April’s showering of sun is paving the way for fun to blossom in May! We’ve gotten a taste of the warmth and we’re raring to go. Read on for our Editor’s picks for guaranteed perma-smiles — from a chance to dance with fairies, sleep next to the most famous T-Rex in the world and salute our heroes in a special Memorial Day Parade. Grab your shades and get out there!
photo: Minecraft Super League
(1) Play Minecraft in a movie theatre
Now your family can play Minecraft in select movie theatres across Chicago with Super League Gaming. In this four-week series, Super League brings together gamers of all ages for a fun, social, face-to-face gameplay experience on the big screen with superhero themed maps and mods in a custom Minecraft adventure called, Rise of Heroes.
When: Apr. 30-May 21
Hours: 10 a.m.
Where: Various Chicagoland theatres
Cost: $60 for a 4-week league
(2) Visit Monica + Andy’s pop-up shop
Monica + Andy is bringing city cool to Oakbrook Center for one month. Expect to see their signature high quality, durable and beautifully designed clothing, accessories and bedding in the new short-term space, adjacent to Crate & Barrel. Not only will this serve as their temporary headquarters for the most chic and sensible children’s clothing, but they will offer an array of fun, interactive and affordable (some are free!) family events. Check their website for the full schedule.
When: Everyday in May
Hours: Mon.-Sat., 10 a.m.-9 p.m.; Sun., 11 a.m.-6 p.m.
Where: Monica + Andy at Oakbrook Mall, 62 Oakbrook Center, Oakbrook
Cost: Some events are free
photo: Adler Planetarium Astro Overnight
(3) Spend the night counting stars
Look to the sky and be mesmerized by the stars during Adler’s Astro-Overnight. Kiddos can explore hands-on activities, like a space-themed scavenger hunt, or do damage control on a planet covered in slime. There is also telescope observing and two sky shows to watch during the evening. Small snacks and a continental breakfast in the morning will be available to hungry star-gazers. Want to hang for the evening but snooze in your own bed? Sign up for the evening activities only and then head on home for your date with the Sandman.
When: May 6-7
Hours: Fri., 5:30 p.m.-Sat., 8 a.m.
Where: Adler Planetarium, 1300 S. Lake Shore Dr., Museum Campus
Cost: $60/non-members; $55/members
photo: Field Museum
(4) Have a sleepover with a T-Rex
The lights will dim as you explore the rituals of ancient Egyptian culture, guided by the light of your flashlight. Next, you prowl an African savannah with giraffes, hippos and man-eating lions. Take a break by playing games from around the world or looking at giant bugs from right in your backyard. Cap your night of exploration and adventure with cozy bedtime stories, before drifting off to dreamland in one of their amazing exhibits. Bring your family and friends for a night at the museum you’ll never forget!
When: May 6-7
Hours: Fri., 5:45 p.m.-Sat., 9 a.m.
Where: Field Museum, 1400 S. Lake Shore Dr., Museum Campus
photo: Pilcher Park Fairy Fest
(5) Step into fairy world at Fairy Fest
Fly away to Pilcher Park for a gathering of fairies young and old. Float along for fairy flower walks, create enchanted crafts (including a fairy wand), learn important fairy words and savor fairy food. It’s sure to be a day filled with magic. Don’t forget to wear your wings! For an additional fee, join the fairies for a breakfast of pancakes, sausage and a beverage.
When: May 7
Hours: 9 a.m.-2 p.m.
Where: Pilcher Park Nature Center, 2501 Highland Park Dr., Joliet
Cost: $10/festival; $15/breakfast + festival
(6) Celebrate Mom at Hilton Chicago/Oak Brook Hill’s Grand Ballroom
The Hilton Chicago/Oak Brook Hills Resort is showing its gratitude to Moms by hosting an extravagant community event in their honor. Hot off the coattails of a sold-out Easter Brunch, the award-winning catering team at Oak Brook Hills is proud to provide families with another opportunity to enjoy a memorable holiday meal together. Mothers will be feted at a jubilant brunch in the Grand Ballroom. This time, the newly renovated space is being transformed into an opulent homage to the Lady of the Day, with flowers draped from the ceiling, stunning ice carvings, local fashion and themed table displays setting the scene.
When: May 8
Hours: Seatings at 10:30 a.m. & 1 p.m.
Where: Hilton Chicago/Oak Brook Hills, 3500 Midwest Rd., Oak Brook
Cost: $44/adult; $18/ages 5-12; free for ages 4 & under
photo: Kohl Children’s Museum
(7) Welcome Toys: The Inside Story to Kohl Children’s Museum
Learn what makes toys tick at Kohl Children’s Museum’s newest exhibit, Toys: The Inside Story. This temporary exhibit lets visitors take a peek inside some of the most recognizable toys to examine the linkages, pulleys, cams and circuits that make them irresistibly fun.
When: Starting May 18
Hours: Mon., 9:30-noon; Tues.-Sat., 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sun., noon-5 p.m.
Where: Kohl Children’s Museum, 2100 Patriot Blvd., Glenview
Cost: $12; free for ages 11 months & under
photo: by John Taylor via flickr
(8) Send your kites soaring at Kids & Kites Festival
It’s that time again for a family favorite! Chicago’s 18th Annual Chicago Kids and Kites Festival! The City of Chicago will provide kite kits for children to build, decorate and fly (while supplies last). Other activities include face painting, balloon artists and crafts. But, the most popular highlight has to be the Big Kite Candy Drop, which is a piñata-like kite filled with candies that drop from the sky.
When: May 7
Hours: 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Where: Cricket Hill in Lincoln Park , Near intersection of Lake Shore Dr. & Montrose Ave., Lincoln Park
(9) Chicago Kids Day at Mayfest
This fest officially kicks off the summer outdoor festival season (yippee!). Saturday of the fest is a special day for littles as there are fun lessons about health, safety and wellness via arts & crafts, Kids Zumba and Kiddie Boot Camp. Have them taste test various healthy foods and be sure to grab a balloon and raffle prizes.
When: Chicago Kids Day; May 21. Festival runs May 20-22
Hours: 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
Where: 3100 N. Ashland Ave., Lakeview
Cost: $10; free for ages 12 & under
photo: Chicago’s Memorial Day Parade
(10) Chicago’s Memorial Day Parade and Wreath Laying
Share with your kids the importance of honoring and remembering the men and women who gave their lives while serving in the armed forces. Join friends and neighbors for the Wreath Laying Ceremony at 11 a.m. on Daley Plaza (Dearborn and Washington Streets). Then, head south to State Street for the parade.
When: May 28
Hours: Wreath laying, 11 a.m.; Parade, noon
Where: Daley Plaza, 50 W. Washington St., The Loop
What’s on your family agenda for May. We’d love to hear all about it in the Comments below!
— Maria Chambers