But, there are several free events going on in the Chicago area to help break that cabin fever! Parents can find many of these activities on www.kidwinks.com, a website that gathers the best of Chicago area family fun into one place.
Free Kids Film Festival at Wilmette Theatre
The Wilmette Theatre, located in the heart of the North Shore suburb of Wilmette, is hosting a Free Kids Film Festival this Saturday and next. Kung Fu Panda 2 (PG) will be shown this Saturday, and How to Train Your Dragon (PG) will be shown next Saturday.
The free film festival continues in March, with School of Rock (PG-13) slated for March 24th and Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (G), to be shown on March 31st. The theatre is steps away from the METRA and also accessible using CTA public transportation.
Where: Wilmette Theater, 1122 Central Avenue, Wilmette, IL
When: January 14th & 21st; March 24th & March 31st
Ages: Parental determination based on movie subject and rating.
Snow Days at Navy Pier
Teams of talented artists from around the world gather to create sculpting masterpieces out of 10-foot blocks of man-made snow. Other activities include dog sled racing and weight pulling demonstrations, a snowboard rail jam competition and new this year, interactive kids' activities including Ice Bowling, Basketball, Hockey, Football and Snow Painting.
Where: Navy Pier's Gateway Park, 600 East Grand Avenue, Chicago, IL
When: January 27 ? 29; Friday & Saturday: 11a.m - 8p.m. Sunday: 11a.m -6p.m.
Ages: All ages
Free Admission at Chicago Museums
Chicago is blessed with top-notch museums, and they're a wonderful way to entertain kids when cabin fever sets in. Affordability can be a problem, though, especially for families. A useful tip is that most of these institutions sponsor free admission days throughout the year. It's not easy to remember when these free days occur, so kidwinks has a link to Chicago Museum Free Days http://www.kidwinks.com/KidsEvents/7/ChicagoFreeDays/16250/ on the kidwinks homepage so parents can easily find which museums are offering free admission days and when.
Here are just a few of the upcoming free museum admission days:
Museum of Science & Industry http://www.kidwinks.com/KidsEvents/7/FreeAdmissiontoMuseumofScienceandIndustryinJanuary/2437/ ? Beginning today, January 12th, this museum has free general admission to all Illinois residents (must show a valid id) every weekday through the end of the month. In February, Wednesdays are free.
Peggy Notebaert Nature Center http://www.kidwinks.com/KidsEvents/7/FreeAdmissiontoPeggyNotebaertNatureMuseum/10835/? This museum, with its popular butterfly haven, is another kidwinks favorite. Throughout the year, every Thursday is free admission day. Free parking is available along Cannon Drive and just a short walk to the museum.
Chicago Children's Museum http://www.kidwinks.com/FamilyFun/4/ChicagoChildrensMuseum/552/ ? Free admission for all visitors Thursday evenings (5 ? 8 PM) and for children under the age of 15 on the first Sunday of each month at this museum on Navy Pier. There are also special free admission programs for children with disabilities and for low-income families.
Museum of Contemporary Art Family Days http://www.kidwinks.com/KidsEvents/7/FamilyDaysMuseumofContemporaryArt/4108/ - Every second Saturday the MCA invites families to learn about art through hands-on art activities, scavenger hunts, Look 'n' Learn stations, and more. Admission is FREE For families with children 12 and under. Activities are appropriate for all ages. On these Family Days, children 12 and under also eat FREE at Puck's located in the museum (one free kid's meal with purchase of one adult entrée). The next Family Day is this Saturday, January 14th.
River Trail Nature Center
River Trail Nature Center in Northbrook is a favorite of kidwinks' co-founders and kidwinks' members. The center is free and includes animal exhibits indoors and outdoors, outdoor hiking trails, and a large indoor nature discovery area. The nature discovery area is stocked with nature-themed games, puzzles, books, puppets and activities, and kids can climb into an eagle's nest and crawl into a fox's den. Many free or nearly free special events are held throughout the year.
The outdoor animals are fed each afternoon in a free and fun talk called What's on the Menu?
The naturalists take their time to explain each of the animal's habits and food choices, and are particularly good with children, welcoming and patiently answering their questions.
Where: 3120 Milwaukee Avenue, Northbrook, IL
When: Open daily 8 a.m. ? 4 p.m. through February; open daily 8 a.m. ? 5 p.m. March - October. Exhibit buildings open at 9 a.m. and are closed on Fridays.
Ages: All ages
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