Every month, I try to plan for our family activities in advance and put them on my calendar with the help of Chicago Parent magazine. I also create a seasonal bucket list at the beginning of every season, with seasonal activities, festival and special exhibits going on in Chicago Museums. I usually do this with kids. We make a poster board of our bucket list and put it up on the wall. Then mark it checked as we go through it.
Spring is when I plan a lot of nature activities outdoors, enjoying the blooms and flowers, particularly tulips. We also plan and prepare for our vegetable garden. We feel very lucky to have an early Spring this year. Biking is one of my favorite outdoor activities with kids, second to beach fun. But we’ll have to wait for few months before we can really enjoy the beach. There are lots of children’s festivals in Spring. We go to some of these every year.
I’m sharing our Spring 2016 Family Bucket List for Chicago. (F) are free events or activities. You can also find the printable list below.
- Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum (F)
- Tulips at Chicago Botanic Garden
- Ribbit! The Exhibit at Morton Arboretum
- Solarise:A sea of all colors at Garfield Park Conservatory (F)
- Spring Flower Show at Lincoln Park Conservatory (F)
- North Park Village Nature Center (F)
- Garden of Phoenix – previously Osaka Japanese Garden at Wooded Island. Reopens June 2016 (F)
- Kilbourn Park Organic Plant Sale (Usually the weekend after Mother’s Day. Read more about this great event here)
- Montrose Point Bird Sanctuary (F)
- North Branch Trail (Our goal is to once ride from the start in the city all the way up to Chicago Botanic Garden) (F)
- Kiddical Mass (Check for various neighborhoods and dates. This is great for families with younger kids) (F)
- Bike The Drive (Saturday, May 29) (F)
- Bike on the 606 (F)
- China’s First Emperor and His Terracotta Warriors at the Field Museum (until January 8, 2017)
- Van Gogh’s Bedroom at Art Institute of Chicago
- Brick by Brick at Museum of Science and Industry
- National Robotics Week at Museum of Science and Industry (April 2-10)(also see Robot Revolution Exhibit)
- Midwest Regional FIRST Robotics Competition (Saturday, April 2)
- Dia del Niño at National Museum of Mexican Art (F)
- Reptile Fest (April 9-10)
- Find a Park Clean up for Earth Day (April 22)
- For the love of the stars at The 606 Exelon Observatory (Friday, May 13) (F)
- Strandbeest: The Dream Machines of Theo Jansen at Chicago Cultural Center (F) We’ve seen this. I highly recommend it.
- Chicago International Children’s Day (Sunday, April 17) (F)
- Japanese Garden Children’s Fest at Chicago Botanic Garden
- Neighborhoods of the World Navy Pier (Sundays until April 17) (F)
- Chicago Kids and Kite Festival (Saturday, May 7) (F) Read more in my post on Kids and kite Festival
- Chicago Northside Maker Faire (Saturday, May 7) (F)
- Skokie Festival of Cultures (May 21-22) (F)
- Midsommar Fest in Andersonville (June 10, 11, 12) (F)
- Matilda the Musical at Oriental Theatre (until April 10)
- Cinderella… after the ball at Marriott Theatre (until May 8)
- Sight Unseen at Adventure Stage Chicago (until April 16)
Please add any fun activity, event or festival ideas you enjoy in Spring in Chicago with kids in the comments below.
*I created our list for our children, ages 10 and 8. Therefore, I don’t have many activities for pre-elementary ages. Still, you can enjoy most of these activities and events with younger children as well.