By Jacqueline Runice

Parents approach the end of summer with conflicted feelings of longing for the season to last forever and relief that it doesn’t. Like all good things, it must come to an end, however, you can put a multi-colored exclamation point at the end of summer by capping it with some memorable family activities right here in Chicago.

Adler Planetarium
1300 S. Lake Shore Drive
Chicago, IL 60605
(312) 922-7827

Date: Aug. 4, 2017 at 6:30 p.m.

America’s First Planetarium presents its popular Family After Dark event  just in time to get the whole crew starry-eyed about this summer’s rare solar eclipse.  On Friday, August 4, treat the fam to a unique after hours experience with a night at the museum that will showcase special eclipse-themed activities: talk to Adler scientists in the Space Visualization Lab about the celestial event and get free solar viewing glasses (so you don’t literally “put your eyes out”); enter solar themed races and a scavenger hunt; build a pinhole projector out of household materials to view the solar eclipse on August 21; visit the Doane Observatory, the largest public telescope in the area, to see the night sky like you never have before. Kids and adults and belly up to their own beverage bars and wander among all museum exhibitions, unlimited sky shows, and enjoy live entertainment! Purchase your tickets online to save your (sun) spot.

Brick by Brick
Museum of Science & Industry
5700 South Lake Shore Drive
Chicago, IL 60637
(773) 684-1414

Date: Daily through Sept. 4, 2017 at 9:30 a.m.

You have only until Sept. 4 to thrill builders of all ages at Brick By Brick, a spectacular  7,000-square-foot exhibit at the Museum of Science & Industry  that encourages creating  a LEGO® masterpiece in the open build area after viewing more than a dozen massive LEGO® versions of engineering wonders. See the Golden Gate Bridge, International Space Station, St. Louis Gateway Arch, Hoover Dam and the Roman Colosseum, among others, which will give you an idea of the complex science and engineering necessary to erect such structures. Then, build and test your own structures to see if they can withstand earthquakes at the tremor table and or monster winds in a wind tunnel.

Lake Michigan Cruises
Navy Pier
Wendella Dock
Chicago Riverwalk
Chicago, IL 60611

Date: Daily through November 2017 at 9 a.m.

So you don’t have your yacht parked in Monroe Harbor? You can still take in the beauty of Lake Michigan and the skyline before summer 2017 is a fond memory by booking one of the many tours available from Chicago’s First Lady Cruises, Shoreline Sightseeing, and Wendella Sightseeing Boats.  Among the Specialty Summer Cruises, on weekend mornings there’s a Capture Chicago Photography Cruise during which the boat pauses at several scenic points so everyone can capture their own view. Shoreline and Wendella offer lake fireworks cruises and families with teenagers might prefer to undertake a kayak tour. Don’t forget to explore  the extended Chicago Riverwalk, too, for a cheery lunch or dinner on the water’s edge.

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Hotel Stays
Radisson Blu Aqua
221 N. Columbus Drive
(312) 565-5258

Camping and chain hotels with murky pools are fine but with a world class city in your backyard, why not treat the family to an exquisite overnight or weekend in one of our impressive hotels? She’s growing up fast so capture a bit of childhood with the American Girl Place Experience Package at the Intercontinental Chicago Magnificent Mile. The package includes great girl swag like a tiara and turn down service with cupcakes and milk and the historic pool will put all other hotel pools to shame. Any kid will go for the Kids Kamping package at the ultra sleek Radisson Blu Aqua. Junior gets his own tent (to play in and take home) with a toy and coloring supplies, plus there’s  s’mores and breakfast for the family.

2017 Wizard World Comic Con Chicago
Donald E. Stephens Convention Center
5555 N. River Road
Rosemont, IL 60018
(310) 648-8410

Date: Aug. 24-27, 2017 at 10 a.m.

It’s an event that movie fans, sci-fi geeks, music freaks and pop culture followers all in the same family can enjoy together. North America’s largest pop-culture touring expo brings photo opportunities and autograph sessions with stars of Dr. Who; The Avengers; Captain America; Iron Man; Psych; Netflix hit, Stranger Things; The Lord of the Rings; Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.; Buffy the Vampire Slayer; The Incredible Hulk; and even the original Rocky Horror Picture Show. Start planning your get up for The Wizard World Comic Con Costume Contest (and an ancillary Kids’ Costume Contest; meet top voice actors from your favorite animated shows; get lost in anime and video gaming; and enjoy live entertainment all weekend long on the kid’s stage.

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