Swedish American Museum

Swedish American Museum (credit: Heather Earnhart)

The Swedish American Museum
Brunk Children’s Museum of Immigration
5211 N. Clark Street
Chicago, IL
Hours: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. weekdays/ 11 a.m.-4 p.m. weekends
Children’s Museum:
Monday-Thursday: 1 p.m.- 4 p.m.
Friday: 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Saturday & Sunday: 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Adults: $4
Children over 1/Students/Seniors: $3
$10 family rate
Free admission the second Tuesday of every month
Brunk Children’s Museum is included with general museum admission

Midsommar in Sweden (credit: Bonnie Kenaz-Mara)

This time last year, our family was on a three-generation vacation in Sweden for midsummer. We learned traditional folk dances around the maypole and enjoyed the midnight sun in the land of Stieg Larsson and The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. You don’t need to venture nearly so far north to give your family a Scandinavian adventure. The Swedish American Museum in Chicago’s charming Andersonville enclave is a great place to start.

The Brunk Children’s Museum is a hands on play place that transports families back to a turn of the century Swedish village, complete with dress up clothes, a wooden cow to milk, magnetic fish to catch, kid sized houses, and a vegetable garden. For the seafaring adventurers, there’s a ship to the new world and a Viking long boat to play on.

The museum hosts character breakfasts with Astrid Lindgren’s pigtailed powerhouse, Pippi Longstocking, Frey the Viking, and Tomten, the Swedish Santa at Christmas. They whip up delicious crepe-like Swedish pancakes with lingonberries and sausages for all their breakfasts. The tasty food alone is worth the trek to Andersonville.

Don’t forget to swing by the gift shop to pick up some of the best milk chocolate in the world. Marabou Swedish Chocolate, in the bright yellow wrapper that matches the Swedish flag, will spoil your appetite for the waxy bars that pass for chocolate in the states. They’ve also got a great selection of children’s books, including Nordic myths, magical stories about trolls, and all the great girl power Pippi books. You can even pick up an ancient rune necklace, the Viking symbols that became our modern alphabet.

Swedish Museum-Pancakes

Pancakes with Pippi (credit: Bonnie Kenaz-Mara)

Family Night at the Museum

Friday, July 8th
4 p.m.-7 p.m.
Free Admission, snacks included

Drop by for a fun evening of games and crafts surrounding SAMAC’s newest exhibit, A Gift Of Hope.

This poignant exhibit is a combination of art, history and theater, that tells the story of Swedish humanitarian, Raoul Wallenberg, a man who saved tens of thousands of Jews from Hitler’s death camps in Hungary during the Second World War.

Fishing at Brunk Children's Museum (credit: Bonnie Kenaz-Mara)

Pioneer the World! Day Camp

Ages 7-10
August 8th-17th
Hours: 9 a.m.- 2 p.m.
$175 members/$225 non-members
Applications accepted for session 2 only through 4 p.m. July 8th

SAMAC runs one of the best week long camps in town, for one week in July and August. During camp, kids board a cardboard airplane and jet off to a different country every day, to learn about local culture, customs, kids’ games, songs, dances and food. Families come early on the final day, for an art show, game demonstration, performance and multicultural feast.

Millennium Park Family Fun Event

August 1st-7th
10 a.m.- 3 p.m. daily
201 E. Randolph Street, Chicago, IL

Free Admission


Come out and celebrate Swedish traditions throughout the week, including music, crafts, games and family fun.

Check out the SAMAC web site often, for special events and ongoing family activities, like the Hejsan after school program that runs monthly from September through June.

Bonnie Kenaz-Mara explores adventures in urban-odd ball-off the wall-alternative-eco-punk parenting in Chi, IL. at ChiILMama.com.