Yay! You made it through January in Chicago. You deserve a pat on the back — or at least a fun day out with the family. We’ve got some ideas, from an alluring puppet show at Chicago Children’s Theatre to a yap-happy dog show at McCormick Place to ice skating in Oak Park. So shake off that chill and get out there. February is short, you know.
“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 trees and flowers refuse to grow and the garden plunges into an eternal winter. Then one morning, the children sneak back into the garden, bringing with them 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.
International Kennel Club of Chicago Dog Show
Thinking about welcoming a dog into your family? You’ll see dozens of different breeds — and they’re looking their immaculately groomed best. In addition to judged shows at which 150 breeds are paraded out to the delight of the crowd, there are demonstrations that will teach you a thing or two about training a pup. Held Sat. & Sun., 8 a.m.-4 p.m. at McCormick Place. Adults starting at $12; free for children 12 & under. All ages. Event details.
Disney on Ice presents “Frozen”
This famous tale of sisterly love and magic comes alive on the ice. Take the journey with Elsa, Anna, Sven, Olaf and the rest of the gang. Make sure to warm up those pipes because there will be sing-a-longs to faves like “Let it Go” and “Do You Want to Build a Snowman?” Held Wed.-Feb. 8 at United Center. TIckets starting at $25. All ages. Event details.
“Jack and the Beanstalk”
This wacky show will make everyone smile. Watch Jack and Carmelita, the “cow señorita,” a quest to save their town from an unhappy Giant. Your little ones will also get to meet a talented singing Harp, a rare Golden Goose and an energetic Bean Salesman along the way. Held Thurs.-Apr. 10 at Beverly Arts Center. $12/person. Ages 2-12. Event details.
“The Adventures of Tapman”
You can expect plenty of tap dancing from this unique superhero and his tap-happy foes. This isn’t just a show made for kids, they’ll also be on stage in the MADD Rhythms Jr. Squad. Take your fam back to the classics with vintage comic book humor combined with modern special effects. Held Thurs., Fri. & Sat., 7:30 p.m.; Sat. & Sun., 2 p.m. at Athenaeum Theatre. $27/adults; $17/children 10 & under. Event details.
“Move It!” Exhibit at Chicago Children’s Museum
Wee movers and shakers can get a kiddie-sized workout. Your little balls of energy can build their own play space where they can climb, crawl, jump, balance and bend. They can even try their skills on the net climber. Held thru Apr. 19. Included in museum general admission of $14/person. Ages 1-10. 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.
Enchanted Railroad Mini Train Exhibit
Watch trains travel through all four seasons; there are bright orange pumpkins in the fall display, and fluffy little daffodils as the trains sweep through spring. This interactive display is specially designed for young ones because it’s 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.
It’s pretty nippy outside but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy some snow-covered fun at this family happening. Grab your gloves and skates for an afternoon of ice skating, as long as the weather behaves. There will also be snacks. Held Sat., 11 a.m.-2 p.m. at Austin Gardens. Free. All ages. Event details.
Groundhog Day at Big Run Wolf Ranch
Find out if we get to ensure a longer polar vortex at a family day open house. Of course the gang can hangout with Hal, the trusty groundhog, but there will be plenty of other animals roaming on the ranch. Check out the wolves, cougars, bears and you’ll even get to see a dogsledding demonstration. Held Sat., 10 a.m.-4 p.m. $5/person. All ages. Event details.
What are you up to this weekend? Tell us in the Comments!
— Kelly Aiglon & Natasha Davis
photo: Joe Mazza for Chicago Children’s Theatre / The Selfish Giant