Sky’s the limit this weekend. That’s because the Chicago Air and Water Show is back and all of downtown will be looking up. You can also get carried away at other local happenings, from rides in a huge Thomas the Train to final performances of “The Jungle Book” musical. Here are our picks for the best (and most uplifting) things to do.



55th Annual Chicago Air and Water Show
Daredevil pilots perform aerial stunts over the lake and downtown Chicago. Look up, up and away at this year’s acts, including The All Veteran Parachute Team, Firebirds Delta Team, Matt Chapman Airshows, The British Sea Harrier Jet, Warbird Heritage Foundation: A-4 Skyhawk Jet Tac Demo and more. For the best viewpoint, stake out a spot at North Avenue Beach. Sat. & Sun., 10:00 am-3:00 pm. Held along the lakefront, from Oak Street to Fullerton Parkway. Free. All ages. Event details.

“Laugh Shack” Pop-Up Children’s Comedy Club
Joke around at the interactive museum exhibit, where you’ll make squirting flowers, participate in comedy workshops and do stand-up at an open mic. It’s all in the spirit of letting loose and being silly. Held through Sept. 2. Chicago Children’s Museum. Included in museum admission of $14; members get in free. All ages. Event details.

“The Jungle Book”
Tap-dancing monkeys. Joke-cracking vultures. Marching elephants. If this sounds like your idea of fun, you’ll go wild for the world premiere musical based on Rudyard Kipling’s1894 collection of stories set in the African jungle. It weaves poetry with traditional Indian dance, and lures you in with creative costumes that let the animals be human, not caricatures. Held through Aug. 18. The Goodman Theatre. $30-$125. Ages 5 and up. Event details.

Greater Grand Crossing

Midnight Circus in the Parks
Chicago’s offbeat and totally entertaining circus takes its act on the road this summer, 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. Sat., 2:00 pm.; Sun., 1:00 pm. Grand Crossing Park. $5. All ages. Event details.

Lincoln Park

Justin Roberts CD Release Party
Put on your dancing sneakers and rock out as the kindie music star does a free in-store performance at The Land of Nod at North & Clybourn. He’ll make you jump to songs from his new album, Recess. Sat., 11:00 am. Free. All ages. Event details.


Day Out With Thomas
Looks like Thomas slipped away from the Island of Sodor. He’s pulling up to the Illinois Railway Museum — and he’s big enough for kids to hop on for a ride. The annual event is a true sensation. Along with a 20-minute train ride, there are Thomas & Friends-themed games and activities, storytelling and the opportunity to meet Sir Topham Hatt. Fri.-Sun., 9:00 am-5:00 pm & Aug. 23-25. $19 (free for kids under 2). All ages. Event details.


Tree House Tales
Explore six enchanting tree houses — without climbing wobbly ladders. The kid-safe, totally grounded structures celebrate the importance of certain trees, from the rustic White Oak Settler’s Cabin (a flashback to pioneer times) to the whimsical Empress Tree Castle (featuring a drawbridge entrance and slide). Held through Nov. 30. Morton Arboretum. Included in general admission ($12 for adults, $9 for kids, free for age 2 and under). All ages. Event details.

Which of these events will you hit first? Let us know in the Comments section below.

— Kelly Aiglon

Photo: Courtesy of City of Chicago