Skokie Culture Fes

(credit: Skokie Culture Fest)

With temperatures swinging wildly from 40 to 90 over the past week, it’s been challenging to plan for family activities – not to mention what to wear! Now that this weekend may finally start to feel like (summer) spring, we’ve rounded up some great weekend activities including some summer-welcoming outdoor festivals. And if your household includes a turtle lover, lamb hugger, hopeful samurai, or anyone who just likes to have fun – then we’ve definitely got you covered.


Bonner Heritage Farm Spring Fling 2008

(credit: Chip Wilson)

Bonner Farm Spring Fling

Bonner Heritage Farm
Sunday, May 22nd
12p.m. – 4p.m.
2000 N. Milwaukee Avenue, Libertyville, Il.
All Ages: $3

If your kids think milk originates from plastic gallon jugs, you need to get them to a real farm! Bring your family for a fun spring fling, and enjoy wagon rides, a petting zoo, face painting, old fashioned farm games, milking demonstrations, hands-on exhibits and more. Entertainment includes folk singer Jim Kanas and crafts for the kids. All ages. $3 per person.

Enjoy Pioneer Farm

(credit: Enjoy Pioneer Farm)

Hold a Baby Lamb

Enjoy Pioneer Farm
Saturday, May 21st
9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
17N400 Big Timber Road, Hampshire, Il.
All Ages: $5; Family: $11

There’s only one word to describe this event: awwwww! Hold an adorable baby lamb, and get up close and personal with hatching chicks, goats, rabbits, piglets and a llama. The baby lambs are available for cuddles on Fridays and Saturdays through the end of May. Before you leave, pick up some farm fresh eggs, produce from the farmstand, or perennials for your garden. The hardest part of the visit may be leaving without taking home one of those adorable lambs. Admission is $5 per person, or $11 per family.

Peggy Notebaert/Nature Museum)

(credit: Peggy Notebaert/Nature Museum)

World Turtle Day Celebration

Notebaert Nature Museum
Sunday, May 22nd
11 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
2430 N. Cannon Drive/Chicago
Adults: $9; Ages 3-12: $6; Seniors/Students: $7

Finally, a reason for turtles to feel special – they have their own day! Celebrate World Turtle Day with crafts and games and a unique opportunity to take a closer look at 14 different species of turtles. For an additional $7 fee, have Tea with the Turtles at 2:30 (advance registration required) and enjoy snacks, view a short film, and test out the radio transmitters used to track turtles. All ages. General admission applies: $9 adult, $6 ages 3-12, $7 seniors and students.

Family Adventure Day)

(credit: Family Adventure Day)

Family Adventure Day

Northerly Island
Saturday, May 21st
10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Chicago Park District
Free Admission

Get down and dirty with nature play (and make sure you’ve got your Tide stick ready!) Play in the mud, build a hideout, catch fish and create outdoor art. Part of the Chicago Park District’s “Nature Oasis” program, which works to increase environmental awareness with nature-based programming throughout the seasons. All ages. Free.

Skokie Culture Fes

(credit: Skokie Culture Fest)

Skokie Festival of Cultures

Oakton Park, Skokie
Saturday, May 21st & Sunday, May 22nd
11 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Oakton Park/4701 W. Oakton St.,Skokie, Il.
Free Admission

No time or budget for a “real” vacation? Take a “Tour of the World” with a weekend of ethnic folk music, dance and food. It’s one of the few places you get to see the entire world with the kids and can return home just as they get really tired. Peruse cultural booths and displays, find unique arts and crafts, play international children’s games, and shop in an international bazaar. For all ages. Free.

Chicago Botanic Garden

(credit: Chicago Botanic Garden/Robin J. Carlson)

Malott Japanese Garden Children’s Festival

Chicago Botanic Garden
Saturday, May 21st & Sunday, May 22nd
10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
1000 Lake Cook Road, Glencoe, Il.
Free Admission

Ears aching from listening to your little one’s cello practice? I know mine are. Take in the soothing sounds of shakuhachi flute music at this festival honoring children’s celebrations in Japan. You can also enjoy traditional folktales, observe a karate demonstration, and watch a tea ceremony. Special activities and crafts include making kimono paper dolls, mini carp kites, samurai helmets and more. For ages 2 and up. Admission is free, parking is $20 per car.

Andrea Dudikova

(credit: Andrea Dudikova)

Chicago KIDS Day

Lakeview, at Ashland and Barry
Saturday, May 21st
10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
3130 N. Ashland Ave., Chicago
Suggested $10 Donation

The temperatures are predicted to rise this weekend, just in time to ring in the summer festival season with Chicago KIDS Day. Part of Lakeview’s Mayfest, this event is a celebration of children’s health and wellness, and families can get educated on health, nutrition and safety while enjoying fun activities, arts & crafts, balloons and raffles. Suggested $10 donation.


Mr. Singer

(credit: Kerry Firstenleit)

Concerts for Kids! Mr. Singer & the Sharp Cookies

Beat Kitchen
Sunday, May 22nd
2100 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago
All Ages: $7

Longing for the days when you spent time in bars listening to live music? This concert’s for you! And as a bonus, you can bring the kids. Both you and your little ones can dance up a storm at this concert, and so can mom and dad! Mr. Singer gets the whole family singing and dancing, with a collection of favorite tunes in a variety of genres. Recommended for ages 1-7. $7 per person.

Cine Kids – Le Papillon

Alliance Française de Chicago
Saturday, 2 p.m. – 4 p.m.
1658 Milwaukee Avenue, Chicago
Free Admission

Parlez-Vous Français? Huh? You might not know French, but your kids can learn! Find out what happens when a retired clockmaker named Julien sets off for a remote French region in search of a rare butterfly – and finds that his neighbor’s daughter has stowed away in his car. Children will enjoy this French movie with English subtitles, and parents are welcome to join the fun. A snack is included with the program. Recommended for ages 6-10. Admission is free.

Dot and Ziggy

(credit: Margaret Strickland)

Dot & Ziggy

Chicago Childrens Theatre at Victory Gardens Biograph Theater,
Saturday, May 21st & Sunday, May 22nd
10 a.m. and noon
1464 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago
Weekend Shows: $18; Weekday Shows: $16

Finally – children’s theater for… children! I promise the kids will not fall asleep during this performance. Chicago Children’s Theater presents the first local theater production for tiny tots. In this “mommy and me” style show, little ones will meet Dot and Ziggy, a ladybug and skunk who don’t have much in common. Audience members will go on a journey that explores color, size and distance and promotes fun and participation. For ages 0-4. Tickets are $18 for weekend shows, and $16 during the week.

Sue Zeiler is the founder of, which launched in 2001 and is the Chicago area’s leading online resource for local parents. Her mission is to find the best family events, activities and destinations for Chicago area families.

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