplace of vendors and artists, live entertainment and a children’s area with games, inflatables and activities.

When: Sept. 17 & 18
Hours: Sat., noon-10 p.m.; Sun., 11 a.m.-9 p.m.
Where: Downtown Cary, 100 W. Main St., Cary
Cost: Free

World Peace Day Fall Run/Walkphoto: World Peace Day Run/Walk

(10) World Peace Day Run/Walk
Kick off fall with Play for Peace at the World Peace Day Fall Run/Walk. This family-friendly event brings people from throughout Chicagoland together to celebrate World Peace Day, a global celebration recognized by the United Nations. The celebration includes an International Food Festival, music, face painting, cooperative games, raffles and silent auction.

When: Sept. 24
Hours: 11 a.m.-2 p.m.
Where: Bartlett Nature Center, 2054 W. Stearns Rd., Bartlett
Cost: $10+

What’s on your family agenda for September. We’d love to hear all about it in the Comments below!

— Maria Chambers