As though you need more to do this October! In between all the apple picking, corn mazing and harvest festing, we have 10 more must-dos to add to your list. See a circus in the park, take a seat at a children’s film fest, dive into a pizza pie . . . Wait, don’t go yet! There’s lots more where that came from. Check out our Editor’s picks for making the giggles last all month long.
photo: MB Financial Family Fall Fest
(1) Spend the Day at a Fest Fit for the Whole Family
MB Financial Park is back with their Fall Fest! Families can enjoy free horse-drawn hayrides, bouncy houses, balloon sculpting, face painting, magic acts and pumpkin painting. Live musical acts, including children’s entertainment group Istvan & His Imaginary Band, will take the stage for toe tappin’ fun!
When: Sat., Oct. 7
Hours: Fest, 1 p.m.-6 p.m.; horse-drawn carriage rides, 1 p.m.-4 p.m.; free kid activities, 1 p.m.-5 p.m.
Where: MB Financial Park, 5501 Park Pl., Rosemont
(2) Come One, Come All! To Midnight Circus in the Parks!
Chicago’s offbeat and totally entertaining circus takes its act on the road, 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. Note: There are other Midnight Circus in the Parks scheduled for October, but they are all sold out . . . so get your tickets!
When: Sat., Oct. 7 & Sun., Oct. 8
Hours: Sat. & Sun., 2 p.m. & 5 p.m.
Where: Oriole Park, 5420 N. Olcott Ave., Norwood Park
(3) Welcome a Lincoln Square Newcomer
Those who live near the Elgin and Crystal Lake locations can attest to the luck of the folks in Lincoln Square who have a new neighbor — Nick’s Pizza & Pub. They’re opening the giant wooden door of their first city location this month and if you know what’s good for your tummy, you’ll line up for a taste. Nick’s is popular not only because of the stellar pizza, but because it’s delicious food served in an environment that encourages kids to have fun. Be on the lookout for a scavenger hunt that will lead kids to explore touchable antiques around this cozy joint that will quickly become a family favorite.
When: Opening Oct. 17
Hours: Check website for updates
Where: Nick’s Pizza & Pub, 2434 W. Montrose Ave., Lincoln Square
Cost: Free entry, of course! You pay for the grub!
(4) Experience the Magic of Disney
Mesmerizing worlds of unforgettable Disney moments and grand illusions are revealed with Disney Live! Mickey and Minnie’s Doorway to Magic. Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse and the comical duo of Donald and Goofy invite you to join them and 25 of your favorite Disney characters as they surprise and captivate at every single turn of the knob. In this show, you hold the key to unlocking the endless possibilities of your imagination.
When: Fri., Oct. 20-Sun., Oct. 22
Hours: Fri., 7 p.m.; Sat. & Sun., 11 a.m., 2 p.m. & 5 p.m.
Where: Rosemont Theatre, 5400 N. River Rd., Rosemont
(5) Last Chance! 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. The Morton Arboretum’s newest temporary exhibit, Origami in the Garden, is inspired by the Japanese art of paper folding and reams of wholesome fun. Be on the lookout for daily origami activities in the Children’s Garden.
When: Thru Oct. 22
Hours: Daily, 9 a.m.-sunset
Where: Morton Arboretum, 4100 IL Rte. 53, Lisle
Cost: $14/adults ($9 on Wednesdays), $9/ages 2-17 ($6 on Wednesdays)
(6) Catch it Before it’s Gone! Model Railroad Garden: Landmarks of America
This is your very last chance to 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.
When: Daily thru Oct. 29
Hours: 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Where: Chicago Botanic Garden, 1000 Lake Cook Rd., Glencoe
Cost: $6/adults; $4/ages 3-12; free for 2 & under
(7) Go Wild for this Zoo Fall Fest
Usher in the harvest season with your animal friends at Lincoln Park Zoo’s Fall Fest, a family 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 throughout Farm-in-the-Zoo round out the fun.
When: Thru Oct. 29
Hours: Every Fri., Sat., & Sun., & Columbus Day; 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Where: Lincoln Park Zoo, 2001 N. Clark St., Lincoln Park
Cost: Free admission; $3/ride tickets
(8) Get the Kids in the Oktoberfest Fun at Hofbräuhaus Chicago
The sister location to the legendary original Hofbräuhaus in Munich is surprisingly family friendly on weekend afternoons. 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 parades and games, and you might even see an aplhorn, a long horn used by Swiss mountain dwellers. Come hungry for traditional german fare.
When: Thru Oct. 29
Hours: Sun.-Thurs., 11 a.m.-11 p.m.; Fri. & Sat., 11 a.m.-2 a.m.
Where: Hofbräuhaus Chicago, 5500 Park Pl. , Rosemont
(9) Head to the Wild West for a Fall Fest
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 an old Wild West show. The fall is especially fun with added bonuses like a spooky, yet not-so-scary, tunnel train ride, a pumpkin painting station, hot chocolate and kiddie karaoke.
When: Thru Oct. 29
Hours: Daily, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
Where: Donley’s Wild West, 8512 S. Union Rd., Union
(10) See Shows All Across Town
Calling all movie lovers, young and less young! The Chicago International Children’s Film Festival (CICFF), the largest annual film festival entirely for kids, is back for its 34th year with films the entire family will enjoy. Check out the website to find out how to enjoy these flicks that range from feature-length live action to child-produced, participate in one-of-a-kind workshops and meet filmmakers from across the globe. How lucky are we that CIFCC calls Chicago home?
When: Fri., Oct. 27-Sun., Nov. 5
Hours: Various showtimes, check schedules
Where: Theaters all across town!
Cost: $6/ages 2-18; $10/adults
What’s on your family agenda for October. We’d love to hear all about it in the Comments below!
— Maria Chambers