It’s true what they say—in summertime, the living is easy. While June and July may have been amped up with plenty of outings and activities, there’s no need to slow down in August. This month has plenty of events to take in with the whole family, from circuses at a number of Chicago parks to the annual Comic-Con with a slew of superheroes. With summer winding down and school on the horizon, any of these ideas will help give your kids the break they need before going back to hitting the books for the next nine months, and give you a chance to experience the city in a whole new way. Here are our favorite ways to bid adieu to the great escape known as summer.
If you let your kids run away with any circus, let it be Midnight Circus in the Parks. Starting August 24, this actively engaged group of world-class performers provides a show that is affordable and accessible for all. Held under a little “big top” in almost every city neighborhood, kids are invited to be part of the show and the whole thing raises money for local Chicago Parks—to date the group has raised $960,000.
For all the little builders in your family, this exploration center in nearby Schaumburg will engage them for hours. See the city of Chicago built in miniature with famous attractions like Navy Pier and Wrigley Field assembled from 1.5 million little pieces. Then, head to the Master Builder Academy where your kids can learn how to make their own unique creations in hands-on workshops. There’s also a 4D cinema and rides.
The fun center in suburban Glenview has hands-on learning experiences galore including art adventures, children’s theater, kitchen activities, science exploration and more. The latest exhibit, based on WTTW’s “Nature Cat” just opened.
This iconic landmark was first completed in 1916 as part of famed architect Daniel Burnham’s plan for Chicago. Since reopening in 1995, it has become a must-see destination for visitors and a go-to for locals with plenty to do across the 50-acre stretch. Navy Pier is home to the Chicago Children’s Museum where little ones can dig for dinosaur bones and construct skyscrapers among various activities. Navy Pier is also home to the Chicago Shakespeare Theatre with many kid-friendly productions, too. Other options include the IMAX Theatre and lush Crystal Gardens with rich foliage under a six-story atrium.
Welcome to the dollhouse! Here, child’s play becomes a whole new reality as little ones can bring in their favorite American Girl doll for a day of shopping and pampering together. In addition to a boutique full of apparel, accessories and furniture, there’s also a salon where dolls and their human companions can have their hair styled, ears pierced and enjoy a day of spa relaxation. American Girl Place also has an on-site café with brunch, afternoon tea and lunch and dinner service.
Over the course of four days, August 22-25, kids can meet all their favorite superheroes and TV and movie stars at this annual Comic-Con at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in nearby Rosemont. Scheduled to appear are Melissa Joan Hart from "Sabrina The Teenage Witch," the Fonz Henry Winkler and "Jurassic Park" star Jeff Goldblum. Autograph signings, panel discussions, costume contests and vendors are all part of the weekend.
Named for one of Chicago’s great first ladies, the late Maggie Daley, this park honors her commitment to the children of Chicago with plenty of green space and courses for hours of outdoor fun. In addition to a 40-foot climbing wall and massive skating ribbon (you can rent rollerblades and scooters on-site), there’s also mini golf, tennis courts, picnic groves and a comprehensive three-acre Play Garden with fun attractions including an Enchanted Forest, Watering Hole, Wave Lawn and 12,000-square-foot Slide Crater zone.