From the city to the 'burbs there's a ton of fun and free summer activities for the entire family. ChicagoKids.com founder Sue Zeiler has more on what's going on in Chicago, Wheaton, Schaumburg and Olympia Fields.
What's free for this summer:
1S151 Winfield Road, Wheaton
Beautiful grounds with gardens, the First Division military museum, picnic area and a playground.
Free admission, with a $10 weekend parking fee, $5 during the week
o Friday movies in the park - a different family friendly movie every Friday through August.
o This Friday is Family Night - the movie is Cars 2, free professional magic show, a live music concert and a car show - all free with $5 parking!
Volkening Heritage Farm
201 S. Plum Grove Road, Schaumburg
General admission is free to this living history farm
Takes kids back in time to the 1880's when Schaumburg was a rural German farm community.
See the garden being tended, baking in the historic house, harvesting wheat from the fields, live animals from that time period.
Authentically dressed interpreters welcome and guide visitors through the site.
On weekends, take a horse-drawn wagon ride for just $3, a 15 minutes ride through the farm, learning about the history.
Open Tuesday to Sunday, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Garfield Park Conservatory
300 N. Central Park Ave.
On any day, families can visit a Children's Garden as well as the Play and Grow Garden, and before visiting, parents can print out a variety of different scavenger hunt pages so that kids can make their visit fun and interesting.
There are lots of family programs that take place every week:
o Wild Wednesdays let kids get their hands dirty discovering new things about plants and nature, and event animals on some days.
o Morning Glories is a program designed especially for kids ages 3-5. Kids rotate to different stations for planting projects, story time, soil digging and more.
Smart Museum of Art Monthly Family Days
5550 S. Greenwood Ave., Chicago
This is the fine arts museum of the University of Chicago, and holds a collection of more than 15,000 objects from modern masterpieces to ancient relics.
The museum offers a free family program the first Saturday of every month, for kids ages 4-12, where families get a tour of whatever art is the inspiration for the project.
On July 9, the theme is Summer Comics Festival, where kids will design their own comic books and join a "how-to-draw" workshop with a local artist.
On August 6, the theme is A Day at the Beach, where kids will learn about an award winning author, then make beach towels and eat corn on the cob and watermelon.
Irons Oaks Environmental Learning Center
This 40-acre nature preserve is located in Olympia Fields
Kids can check out the nature discovery center and get hands on with animal artifacts like feathers and fur.
Families can walk the trails, and take a self-guided tour and find information along the paths.
Walking the trails, you'll see wildflowers and birds, and maybe even some animals, or hawks, bats or owls.
Monthly nature walks are offered, for ages 4 and up, which are light hikes where guests can discover seasonal happenings - the next one is June 21
Money saving Monday: Free fun for the summer
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