Summer Family Movie Guide – 2014

A version of this post previously appeared on Mommy Nearest, where I am an Expert Mom. After being cooped up inside all winter, it’s hard to imagine wanting to spend a minute of summer indoors. But when the temperature and humidity rise, you and the kids will be thrilled to spend a couple of hours […]

Free Summer Reading Programs – 2014

A version of this post previously appeared on Mommy Nearest. After a long and cold winter, we’re all looking forward for summer to begin and for our kids to get the chance to swim, run and play outside. While these physical activities are a big part of the warm weather season, it’s also important to […]

Chicago Area Berry Picking Guide – 2014

A version of this post previously appeared on Mommy Nearest. With summer comes berry season. Strawberries are up first and there are several places around Chicago where you can pick them yourself. Please remember that ripeness dates are not exact and it’s always a good idea to call first to verify the fruit you’d like […]

Free YouthSpark Summer Camps at Microsoft Retail Stores

Microsoft retail stores are offering free YouthSpark Summer Camps for children between 8 and 13. Although the classes are free, pre-registration is required. An adult must stay in the store with the child during the entire session. Camps are split into two groups – Jr. Designers (ages 8-10) and Designers (ages 11-13). Four types of camps are available […]

Cantigny Park Free Summer Drop-In Program

Cantigny Park in Wheaton is a great place to spend a summer day – lots of room to walk and play, a playground, restaurant, picnic areas, a museum, tanks to climb on, a fountain, and lots more. See my full post on Cantigny Park. This summer Cantigny is offering free drop-in programs for kids. No […]

Why You Should Visit Santa’s Village AZoosment Park This Season

This post originally appeared on MommyNearest. If you grew up in the Chicago area, there’s a good chance you remember visiting Santa’s Village as a kid. Sliding down Santa’s Tree House Slide, taking a spin on the Candy Cane Sleigh Ride, and, of course, touching the frozen North Pole (yep, it’s really frozen, even on […]

Baseball Clubs for Kids 2014

  Take me out to the ball game… It’s about time for America’s favorite past time. Add to the excitement for your kids by signing them up for a kids club with their favorite baseball team. Lots of these clubs are free to join and you get free tickets to games! A version of this […]

Chicago Area Easter Egg Hunts – 2014

Easter is approaching so hopefully the weather will start to cooperate in time for Easter egg hunts in the Chicago area. Many of the hunts and events listed below require pre-registration so be sure to plan ahead. It’s always a good idea to bring a bag or basket to collect eggs and a camera to […]

Schoolhouse Rock Live at the Marriott Theatre

Marriott Theatre Website Location: Marriott Theatre, 10 Marriott Drive, Lincolnshire Phone: 847-634-0200 Dates: February 28-May 4, 2014 See the full schedule on the Marriott Theatre website. Performances are Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, & Sundays (except March 20-30 and April 20). All performances are at 10:00 am. Admission: $15 a ticket. Tickets can be purchased at the box office, or online through Ticketmaster for an […]

Chicago Area Christmas Tree Guide 2013

All of the farms listed below offer pick-your-own trees. As always, it’s best to call ahead to ensure the farm will be open and trees are available. Please note that many farms accept only cash or checks. Bengston Tree Farm, 10919 W. Wilmington, Peotone, 708-258-9610 Opens November 29. Open daily from 9:00 am-4:30 pm. Hot chocolate, […]

Special Needs Santa Visits and Events Guide – 2013

I posted a guide last week of places you can visit Santa. Visiting Santa at a crowded mall can be overwhelming for any child (or even adults), and especially challenging for children with special needs. These events are designed with children with special needs and their families in mind. Events vary, but they attempt to […]

Chicago Area Santa Guide 2013

Thanksgiving is late this year so get an early start on your visit with Santa!  Unless otherwise indicated, visiting with Santa is free. Most locations offer photography packages and do not allow you to take photos with your own camera. Please keep in mind that Santa takes breaks; where the information was available I included […]

Illumination: Tree Lights at The Morton Arboretum – Giveaway

See trees in a different light this winter during Illumination: Tree Lights at The Morton Arboretum. Combining cutting-edge light technology with the beautiful, wooded landscapes of the Arboretum, Illumination is not your typical lights event. An experience far beyond traditional twinkling lights, Illumination engages the senses with trees that respond to touch and sound, dazzling […]

Chicago Area Pumpkin Patch Guide 2013

Pumpkin time! Below are pumpkin patches in the Chicago area. Admission prices do NOT include the cost of pumpkins. I’ve done my best to include current, accurate information, but it’s always a good idea to double check the website or call before you go. Abbey Farms of Marmion Abbey, 850 Butterfield Road, Aurora, 630-966-7775 Open weekends […]

Harvest Fest at Santa’s Village AZoosment Park 2013

It’s the season for fall festivals and Santa’s Village AZoosment Park’s Harvest Fest opened today! Below is information about Harvest Fest. For more details see my full post about Santa’s Village AZoosment Park. Dates: Weekends and Columbus Day, September 28 through October 27, 2013 Hours: 11:00 am-6:00 pm most days. Open 10:00 am-2:00 pm Thursday […]

