Forward, march! Watch a parade — or even join one — as you celebrate Memorial Day. The city’s official holiday parade and wreath-laying ceremony takes place downtown and, on the north side, the WOOGMS Parade is open for anybody and everybody to participate in. You can also make memories at the new Amphibians exhibit at Shedd Aquarium, Irish Fest in Oak Forest or butterfly show at Chicago Botanic Garden.



Everyone marches, nobody watches! That’s the motto of this quirky, super-fun neighborhood parade, created to preserve the meaning of Memorial and Labor Day. Join in — this is its 50th anniversary! Held Mon., 11 a.m., starting from Pine Grove & Wellington streets. Free. All ages. Event details.

Museum Campus

“Amphibians” at Shedd Aquarium
The new special exhibit showcases 40 different species of frogs, salamanders, and rarely seen caecilians. Learn more about their life cycles and their ability to adapt to their environments. Find out how changes in the world can spell trouble for amphibians — and how you can help them cope. Held all summer long. Extra museum ticket required. All ages. Event details.

Lincoln Park

Memorial Day Jump at Pump It Up
Bounce the sillies out on your day off school. In Arena A, kids can fly down the one-lane 20-foot slide, race through the obstacle course and play projection-based games with Motion Mania. Things get even more creative in Arena B with bouncy basketball and soccer, rock climbing and a two-lane 20-foot slide. Held Mon., 10 a.m.-noon & 12:15-2:15 p.m. $12/child. All ages. Event details.

The Loop

Memorial Day Parade & Wreath Laying Ceremony
Share with your kids the importance of honoring and remembering the men and women who gave their lives while serving in the armed forces. You’ll tap your feet to high school marching bands and drum and bugle corps, and wave to Brigadier General Alicia A. Tate-Nadeau, the First Female General in the Illinois Army National Guard. Sat., 11 a.m. Wreath Laying at Daley Plaza and parade on State Street. All ages. Event details.

Gold Coast

“Wonderland, Alice’s Rock & Roll Adventure”
Chicago Children’s Theatre’s latest is a rip-roaring rhythmic journey. Young Alice goes on a search for her musical voice and faces challenges and fears along the way. In learning to believe in the impossible, Alice learns to believe in herself. The story is brought to life by a cast of actors/musicians who create an eclectic rock soundtrack ranging from classic rock to punk to ska to Bollywood. Thru Sun. at Ruth Page Center for the Arts. $28/child; $38/adult. Ages 6 & up. Event details.


Butterflies & Blooms
Enter the serene tropical habitat made up of beautiful flowers and hundreds of butterflies fluttering about. Sit still and they may just land on you. Or try to catch them. Be gentle, though — they’re nature’s jewels. Held Sat.-Sept. 7 at Chicago Botanic Garden. $6/adults; $5/seniors; $4/children 3-12; Children 2 & under free. All ages. Event details.


Memorial Day Festivities at Santa’s Village
Go animal at this combo zoo/amusement park. Enjoy Zen time with the bright, colorful Japanese koi fish, and tortoises. Burst out in song with your best bird calls at Parakeet Paradise. Then see the Ringtailed Lemurs Jack and Jill, Pixie the Fennec Fox and Boo the Red Tail Boa. Go on the roller coaster, while you’re there! Held Mon., 11 a.m.-6 p.m. $22.75/person; children 2 & under free. All ages. Event details.

Oak Forest

Irish Fest
Take in a Gaelic football game or hurling match. Watch and learn steps to Irish ceili, set and step dancing. Enjoy free pony rides and unlimited carnival rides. See the magicians, puppets, jugglers and clowns; and listen to a story or a Celtic band. Held Fri.-Mon. at Chicago Gaelic Park. $10-$15/adults; $8-$12/children 4 & up; children 3 & under are free. All ages. Event details.

How are you celebrating Memorial Day? Tell us in the Comments!

— Kelly Aiglon & Marian Mangoubi

photo: WOOGMS Parade