No travel plans this summer? No worries. Family events will whisk you to faraway places, even if you’re staying close to home. This weekend, hit Europe by way of the Scottish Festival and Highland Games and sneak off to the Far East at the Malott Japanese Garden Family Sunday. Throw in a Father’s Day dance, for good measure. No passport required.



Scottish Festival and Highland Games
Make like Merida from Brave at this annual festival featuring live Celtic music, knobbly knees contests, bagpiping and Highland Dance competitions, haggis eating, and hurling. Also, watch professionals in the Heavy Athletics U.S. Open Championship do the Caber Toss (flipping a 20-foot, 140-pound tree trunk), the 22-pound Hammer Throw, the Sheaf Toss (flipping a bale of hay over a high bar) and the Clachnert (throwing a 16-pound river stone). Fri., 4:00 pm-10:00 pm; Sat., 8:00 am-9:00 pm. At Hamilton Lakes. On Friday, children 12 and under are free; adults $12. On Saturday, children under 2 are free; children ages 3-12 are $5; adults are $20. All ages. Event details.


Storytown Ice Cream & Improv
The adored improv crew brings a mobile version of its weekly stage show to the Pivot Arts Festival. Kids in the audience steer the adventure by shouting out suggestions that help shape impromptu scenes. There’s live piano accompaniment, as well as a strolling guitar player in the parking lot. After the show, hit the build-your-own ice cream sundae bar. Sat., 1:00 pm. Francesca’s Bryn Mawr. $10. All ages. Event details.

Lincoln Park

Daddy Daughter Dance
Fathers, grab the best date around (your darling daughter) and enjoy music and dancing with a DJ, open play, dinner, ice cream and more. Fri., 5:00 pm-7:00 pm. $25 for dad/daughter; $35 for dad and 2-3 daughters. Little Beans Cafe. All ages. Event details.

Museum Campus

Stingray Touch
Reach out and caress what are thought to be some of nature’s dangerous creatures: stingrays. Along with learning about different species (including cownose and yellow stingrays) and their wild habitats, you’ll see just how docile and friendly these ocean swimmers can be. Through Sept. 30. Shedd Aquarium. Tickets are a $5 optional add-on ($3 for Shedd members) to the Shedd Pass ($28.95 per adult and $19.95 per child ages 3-11). Tickets are included in the Total Experience Pass ($37.95 per adult or $28.95 per child ages 3-11). All ages. Event details.


Custer’s Last Stand Festival of the Arts
Evanston’s sprawling street fest has lots in store for pint-sized partiers. Piccolo Theatre is back with its “Piccolo Theatre Medicine Show” featuring 20 variety acts including theatre, puppets, juggling and clowns. There’s also time to romp on the playground or listen to live jazz, rock, folks and world music on two stages. Sat. & Sun., 10:00 am-9:00 pm; kids entertainment from 12:00 pm-4:30 pm. At Main Street and Chicago Avenue. $1 suggested donation for admission. All ages. Event details.


Malott Japanese Garden Family Sunday
Jet-set to Japan by way of Chicago Botanic Garden’s beautiful, Far East-inspired garden. Today, soak up the country’s art and culture by making a kendama (origami cup and ball). Other hands-on activities may include practicing using chopsticks, raking miniature dry gardens and crafting Japanese kites. Sun., 11:00 am-4:00 pm. Free. All ages. Event details.

How will you spend the weekend? Let us know in the Comments section below.

— Kelly Aiglonx

Photo: Courtesy of Scottish Festival & Highland Games