The kids are back to school, but that doesn’t mean the carefree fun associated with summer has to end. From ginormous nature-inspired LEGO displays, dynamic live shows and helping kittens find their mittens, the fun can keep on rolling into September. Read on to find our Editor’s picks on the best of the best in Chicago.

Marvel Universe Live Group

Photo:  Marvel Universe Live

(1) Marvel Universe Live!
Get ready to experience an electrifying battle between good and evil right before your eyes. Marvel Universe Live! features the most Marvel characters ever assembled in one production – 25! Super hero fans will feel like they’ve stepped into a Marvel blockbuster film come to life with nonstop movie style action and stunts.

When: Sept. 10-20
Hours: various (see website for showtimes)
Where: United Center, 1859 W. Madison, Near West Side
Allstate Arena, 6920 N. Mannheim Rd., Rosemont
Cost: $25/$90; kids under 36″ on a lap are free
Online: marveluniverselive.com

(2)  Leaping Horses: Tempel Lipizzan Performances
Commemorate the 70th anniversary of the conclusion of World War II by attending a performance of the Tempel Lipizzan stallions, a breed so treasured by Gen. George S. Patton he staged a dramatic military rescue to save it. Lipizzans are best known for their Pegasus-like leaps and lifts and are revered for their combination of beauty, strength and intelligence. After a 90-minute program set to classical music, guests are invited on a self-guided tour through the stables where they are free to ask questions of the riders, trainers and students.

When: now through September 12
Hours:  various (see website for showtimes)
Where:  Tempel Farms, 17000 Wadsworth Rd., Wadsworth, IL
Cost: $25/adult; $15/ages 15 & under
Online:  tempelfarms.com

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Photo: Cirque du Soleil: KURIOS – Cabinet of Curiosities

(3) Cirque du Soleil: KURIOS – Cabinet of Curiosities
Performed under the iconic blue and yellow Big Top at the United Center, Cirque du Soleil’s KURIOS – Cabinet of Curiosities is a tale in which time comes to a halting stop, transporting audiences inside a fantasy world where everything is possible. Let your imaginations soar as The Seeker, a time machine wielding scientist, defies the laws of time, space and dimension in order to reinvent the world around him with steampunk elements featuring characters from another dimension.  This hugely popular show leaves Chicago this September, so don’t miss your chance to experience the wonder.

When: now through Sept. 20
Hours: various (see website for showtimes)
Where: United Center, 1859 W. Madison, Near West Side
Cost: $35-$145
Online:  cirquedusoleil.com

morton-lego-main

Photo: Nature Connects®: Art with LEGO® Bricks 

(4) Nature Connects®: Art with LEGO® Bricks
Enjoy a day built on fun at Nature Connects Art with LEGO Bricks by Sean Kenney, who’s a “professional kid” and the first-ever LEGO Certified Professional. LEGO enthusiasts of all ages will be dazzled as they search for 13 larger-than-life, nature-inspired sculptures throughout the east side of the The Morton Arboretum. See if your kid’s little eyes can spy a 7-foot tall regal peacock, a grandfather and grandchild gardening, a giant corn spider (eeek!), a hummingbird sipping nectar from a colorful trumpet flower, an 8-foot dragonfly and more! Be sure to stop by the play-and-stay area where kids can get creative with LEGO bricks.

When:  now through Nov. 1
Hours:  7 a.m.-sunset
Where:  Morton Arboretum, 4100 IL Rte 53, Lisle
Cost:  $14/adults; $9/ages 2-17; free for children 1 & under
Online: mortonarb.org

(5) Family Fun Night on the Farm
Enjoy a fun-filled family evening of rides, games, and more at Blackberry Farm, a living history museum where pioneer life is recreated through educational demonstrations. Pack the blankets, picnic basket and lawn chairs to enjoy a special showing of Babe on an outdoor movie screen at dusk.

When: Sept. 11
Hours: 7-9 p.m.
Where: Blackberry Farms, 100 S. Barnes Rd., Aurora
Cost: $5
Online: foxvalleyparkdistrict.org

Emerald City Theatre 2

Photo: Emerald City’s Little Theatre

(6) 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 and make new discoveries before Mother Cat comes slinking home.

When: opens Sept. 12-Jan. 3
Hours: various (see website for showtimes)
Where:  Emerald City’s Little Theatre, 2933 N. Southport Ave., Lakeview
Cost: $15; $8/children 1 & under
Online: emeraldcitytheatre.com

(7)  Family Sundays in the Garden
It’s the last chance to take advantage of Chicago Botanic Garden’s Family Sunday Series in the Malott Japanese Garden. Each Sunday during the series, a different take-home project will be featured. This month, participants will make Kimono Paper Dolls and Gyotaku (fish prints).

When: Sept. 6 & Sept. 20
Hours: 11 a.m.-4 p.m.
Where: Chicago Botanic Garden, 1000 Lake Cook Rd., Glencoe
Cost: Free with admission
Online: chicagobotanic.org

Tim Kubart

Photo: Tim Kubart

(8) Tim Kubart and His Space Cadets Land in Chicago
Tim Kubart, star of Sprout’s Sunny Side Up, and his Space Cadets are spreading warmth and kindness once again singing songs from their second album release, Home. Tim has the uncanny ability to climb into a child’s mind and create music about being a kid that makes a connection with his young audience.

When: Sept. 19
Hours: 10:30 a.m.
Where: Old Town School of Folk Music, 4544 N. Lincoln Ave., Lincoln Square
Cost: $15
Online:  oldtownschool.org

(9) Kinderfest at Oktoberfest
Welcome fall and celebrate German tradition at this popular annual Bavarian-themed fest. Break out the lederhosen and teach your kids to polka, treat them to traditional German cuisine, face painting, dance parties, story time with special character appearances, inflatables and crafts.

When: Sept. 26-27
Hours: 11 a.m.-4 p.m.
Where: St. Alphonsus, Corner of Lincoln, Wellington & Southport, Lakeview
Cost: $5
Online: oktoberfestchicago.org

(10) Attend a Special 10th Birthday Bash
Celebrate the 10th birthday of Morton Arboretum’s Children’s Garden with games, crafts, entertainment and even some tasty tree treats. Birthday well-wishers will make wishes for the trees, blow colored bubbles onto a birthday mural, get their faces painted, hunt for 10 festive trees in the garden, make birthday treats for the birds and much more!

When: Sept. 13
Hours: 11 a.m.-4 p.m.
Where: Morton Arboretum, 4100 IL Rte 53, Lisle
Cost: Free with general admission
Online: mortonarb.org

Tell us in the Comments below what’s on your family’s agenda for September.

—Maria Chambers