All Seasons Apple Orchard

  Website: All Seasons Apple Orchard, Pumpkin Patch, & Corn Maze Location: 14510 IL Route 76, Woodstock Phone: 815-338-5637 Hours: 10:00 am-5:00 pm weekdays, 10:00 am-6:00 pm weekends and holidays Admission:  Apple picking – 1/2 peck (no Honeycrisp or Asian Pear) – $10.50 ($9.69 if purchased online) Barnyard activities/pumpkin patch – $10.50 weekends & holidays […]

Chicago Area Apple Orchard Guide 2013

 Looking for the 2014 guide? Click here!   Apple picking is a tradition for my family. We’ve gone every year since Cooper was born. I love picking apples, spending the day outside with my family, and watching the kids enjoy all the activities the apple orchards offer. Last year was a rough year for apples; […]

Cissna Park’s Old Settlers

This one’s a bit of the beaten path but if you’re thinking to yourself, Hmm… I’d like to take a bit of a road trip for some small town family fun, then this is it! Other things of interest on your way or in the area: The Heartland Spa in Gilman, Exploration Station Children’s Museum in Bourbonnais, […]

Summer Bucket List {with Free Printable!}

It’s officially August now and that’s about the time each summer that I start to panic. It’s all ending so soon! Have we done enough? There’s a little extra pressure this year because Cooper, my baby (yes, he’s my oldest, but still my baby of course), is starting kindergarten. This is pretty much how summer […]

Chicago Bears Training Camp Starts This Week

Today is the first day of Bears training camp at Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais. Training camp runs through Wednesday, August 14, and is open to the public most days. Concessions are available for purchase. Below is a schedule for 2013 training camp. For more details, visit the Chicago Bears website.  Where: Olivet Nazarene University […]

Donley’s Wild West Town

Website: Donley’s Wild West Town Location: 8512 South Union Road, Union Phone: 815-923-9000 Hours: Open daily 10:00 am-6:00 pm Admission: $16 per person, children 2 & under free. Print out coupons on their site for $1 off admission (good for up to 6 admissions) and free grandparent admission (good on Mondays & Tuesdays only). Each child […]

Cirque Shanghai: Dragon’s Thunder

Website: Cirque Shanghai: Dragon’s Thunder Location: Pepsi Skyline Stage at Navy Pier, 600 E. Grand Ave, Chicago Phone: 800-745-3000 (to purchase tickets) Hours: The show runs May 22 – September 2. Sunday 2:00pm, 4:00pm Wednesday 2:00pm, 6:00pm, 8:00pm Thursday 2:00pm, 8:00pm Friday 2:00pm, 7:00pm, 9:00pm Saturday 2:00pm, 6:00pm, 8:00pm Additional shows: Tuesday, July 4 at 2 pm, 6 pm […]

Free Summer Fun – 2013

School is out and it’s up to you to keep the kids entertained. It can be expensive going on family outings, but there are plenty of ways to have fun for free this summer. Have any other suggestions? I’m happy to add them to the list! Baseball Games See the full post of Baseball Clubs […]

Shoreline Sightseeing {and Giveaway}

Website: ShorelineSightseeing.com Locations: Tours depart from Navy Pier and Michigan Avenue. Water Taxis stop at Union Station/Willis (Sears) Tower, N. Michigan Avenue, Navy Pier, and Shedd Aquarium/Museum Campus. Commuter Water Taxis stop at Union Station/Willis (Sears) Tower, Michigan Avenue, and Erie Park. Phone: 312-222-9328 Departures: Departure times vary, but most tours begin around 10 am and […]

Summer Book Clubs – 2013

  I love curling up in a shady spot on a hot day and reading a book. With three kids that really doesn’t happen much anymore, but I’m hoping to pass it on to them. Encourage your kids to read by enrolling them in a free book club this summer. I have only listed a […]

Summer Movie Guide for Families & Kids – 2013

I love to spend as much time as possible out in the fresh air and sunshine, but on those days when it’s TOO hot or rainy, it’s nice to have inexpensive or free indoor options. Many theatres offer special movie programs for families during the summer. As always, visit the site or call first to […]

Baseball Clubs for Kids 2013

Baseball season is approaching! I have to admit that I’m not a huge sports fan, but I love hanging out at a baseball game enjoying the fresh air, eating hot dogs and popcorn, and cheering for the home team. Baseball teams try to make games family friendly too, and lots of them offer special clubs for […]

Donley’s Wild West Town Opens for the Season on May 18

Is finally getting warmer! The approach of summer means lots of fun outdoor activities and exciting things to do. Donley’s Wild West Town is one of the things on our list of things to do this season. Donley’s Wild West Town, located in Union, has announced that their 2013 summer season will begin on May […]

Chicago Area Kid-Friendly Valentine’s Events 2013

Valentine’s Day (or Valentine’s season maybe?) is a great time to spend time with your loved ones, including your kids, and showing them how special they are to you. There are fun events and parties starting this weekend to celebrate the holiday. Please call or visit online prior to attending to verify information and keep […]

Family Fun With The Rockford IceHogs

Rockford IceHogs Hockey Games are not all about hockey, but instead about a great family experience! Check out Top Shot, an interactive hockey inspired shooting game located on the main concourse, and test your hockey skills, join the IceHogs Runts Club and take your little one down to the tunnel to high-five all the players […]

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