Looks like the mild temps are sticking around for a bit, so we’re keeping you outdoors . . . with a few exceptions. The clock is ticking on your opportunity to see a larger-than-life origami exhibit, a colorful new exhibit is waiting to meet you and the zoo animals are hoping you’ll let them be the backdrop to your family memory-making. Read on for our Editor’s picks on making your way around town this weekend.

photo: Chicago Children’s Museum’s Very Eric Carle Exhibit 


Lincoln Park

Go Wild for a Zoo Fall Fest
Usher in the harvest season with your animal friends at Lincoln Park Zoo’s Fall Fest, a celebration complete with rides, activities and entertainment. An a-maize-ing corn maze, Ferris wheel, two corn pools, hay mountain, a giant burlap sack slide and hay wagon rides round out the extravaganza. Fri.-Sun. Event details.

Museum Campus

Get Reel About Science at Adler Planetarium: The Martian
An astronaut becomes stranded on Mars after his team assumes him dead and he must rely on his ingenuity to find a way to signal to Earth that he’s alive. The REEL Science Film Series combines cinematic favorites with science conversations about the film. Fri. Event details.

Navy Pier

Eric Carle Brightens Chicago Children’s Museum
Chicago Children’s Museum newest exhibit, Very Eric Carle, introduces, reacquaints and inspires visitors to the work of renowned author and illustrator, Eric Carle. Fri.-Sun. Event details.

Near East Side

Schedule a Dinner & a Cruise to Remember
Lawry’s The Prime Rib is teaming up with the Chicago Architecture Foundation for an unforgettable cruise down Chicago’s famous river. Experience the architectural highlights on both branches of the river and then enjoy a three-course meal of Lawry’s classics. Fri.-Sun. Event details.



Bring the Kids into the Fold with Origami in the Garden
A stunning tower of white cranes ascending skyward. A glorious winged horse. A life boat suspended by bronze oars. Sounds like a dreamlike fantasy, but we can assure you it’s quite real. Origami in the Garden, is inspired by the Japanese art of paper folding and it’s reams of wholesome fun. Fri.-Sun. Event details.


Keep Coming Back For this Fall-Long Festival
Take a wee drive for more than 25 attractions at the Shades of Autumn Festival. You have the traditional hayrides, pumpkin picking and petting zoo, but the littles will be wowed by the famous pumpkin cannon, hamster track, semi-truck slide, trikes for tikes, scrumptious apple cider donuts and so much more. Fri.-Sun. Event details.


Get the Kids in on the Oktoberfest Fun at Hofbräuhaus Chicago
In a grand dining hall packed with communal tables, you can get excited about a rotating array of European musicians that play oompah music on stage (brace yourself for the chicken dance). There are also kids’ parades and games, and you might even see an aplhorn, a long horn used by Swiss mountain dwellers. Fri.-Sun. Event details.

Don’t miss this one-day fall fest!
MB Financial Park is back with their Family Fall Fest! Families can enjoy free horse-drawn hayrides, bouncy houses, balloon sculpting, face painting, magic acts and pumpkin painting. Live musical acts will also take the stage for toe tappin’ fun! Sat. Event details.

St. Charles

Show the crows who’s boss at a Scarecrow Fest
Over 50 handcrafted scarecrows compete for the best in show at this unique fall fest. You can even make a scarecrow of your very own to protect and defend your garden. The arts and crafts show, petting zoo and carnival extend the fun, making for a full day of autumn merriment. Fri.-Sun. Event details.


Tackle Fall Like It’s Done in the Wild, Wild West
Don your best cowboy boots and get ready for an autumn Wild West adventure via Donley’s Wild West Town, a family themed park with loads of things to see and do. Pan for faux gold, take a vintage canoe ride and see a show. Sat. & Sun. Event details.

Can’t get enough of those fests? Check out our story: Harvest Festivals You Don’t Want to Miss. For more ideas on how to spend this weekend, check out our Family Events Calendar

Share your weekend plans in the Comments below!

— Maria Chambers