Brookfield Zoo Celebrates New PBS Show Nature Cat & the 15th Birthday of the Hamill Family Play Zoo

With the warm weather we’re having now it’s hard to believe that it was SO cold just last weekend. We braved the cold to spend the day at Brookfield Zoo and meet PBS star Nature Cat. Nature Cat is an animated show on PBS featuring a house cat named Fred. When Fred’s family leaves for […]

Skiing, Snowboarding, and Snow Tubing

Embrace the Midwestern winter with skiing and snow tubing! Here are some great places not too far from Chicago to where, depending on your skill and comfort level, you can glide gently or zoom down some hills. Even if there’s no snow, all of these locations make their own snow. Four Lakes Alpine Snowsports Just about […]

55 Free Things to Do in Chicago and Surrounding Areas

FREE, FREE, FREE! There’s no better price. Use this list to plan a single afternoon, a day full of activities, or an entire vacation. I’ve tried to include a lot of variety – indoor and outdoor, city and suburbs, and activities that are appropriate for toddlers, older kids, and adults. Any suggestions for additions to […]

Endless Summer at Raging Waves Waterpark

Raging Waves was one of our favorite day trips last summer so we were very excited to return this year. For ALL the details about Raging Waves, see my previous Raging Waves Waterpark post; this post will tell you about our 2015 experience. Prices for admission, preferred parking, special packages, and cabanas remain the same […]

Wild Encounters at Brookfield Zoo

Two years ago Brookfield Zoo closed the 60-year-old Children’s Zoo. While it was sad to see it go, the closure made room for Brookfield Zoo’s newest attraction – Wild Encounters. Admission is $5 for adults and $3 for children 3-11 and seniors (children under 3 are free). Zoo members pay half price. Wild Encounters opened […]

Guide to U-Pick Strawberry Farms 2015

  There’s nothing quite like a juicy strawberry on a hot summer day; the only thing better is a fresh strawberry right off the vine. Don’t forget your sunscreen and cash (many farms only accept cash or checks). I do my best to provide accurate information, but it’s always best to double check and call […]

Minor League Baseball Promotions for Families 2015

  Baseball is America’s favorite pastime and it’s a great family outing, but visiting a minor league team has certain advantages too, especially when you have young children – they’re often not as crowded as major league games, they’re cheaper, the players are often more accessible, and the teams often cater to families. Whether you prefer […]

Chicago Cubs Promotions for Families 2015

Baseball is America’s favorite pasttime, so what better way to spend a spring day than catching a game with the family? The Chicago Cubs offer some family fun at Wrigley Field so get your tickets now. Be sure to check out the Cubs fan club for kids so you children can receive special Cubs memorabilia. Here are Chicago […]

Chicago White Sox Promotions for Families 2015

Baseball season is upon us and the Chicago White Sox could use a little support this season. If you haven’t visited “The Cell” (U.S. Cellular Field) yet this season, it’s the perfect time to purchase your tickets and plan a special family outing. If you’ve got kids, but sure you find out more about the Chicago White […]

Baseball Fan Clubs for Kids 2015

Opening day was this week for the Chicago Cubs and Sox and what better way to celebrate than joining a fan club? The Chicago area major league and minor league teams offer fan clubs for kids to collect promotional items, and even get free tickets to see some games. Best of all, some of the […]

15 Things to Do During Spring Break

After a long, LONG winter, Chicago is finally thawing and Spring Break is nearly here! If your family is anything like mine, you’ve been cooped up too long and you’re ready to get out and explore the amazing things Chicago has to offer every spring. Here are just some of the ways kids (and adults!) […]

5 Spots for Outdoor Ice Skating

This article was previously published on MommyNearest.com. As the temps begin to dip you might feel like it’s time to hibernate, but sometimes you need to bundle up and head out to to embrace the winter wonderland. Brighten up your winter with rosy cheeks and smiles at these outdoor ice skating rinks in Chicago and […]

Chicago Area Christmas Tree Farms 2014

Real or artificial? It’s an ongoing debate this time of the year. Part of the fun of having a real tree is the journey to get it, so here are places in there area where you can choose and cut your own tree! All of the farms listed below offer pick-your-own trees. As always, it’s best […]

Chicago Area Pumpkin Patch Guide 2014

October is all about the arrival of fall and Halloween. I’ve compiled a huge guide of Chicago Area Pumpkin Patches so you can find the one just right for your family. Admission prices do NOT include the cost of pumpkins. I do my best to be sure the information is current, accurate information, but it’s always […]

Family Sundays with the Chicago White Sox

It’s not hot and muggy anymore, and you can gorge on apple and pumpkin flavored everything, but summer’s not totally over yet. There’s still time to catch an afternoon of America’s favorite pastime with (one of) Chicago’s favorite team(s), the Chicago White Sox! There are still games through the month of September, and just ONE more […]

Autumn Weekends at Santa’s Village AZoosment Park

  With cool weather it’s the perfect time for a trip to Santa’s Village! You might think of an amusement (or AZoosment, in this case) park as a summer activity, but Santa’s Village is open on the weekends until the end of October. That’s a lot of time for taking kids on rides you remember […]

KaBOOM! Go Out & Play Essentials Pack Review

Imagine Toys asked me if I wanted to get my kids outside to play and, of course, I said yes! They sent me a KaBOOM! Go Out and Play Essentials Pack so our family could get active. With each purchase of the KaBOOM! Go Out and Play Essentials Pack from Imagine Toys, a minimum of […]

Chicago Area Apple Orchard Guide 2014

I may have said this last year (and the year before, and maybe the year before that…), but apple picking is one of my very favorite annual traditions with my family. Some orchards are already open for apple picking, but most will open this week or next. This list is all the U-Pick apple orchards I […]

Raging Waves Waterpark

Raging Waves is the largest waterpark in Illinois, located in Yorkville. Website: Raging Waves Waterpark Social media: Raging Waves Facebook page, @RagingWaves on Twitter, Raging Waves on Instagram Location: 4000 N. Bridge Street, Yorkville Phone: 630-882-6575 Hours:  Daily schedule is available online. 10 am – 7 pm everyday through August 2nd. August 3 through September […]

Fourth of July Parades & Fireworks – 2014

Independence Day is approaching and Chicago and many suburbs are preparing for celebrations. In addition to parades and firework displays I’ve listed many have other festivities such as live music, a carnival, or other entertainment the same day (& some even for a couple days) so click the link to see all the details. Before […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Free Museum Days – 2014

With snow and cold temperatures lots of Chicago families are getting tired of being stuck inside, but it can be difficult to find affordable things to do. Museums, zoos, and indoor gardens in and around Chicago offer free and discounted admission days during the winter. Also see my post on Mommy Nearest – Five Free […]

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, […]

Santa’s Village AZoosment Park – 2013 Season

Website: Santa’s Village AZoosment Park Location: 601 E. Dundee Avenue, East Dundee Phone: 847-426-6751 Hours: Santa’s Village is closed on Mondays. Hours vary; a full schedule is available online. Admission: $18.75/person, ages 3 & up; children 2 & under are free, $15.75/senior (65+). A 5% tax will be added to every admission fee. Active duty military […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

“Noon” Year’s Eve & New Year’s Eve Events

Noon Countdowns Bubble Bash 2012 with the DuPage Children’s Museum, Wentz Concert Hall at North Central College, 171 E. Chicago Avenue, Naperville 10:30 am-Noon $10/member, $15/non-member (plus $2/ticket box office charge) Live performances by Jeanie B. and the Jellybeans and Geoff Akins the Bubble Wonder Man, countdown at noon. Itsy Bitsy New Year’s Eve Countdown, […]

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