Can’t wait to spring ahead? (Don’t let the door hit you on your way out, winter.) Have fun as you blast into the season with family happenings across Chicago and the ‘burbs. Put these exhibits, concerts and theater shows on your calendar — and buy tickets now. Rest assured, budding flowers and sunny skies will be here before you can say, “Let’s picnic!”

earth-explorers

photo: Museum of Science and Industry

MUSEUM EXHIBITS

National Geographic Presents: “Earth Explorers” at the Museum of Science and Industry
Plunge into the world’s eco-zones — Polar Regions, Oceans, Rain Forests, Mountains and Caves and Savannas — in an interactive exhibit that feels like one big adventure. You’ll make discoveries and meet explorers who make their way through these environments every day. Explore an arctic cabin and test your ability to stand living in an ice-covered world. Descend into the deep in a 3-D submersible and explore how life forms at varying depths, even coming face-to-face with a great white shark. Soar in a hot air balloon over the Savanna, learning about the life of elephants and other mammals. That’s just the beginning.

On view March 20-September 1, 2015. More info at msichicago.org.x

“The Machine Inside: Biomechanics” at The Field Museum
How do living things move, thrive and discover? Find out plants and animals survive despite the forces of gravity, the pressure of water and wind, and the attacks of predators. The exhibit is full of hands-on fun. Feel how hard a giraffe’s heart works to pump blood up to its head. Try to “fly” and study the different ways creatures jump, gallop, slither and swim. And see technological breakthroughs — like Velcro, wind turbines and chainsaws — that were inspired by nature’s ingenuity.

On view March 21-January 4, 2015. More info at fieldmuseum.org.

chicks-exhibit

“Eggs to Chicks” at Kohl Children’s Museum
The cute factor is high at this annual hit. Gain an understanding of the life cycles of the rare Black Java and White Java chickens as they hatch and grow in a special child-height egg incubator, hatchery unit and pen. More than 150 eggs will be hatched, with delivery and incubation carefully timed to ensure that there will be new chicks hatching weekly. The chicks will ultimately be delivered to farms in Illinois, Wisconsin and Indiana to be used for egg production and species repopulation.

On view March 18-June 16, 2014. More info at kohlchildrensmuseum.org.

KINDIE MUSIC CONCERTS

mr-singer-spring-show

photo: Mr. Singer

Tot Rock Family Concert Featuring Mr. Singer & The Sharp Cookies
Jump to the beat of Mr. Singer’s folk-rock jams at a fundraiser for The Chicago Lighthouse, a non-profit organization that assists the visually impaired. This “all ages” show will appeal particularly to toddlers and preschoolers, who can never get enough of his feel-good songs packed with interactive movement and call-and-response.

Held Saturday, March 22, at 10:30 a.m. at the JCYS George W. Lutz Family Center in Highland Park. More info at chicagolighthouse.org.

Concert for Kids Spring Fest at Beat Kitchen
The popular Sunday-morning concert series gets you fired up with a gig by Mary Macaroni. Wearing a daffodil-yellow wig and shimmery dress, Mary is the picture of spring. Expect pop-y guitar songs, dancing and lots of smiles.

Held Sunday, March 23, at 11 a.m. More info at beatkitchen.com.

Imagination Movers

photo: Imagination Movers

Imagination Movers at Paramount Theatre
They’re the hottest live kids’ show on Disney Junior and their concerts bring down the house. Their power kindie anthems are about things every kid can relate to: snack time, playing catch and conquering d fears of bedtime.

Held on Sunday, May 18, at 11:30 a.m. & 2:30 p.m. More info at paramountaurora.com.

FAMILY EVENTS

Here Comes the Sun at Adler Planetarium
In honor of spring break, the Planetarium is planning something out of this world. Explore the awesome power of the nearest and brightest star, the Sun, through special weekly programs including Young Explorers Mondays, where the youngest explorers can go adrift in the galaxy via a special sky show, “One World, One Sky,” starring Big Bird and Elmo. Every Friday is Homegrown Solar Science, where families can build their own solar oven or window garden. And on Saturdays, local artists help you create a cosmic masterpiece using the sun, planets and moons as inspiration.

Held March 22-April 27. More info at adlerplanetarium.org.

reptilefest

photo: via ReptileFest Facebook page

ReptileFest
It’s time for scaly, slithery fun. See and touch hundreds of reptiles and amphibians from around the world in 40,000 square feet of exhibits, vendors and games. You’ll meet the “Iguana Squad” to learn about proper care for all species of iguanas, climb into a tortoise pen, have your photo taken with a large reptile, and learn about creatures in your backyard and beyond.

Held April 12 & 13 at the University of Illinois at Chicago P.E. Building. More info at chicagoherp.org.

Cinco de Mayo Piñata Party at Lincoln Park Zoo
Every thought you’d see a tiger rip open a piñata? We promise it’s a total fiesta. Head to the zoo for the Mexican holiday, and make your own pinata and then watch animals tear them apart. Can’t blame them — there are treats inside.

Held Sunday, May 4, at 9-10:30 a.m., 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. & 1-2:30 p.m. More info at lpzoo.org.

dinosaur-zoo-live

photo: Dinosaur Zoo Live!

THEATER SHOWS

Dinosaur Zoo Live!
My, what big jaws you have. A giant T-rex and other ancient creatures come to life before your eyes at this interactive show that’s staged with large-scale puppets. You’ll feel whisked back to pre-historic Australia when you encounter a horde of insects, mammals and dinos.

Held March 25-30 at Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place. More info at broadwayinchicago.com.

The White Snake at Goodman Theatre
On the heels of last year’s “The Jungle Book,” director Mary Zimmerman is doing yet another exciting, family-friendly show. It delves into the ancient myth of the White and Green Snakes — a 1,000-year-old Chinese fable — and spins the yarn through music, dancing and large-scale puppets. It’s a girl-meets-boy story, with the hitch being one of them is from the spirit world.

Held May 3-June 8. More info at goodmantheatre.com.

scooby-doo

photo: Scooby Doo Live!

Scooby Doo Live! Musical Mysteries at Rosemont Theatre
The Great Dane and his Mystery Inc. gang helps solve an epic mystery on stage. A trouble-making ghost is haunting a local theater and the adventuresome team will crack the case — all while singing and dancing. Good thing there are Scooby Snacks on hand. Ra-roo!

Held May 3, at 1 & 4 p.m. More info at rosemonttheatre.com.

What are you looking forward to doing this spring? Let us know in the Comments section below.

— Kelly Aiglon