Give your kiddo a squeeze — Valentine’s Day weekend is here and there’s a lot to love around town. An enchanted train chugs around Morton Arboretum, a dance party erupts in Skinner Park, jazz masters take the Symphony Center stage for a family show, and Elephant and Piggie stage a play. Scroll down for our weekend picks, and get out and explore while you binge on all those candy hearts!
Enchanted Railroad Miniature Train
Marvel as tiny trains toot-toot their way through a decorative display of all four seasons. This interactive railroad is specially designed for the kiddos because it is meant to be viewed from just two feet off the ground. Held thru Feb. 22 at Morton Arboretum. Free with general admission ($9/adult; $6/child; free for children under 2). All ages. Event details.
MCA Family Day
At this free event, you’ll make art as a family and get inspired by the current exhibit, BMO Harris Bank Chicago Works: Sarah and Joseph Belknap. Local artists take you on a creative journey with activities and projects that draw from the works on view in the galleries. Held Sat., 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Free. All ages. Event details.
Elephant and Piggie’s “We are in a Play”
If your pint-sized readers love Mo Willems’ beloved Elephant and Piggie series, this is the show for them. Join the cautious elephant, Gerald, and his playful Piggie pal on a music-filled journey to discover the true meaning of friendship. Held Sat.-May 30 at Apollo Theater. Tickets start at $15. Ages 3 & up. Event details.
Kidville’s Valentine’s Day Party
Have a sweet good time at this wingding, where your tykes will be bouncing off the walls in the Bouncing Gym. They can even give one of their fave characters a smooch and pose for a photo at the Kissing Booth. Finally, rock out with a live concert from the house band, Rockin’ Railroad. Held Sat., 10 a.m.-noon. $15 per child. All ages. Event details.
Tots Valentine’s Dance
Groove to music and dance the sillies out. Listen to funky tunes, play games, bounce around in the inflatables and munch on snacks throughout the evening. Held Fri., 5:30-7:30 p.m. at Skinner Park. Free. Ages 3-5. Event details.
Jazz for Young People with Wynton Marsalis
Help your youngsters appreciate swingin’ tunes with the legendary Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra. Their energetic journey through jazz, particularly the songs of Dave Brubeck, will inspire you all to groove along. Held Sat., 1 p.m. at Symphony Center. Tickets start at $25. Ages 5 & up. Event details.
Laura Doherty & the Heartbeats’ Family Valentine’s Show
Kick off the most lovable day of the year with pop-folk jams that will make you get up and dance. Expect tunes from Laura’s three kid-approved albums: “In a Heartbeat,” “Kids in the City” and “Shining Like a Star.” Held Sat., 11 a.m. at Schubas Tavern. $10/person; free for children under 1. All ages. Event details.
The Red Balloon Co. Opening Party
Hooray for another location of the funky-cool kids’ shop! It lands in Lakeview with a soft opening on Valentine’s Day. The little ones can get their faces painted with adorable hearts, listen to an engaging story at 2 p.m., munch on cookies, and create special valentines for their friends. Held Sat., 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Free. All ages. Event details.
“The Selfish Giant” on Stage
Get ready for a puppet show with imagination — and plenty of intrigue along the way. Here’s the jist: A grumpy giant forbids children from playing in his garden. After the children are locked out, the garden plunges into an eternal winter. Then one morning, the children sneak back into the garden, bringing the happy rebirth of spring. This is a production of Blair Thomas & Company and Chicago Children’s Theatre. Held thru Feb. 22 at Ruth Page Center for the Arts. $38/adults; $28/kids. All ages. Event details.
Polar Peak at FROZEMONT
MB Financial Park has turned into a wonderland of fun, complete with tubing, ice skating, brilliant lights and more. At the center of “FROZEMONT” is the four-story Polar Peak tubing hill — the grade is steep and the ride is thrilling. (There is a kiddie slope for those that don’t need as much adrenaline.) Held thru Mar. 1. $20/hour for tubing; ice skating is free and skate rentals are $8. All ages. Event details.
“Click Clack Moo” on Stage
Giggle as the farm goes tospy-turvy in this play based on the Doreen Cronin storybook. See what happens when Farmer Brown’s type-happy cows go an strike and their supportive chicken friends join them. Will the farm survive? Catch the show to find out. Held Sat., 10:30 a.m. & 1 p.m. at McAninch Arts Center at College of DuPage. Tickets are $16/adults; $14/children. Ages 4-10. Event details.
How are you celebrating Valentine’s Day? Tell us in the Comments!
— Kelly Aiglon & Natasha Davis
photo: Enchanted Railroad at Morton Arboretum