You should be proud—you braved another Chicago winter. And, it was a brutal one. Your reward is the flurry of new activities the change of seasons brings. Nature walks, outdoor art displays, new museum exhibits. Put on your shades and your favorite tee (but layer it with a fleece. . . this is the windiest of cities, after all) and get out there. Here are just a few ways to say “well, hello there!” to spring.

photo: Art on theMART

Astrographics at Art on theMart

Beginning Apr. 1, Art on theMART is presenting Astrographics in collaboration with Adler Planetarium. The outdoor show on the facade of Merchandise Mart will explore ways in which humans conceptualize their universe and how that has changed over time. It will consist of four movements (Earth, Other Worlds, Stars and Beyond) which will transport the viewer from Earth to other planets and stars, then out to deeper and more speculative realms. 

photo: Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum

Spring Nature Walk at Peggy Notebaert

Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum is definitely a favorite museum among Chicagoans, but they've been closed for an extended period due to COVID. If you're missing them, register your family for a guided nature walk through the museum's outdoor exhibits. You'll learn about the plants and animals that call the museum's grounds home. From grasses to trees to bugs and birds, you never know what you'll see! Nature walks scheduled for Mar. 30, Apr. 1 & Apr. 3.

Fanciful Fish in Greektown

Greektown Chicago invites Chicagoans to take a stroll down Halsted St. to view Fanciful Fish, an outdoor sculpture exhibit with 21 artworks. The exhibit was created by a diverse group of Chicago artists and celebrates Greek culture, from mythological gods and seaside vistas to the Greek language. 

photo: Immersive Van Gogh

Immersive Van Gogh at Lighthouse ArtSpace Chicago

Chicago's must-see art exhibition this season is Immersive Van Gogh. The experience invites audiences to step inside the iconic works of the post-Impressionist artist Vincent Van Gogh, evoking his highly emotional and chaotic inner consciousness through art, light, music, movement and imagination. 

photo: WNDR Museum

Interactive Fun at WNDR Museum

The ever-evolving, immersive art and technology experience, WNDR Museum, has reopened with new interactive art, touchless experiences and enhanced safety measures. Prioritizing joy, curiosity and creativity, the reimaged experience features one-of-a-kind installations from artists, collectives and studios locally and globally. 

photo: Shedd Aquarium

Virtual Sleepover with Shedd Aquarium

Shedd's virtual sleepover introduces kids to the aquarium's impressive world of aquatic animals, with a special emphasis on tropical adaptations. The whole family will experience up-close animal encounters, play games, participate in activities and watch a live feeding in the Caribbean Reef over breakfast. Sleepovers are available Mar. 19, Apr. 9 & May 8.

photo: Museum of Science & Industry

Marvel Super Heroes Exhibit at MSI

The Museum of Science & Industry's Marvel: Universe of Super Heroes celebrates Marvel history with more than 300 artifacts, including original comic book pages, sculptures, interactive displays and costumes and props from Marvel's blockbuster films. Visitors to the Museum can learn about the origin of iconic characters such as Spider-Man, Black Panther, Hulk and Captain Marvel and see how they have evolved alongside society over the past 80 years. 

Visit a Reopened Great America

Six Flags is the Midwest's largest theme park featuring over 45 thrilling rides, shows and attractions. When the park reopens on Apr. 24 with COVID safety protocols in place, your family can feel the thrill of pulse-pounding coasters or have a chill day on gentle rides geared toward the tots. 

photo: iStock

Tee Up at Mini-Golf

Hit a hole-in-one by going clubbin' with the family at Topgolf Naperville and Wood Dale. Kill two birds with one—improve your golf game while also showing your kids just how amazing you are with a club in hand. If you prefer your game miniaturized, check out one of these mini courses for kitschy fun.

photo: iStock

Take a Hike

You could hang in the urban jungle all year round and never run out of things to do, but how about adding fresh air, unforgettable scenery and facetime with critters in their natural habitat to the mix? Lace up your boots and hit these favorite hiking spots no matter the temps. Tip: Spring is the absolute best time to visit Starved Rock to see their waterfalls in action.

Dinos Everywhere & Virtual 5K with Brookfield Zoo

Nearly 45 animatronic dinosaurs that are BIGGER and BADDER than any dinos you've ever met are visiting Brookfield Zoo. Dinos Everywhere features acres of earth-shakers, including the largest—argentinosaurus—that was estimated to measure more than 100 feet in length and weigh up to 110 tons. 

Brookfield Zoo is hosting their first-ever Virtual 5K Spring Run/Walk. Get outside and enjoy the warm weather and glorious colors of spring. You choose the time and place—take a hike in a forest preserve, jog along a waterfront trail or stroll through a neighborhood. Each runner will receive a numbered bib and commemorative swag with registration.

Jo Jo Shake Bar's Candyland

Jo Jo's Shake Bar is even sweeter than normal with the launch of Jo Jo's Candyland. In this immersive dining experience, you'll experience over-the-top shakes, biggie hot chocolates, signature cocktails and delicious diner fare. 

 

— Maria Chambers

Featured photo courtesy of Maria Chambers

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