We’re already halfway through summer break (bummer!) — but fun is at its peak (yay!). Make the most of it at the hottest events, exhibits and performances around town. Treat yourself to Seussical, a musical based on the stories of Dr. Seuss. Rock out at BenFest and Sheffield Garden Walk — two outdoor festivals with major kid power. Trek further afield to a Wild West event and Caribbean beach party. And there’s lots more.
Some of the most iconic Dr. Seuss stories come together in an extravaganza of fun, laughs and lessons. Your kids will be endlessly entertained by the unbeatable combination of Horton Hears a Who!, The One Feather Tail of Miss Gertrude McFuzz and Oh, the Thinks You Can Think! Make sure you stick around after the show for autographs and photos with the cast. Runs thru Aug. 17 at Chicago Shakespeare Theater. $18/child 12 & under; $28/adult. Ages 5 & up. Event details.
Cirque Shanghai: Warriors
Get ready for oohs and aahs. This spectacle of acrobats and stunts includes thrilling acts like The Kinetic Poles, the Water Meteor and the Pageant of Arms. If that’s not enough to get your blood pumping, returning from last year is the fate-tempting Wheel of Destiny and the steel-globe motorcycle troupe Imperial Thunder. Runs thru Sept. 1. Navy Pier Skyline Stage. $15.50-$39.50. All ages. Event details.
With live music and dancing, this a great time for the whole family. There will also be games, a water slide, costumed characters, inflatables, face painting, an arts and craft area, and train rides. Held Fri., 4-10 p.m.; Sat., 1-10 p.m.; Sun., 1-7 p.m. at St. Benedicts Church. Suggested donation of $5 to enter; kids under 5 free. All ages. Event details.
The mismatched duo, pig Wilbur and spider Charlotte, and the rest of their farm friends are coming to the big city this summer. Ernie Nolan is bringing E.B. White’s childhood classic tale (piggy tale, that is), Charlotte’s Web, to life on stage. Your little ones can watch as Wilbur evolves from the runt of the litter into the farmhouse hero with a little help from his arachnid friend. Runs thru Aug. 17. Emerald City Theater at Broadway Playhouse. All ages. Event details.
Sheffield Garden Walk & Music Festival
Get inspired to grow a green thumb with walking tours of more 80 gardens. In the Kids’ Corner young fest-goers can be a conductor on the pig train, get up close with animals at the petting zoo and ride a pony. Art activities include decorating sun visors and butterflies, creating crowns and designing masks. Held Sat. & Sun., noon-5:30 p.m. (kids’ area hours) at Sheffield & Webster avenues. Suggested donation $7; $10 after 3 p.m. All ages. Event details.
Hotel Lincoln Tie-Dye Party
Your whole family can get creative with this old-school favorite. Tie-dye a shirt — and stick around to have the nail masters of AstroWifey give you a one-of-a-kind manicure with limited-edition designs. Held Sat., 10 a.m.-noon at Hotel Lincoln. Free; bring your own clothes to tie-dye. All ages. Event details.
Chinatown Summer Fair
Kicking off with the Lion Dance Procession, this street fest nods to the Far East with both classic and contemporary Chinese music, dance and food. Martial arts demonstrations, a traveling Children’s Museum, a petting zoo, and pony rides are part of the fun. Held Sun., 10 a.m.-8 p.m on Wentworth Avenue, from Cermak Avenue to 24th Place. Free. All ages. Event details.
City Mini Golf
This traveling mini golf course will set up shop at five local schools and one park, where families can enjoy a round or two. This is a fun way to give back to the community because 15% of the profits go back to the schools that are hosting the course. Held thru July 20 at Jahn Elementary School. $8/person; $5 for second round; $15 play-all-day pass. All ages. Event details.
Flower Fairy Festival
Cast an enchantment and spend a day with your fairy friends. This bash gives kids the chance to make fairy furniture and be transported to an enchanted land while listening to fairy folklore. The fun can continue at home with your handmade fairy wand. Held Sat. & Sun., 11 a.m.-4 p.m. at Morton Arboretum. Free with general admission. All ages. Event details.
Caribbean Beach Party
The sound of steel drums and sight of sand sculptures will make your cares melt away. Watch a professional sand sculptor create a tropical-themed creation, play in a giant sand box, or slide down a giant slide. With two stages you’re sure to catch a steel drum tune, too, while you sample Caribbean inspired food. Held Sun., noon-7 p.m. on Oak Park Avenue, from 171st Street to Hickory Street. Free. All ages. Event details.
Oregon Trail Days
Join Annie Oakley, bank robbers and Native Americans for a weekend in the great old West. There are costumes, cowboys and special dance performances. Buy awesome western souvenirs, and grab a snack along the way. Stay overnight in a tipi, and be treated to a Sunday morning breakfast. Sat., 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sun., 10 a.m.-4 p.m. at Lowden State Park. $7/person; some activities may cost extra; $79/night for tipi camping. All ages. Event details.
What are you up to this weekend? Let us know in the Comments below!
— Kelly Aiglon & Natasha Davis
Photo: Seussical at Chicago Shakespeare Theater / Michael Brosilow