By Sara Lugardo
Chicago is renowned for its spectacular summer festivals and attractions like Taste of Chicago and Rib Fest but there are equally impressive activities for family getaways in the fall. Chicago weather has a definite contrast between the seasons and fall is a welcome segue from Chicago’s scorching summers into its freezing winters. Families have an abundance of options when it comes to cultural experiences in the diverse Chicago area. There are great family getaway options for those who enjoy indoor and outdoor fun.
Chicago Botanic Garden
1000 Lake Cook Road
Glencoe, IL 60022
Price: Free admission, parking fees apply for those not taking public transportation
Hours: Garden grounds – 8 a.m. to sunset
Click here for a calendar of events.
Wonderland Express will be running November 23, 2012 until January 6, 2013. Children ages two and under are admitted for free, children ages three to 12 are $8 and adults are $12, with a $2 increase for nonmembers. The exhibit is open from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. daily. Inside the Regenstein Center there is a miniature train display with 750,000 lights with a winding village displaying tiny replicas of Chicago landmarks. With decorated trees and even a gingerbread village display, this is a great exhibit to enjoy with the entire family.
Weekend Family Classes at the Chicago Botanic Garden is a great way to have some fun with the family. The classes allow families to learn and explore how nature plays a role in science, culture and history. There are hands-on activities, crafts to take home and even a home gardening project. Different programs run from November through April on Saturdays either from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. or 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. Fees are $22 for nonmembers per child and there is a long list of various classes to choose from.
Stargazing at Skinner Park
1331 W. Monroe St.
Chicago, IL 60606
Date and Hours: November 14 from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
People of all ages are encouraged to partake in this free Chicago Park District event. Families need only bring a blanket to reserve a spot in the park to enjoy a breathtaking view of the night sky. The event will educate attendees about planets, stars and the different phases of the moon. Children of all ages are welcome to attend this event but families are encouraged to wear weather-appropriate clothing.
Fall Adventure Days
1400 S. Linn White Drive
Chicago, IL 60605
Date and Hours: November 3 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Families are encouraged to experience and explore the outdoors during the fall season. Whether it’s simply playing in the mud or getting dirty in nature, this event is about being adventurous in the great outdoors. There are specific areas for building a hideout or creating outdoor art with arts and crafts. More adventurous families can opt to go fishing or kayaking at this free event.
Sleep Under the Skyscrapers: Indoor Overnight
Lincoln Park Zoo
2001 N. Clark St.
Chicago, IL 60614
Price: Evening encounter $42 or $35 for members, overnight $70 or $60 for members
Date and Hours: November 9 evening encounter 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. or overnight from 6 p.m. to 8:30 a.m.
Click here to register online.
Lincoln Park Zoo is opening its doors to an evening or overnight adventure for the whole family. Families are invited to explore the night behavior of the zoo’s wildlife with an included dinner hosted by the zoo. The Regenstein Small Mammal-Reptile House will be open for in-depth viewing, even offering chances to feel the scales of the blue-tongued skink. Zoo experts will tell firsthand stories, there will be a bedtime snack and movie before tucking in for the night. The event is intended for families with children between the ages of five and 12 and the overnight package includes dinner, snack and continental breakfast.