Take this cold weather and show it who’s boss! It won’t stand in your way of having family fun, and we’ve even done the legwork. This weekend, catch a live gig by Dan Zanes, have lunch with Elsa, make Thanksgiving crafts, and be there for the opening of the Museum of Science and Industry’s “Christmas Around the World” exhibit. Bundle up and enjoy the ride.
Dan Zanes and Friends Concert
Grab your family and friends, and boogie to their sweet pop-folk sound with songs like “Catch that Train” and “Shining Star.” With a healthy mix of classics and new material, old fans and newcomers are going to dig this show. Held Sat. 2 p.m. at the Harris Theater. $10-$20/person. Ages 4-12. Event details.
Diwali Family Festival
The Hindu festival of light comes to life in colorful ways here. Learn about Hindu stories and traditions through sculptures in the Art Institute galleries and dance performances by Kalapriya. The little ones will also be able to get creative when they make their own Indian-inspired art pieces to take home. Sat., 10:30 a.m.-3 p.m. at the Art Institute of Chicago. Free. All ages. Event details.
“Rainforest Adventure” Exhibit
There is so much to explore, from climbing a kapok tree to taking a peek into a gorilla’s nest. Kiddos will even learn about how to protect the endangered species that call the rainforest home. You might even find yourself hanging out with the Blue-throated Macaw, Violet Turacos, Green Tree Pythons and many others. Thru Jan. 1 at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum. Included in general admission ($9/adults; $6/kids 3-12; free for children under 3). All ages. Event details.
“The BFG” on Stage
Go on an adventure to discover what it means to be a hero with The Big Friendly Giant (or The BFG as he’s known by fans). Emerald City Theater’s production of the Roald Dahl classic will take your kiddos on a save-the-day journey with orphan Sophie and her big new friend. Shadow puppetry and inventive perspective-changing staging make this show fun for everyone. Thru Jan. 4 at The Apollo Theater. $10-$20/ticket. Ages 6 & up. Event details.
“Christmas Around the World” Exhibit
The fam is going to be enchanted by the trees and displays that are decorated to represent the rich multicultural heritage of Chicago. Of course, the crown jewel will be the The Grand Tree with 30,000 twinkling lights, sparkly ornaments and all the trimmings. Thurs.-Jan. 4 at the Museum of Science and Industry. Free with general museum admission (non-residents: $18/adults, $11/children 3-11; residents: $15/adults, $10/children 3-11). All ages. Event details.
Hyde Park Art Center Family Art Workshop
Impress your guests with the handcrafted Thanksgiving table setting that you created during a Harvest Print Workshop. Learn how to custom design and silkscreen your own table set, which includes a runner, set of napkins and name cards that will make your table pop. Sat., 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at Hyde Park Art Center. $85/person. All ages. Event details.
“It’s a Wonderful Santaland Miracle, Nut Cracking Christmas Story … Jews Welcome!”
This show has very long title and a very short purpose: making you smile. It does the job in grand fashion, featuring original Christmas carols, dance numbers, spoken word, puppets and everything in between. It packs the world’s most beloved stories and traditions into a music-and-dance smash. Held Fri.-Dec. 28. at Stage 773. $25/ticket. Ages 5 & up. Event details.
Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey present LEGENDS
Prepare for an evening of mythological creatures and performers from across the globe. From the magnificent Pegasus and the amazing Unicorn, to the Riders of the Wind Cossack horsemen, to the big cats and motorcycle daredevils, this is a show the kiddos will never forget. They will also be mesmerized by the majestic Asian elephants, a high-flying trapeze act and so much more. Held thru Sun. at Allstate Arena & Nov. 19-30 at United Center. Starting at $15/person. All ages. Event details.
Little princesses or princes are treated like royalty at this event (come in costume!). Sing songs and dance with friends while a DJ keeps things rocking. There are also princess-themed crafts. Sat., 6:30-7:45 p.m.; Sun. 11 a.m.-12:15 p.m. at ARRCC – Community Hall. $49/non-resident 1 parent & 1 child; $35/resident 1 parent & 1 parent; $14/sibling. Ages 1 & up. Event details.
Lunch With Elsa & Anna
Winter is fast approaching, which means Queen Elsa, Princess Anna and their sun-loving friend Olaf are excited to make your acquaintance. At the JCC Character Breakfast, your “Frozen” fan will have the chance to meet and eat with their favorite characters. They will also be able to create crafts and participate in a sing-a-long! Sun., 9-11 a.m. at Mayer Kaplan JCC. $12/adult; $6/child. Ages 3-7. Event details.
What are your weekend plans? We’d love to know — tell us in the Comments section below!
— Kelly Aiglon & Natasha Davis
Photo: Dan Zanes