It’s going to be a ship-shape weekend. The Chicago Maritime Festival is drifting into town, and there are plenty of other activities for you and your little matey. Dance at the Baby Prom, race toy cars at Chicago Children’s Museum, have a wintry good time on Northerly Island and more.


Lincoln Park

Chicago Maritime Festival
Drop anchor at the Chicago History Museum for this international gathering celebrating Chicago’s maritime community and heritage. Kids will have a blast doing model boat building, belting out songs for young sailors, and learning how to be an underwater detective. Held Sat., 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m., with an evening concert. $14/person; children under 12 free for daytime activities. All ages. Event details.

The Baby Prom
Give your kids a taste of the good old days. Dress up your little one for an evening of dancing and fun. The night includes a DJ, balloon arch photos, open play, pizza and punch, and more. If you want to do the sprinkler or the worm on the dance floor, don’t hold back. Held Fri., 5-7 p.m. Little Beans Cafe. $25 for one child, $35 for two children, $45 for three children. All ages. Event details.

Stiles & Drewe’s “The 3 Little Pigs”
Huff, puff and blow all you want: There’s no bringing down the excitement over this new Emerald City Theatre show. This is the American premiere of the new musical by Olivier Award-winning George Stiles and Anthony Drewe, and it includes Broadway-style songs written for an old story time favorite. Held thru May 17. Apollo Theater. $10-$16. Ages 3-10. Event details.

Navy Pier

Zoom Room
Check out the twisting racecourse that fills an entire room with hundreds of toy cars that race on crazy tracks. Try your own hand at racing on the adjoining tracks, sending cars hurtling through curves, loops, spirals and drops, and even getting in a pile-up on a multi-level “crash course.” Held thru Feb. 28. Chicago Children’s Museum. Included in general museum admission of $14/person. All ages. Event details.

Museum Campus

Polar Adventure Day
Frosty fun is at an all-time high on Northerly Island, where you’ll come face-to-face with live animals, engage in winter activities and create nature-inspired crafts. Be sure to do the arts and crafts project with the National Mexican Museum of Art, explore the toddler zone featuring faux ice fishing, and take advantage of the free snowshoe rental (if there’s enough snow). Held Sat., noon-4 p.m. Free. All ages. Event details.


An Arty Kids’ Night Out
Instead of sticking Junior with a sitter, drop him or her off for an evening of fun at The Paintbrush art studio. In addition to art projects, there will be pizza, play time, a movie and LEGO building. Held Fri., 5:45-8:30 p.m. The Paintbrush. $35/child (additional siblings are $20 each). Ages 4-12. Event details.


Japan and Nature: Spirits of the Season
Travel to the Far East via this exhibit. It’s divided into the four seasons, each representing a different Japanese region and aspect of life in that country. Expect authentic props and plenty of hands-on activities. Thru July 14. Kohl Children’s Museum. Included in the museum general admission ($9.50 adults and children; free for children under 1). Ages 0-8. Event details.

Which of these events are you excited to head to? Let us know in the Comments section below.

— Kelly Aiglon

Photo: Dan Kasberger/Chicago Maritime Festival