We can all agree summer coming to an end is for the birds. Luckily, there’s loads of fun for your family to flock to before the weather goes south. Read on for our Editor’s weekend picks that include close encounters with colorful feathered friends, kicking up your heels at a barnyard dance, partying in the streets of Palatine, closing down August with a bang at Navy Pier and more!

Brookfield Zoo Wild Encounters


Wild Encounters at Brookfield Zoo
Covering just over 3-acres, Brookfield Zoo’s Hamill Family Wild Encounters features unforgettable hands-on experiences that include opportunities to touch and feed animals. Purchase seed sticks and play feeder to hundreds of colorful parakeets that happily land on your hand, watch the kids giggle as goats nibble on their shoelaces and experience the friendliness of wallabies as they welcome you into their enclosure. There are also up-close encounters with red pandas, llamas, alpacas and reindeer as well as a rotating selection of animal ambassadors.  Daily, 9:30 a.m.-6 p.m. Brookfield Zoo.  $5/adults; $3/ages 3-11. All ages.  Event details


Playdate at Bucktown Academy
Bucktown Academy and Bucktown Music are joining forces to host an interactive playdate with a sing-a-long, open playtime and crafting where kids can make musical instruments.  Sat., 10 a.m.-11 a.m. Bucktown Academy. Free. Ages 2-5. Event details.


Kids Nite Out:  Cook, Eat & Play
Everyone deserves a fun night out every once in a while – even the kiddos! Drop the munchkins off for dinner and playtime at The Kids’ Table. They get to make their own dinner of egg salad sandwiches, fruit kabobs with honeyed yogurt dip and strawberry cupcakes and play food-themed memory and bingo. Sat., 6 p.m.-9 p.m. $40. 4 & up. Event details.

Museum Campus

Make it a Summer of Science
This weekend marks the end of Adler Planetarium’s Summer of Science program created to celebrate their 85th year anniversary.  The final installment of this 6-part series includes activities related to crowdsourcing in Power of the Crowd.  Participants will utilize crowdsourcing to create a sky show, participate in a Community Design Lab activity that includes hands-on storyboarding and more!  Don’t miss out on this hands-on, minds-on activity that gets the whole family psyched about science.  Sat., 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Adler Planetarium.  $12/adult; $8/child. All ages.  Event details.


Summer Fireworks at Navy Pier
Only two more weekends to take advantage of this fireworks display synchronized to music with Lake Michigan and Chicago’s skyline as your backdrop.  Push off bedtime just a tad and enjoy this spectacular show! Sat., 10:15 p.m. Navy Pier. Free. All ages. Event details.

West Loop

Cirque du Soleil presents KURIOS-Cabinet of Curiosities
Performed under the iconic blue and yellow Big Top this 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. Shows thru Sept. 20 in the parking lot of the United Center. Tickets start at $35. All ages. Event details.


Model Railroad Garden:  Landmarks of America
Experience the delightful sights and sounds of miniature trains traversing high and low tunnels, across bridges and around buildings at the Chicago Botanic Garden’s Model Railroad Garden. The exhibit features 18 garden-scale trains on 1,600 feet of track with vignettes of tiny people and animals that give it a storybook feel. Daily, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Chicago Botanic Garden. $6/adults; $4/ages 3-12; free for 2 & under. All ages. Event details.


Picnic Supper, Barnyard Dance & Ice Cream Social
Pack up a picnic supper and point your wagons to historic Wagner Farm for wagon rides, live music, square dancing and all the fixin’s for delicious ice cream sundaes.  Sat., 4 p.m.-8 p.m. Wagner Farm. $5; free for ages 2 & under. All ages. Event details.


Downtown Palatine Street Fest
Palatine’s street fest features live music, local cuisine and family entertainment and activities. The Kiddie Zone, open Saturday and Sunday, entertains kids with moonwalks, games with prizes, a magician and balloon artist, a K-9 demonstration, a pet parade and a visit from the Traveling World of Reptiles.  Fri., 5 p.m.-midnight; Sat., 11 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sun., 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Brockway & Slade Streets.  Free. All ages. Event details.


Rediscover Disney Classics on the Big Screen
Revisit beloved Disney classics on the big screen with your favorite Disney groupies. The Walt Disney Company and Cinemark Seven Bridges will show four films daily, seven days a week. Showing this week: Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, The Princess and the Frog and Mulan. Daily, varied showtimes. Cinemark Seven Bridges. $5. All ages. Event details.

Tell us how you plan to bid adieu to August in the Comments below!

—Maria Chambers

Photo Credit:  Maria Chambers