Hop to it, or should we say leap to it! It’s leap day weekend, a rare event that only happens every four years. This weekend also brings the beginning of March, which in Chicago is the start of hoping we will actually see spring soon. So get out there and enjoy all the city has to offer: live music, theater, outdoor activities, and so much more.
Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo
If you are making this weekend’s big Chicago comic and entertainment expo a family affair, you’ll want to head straight to the convention’s family HQ. There you’ll be able to play a bunch of interactive games, meet your favorite Star Wars characters, listen to panels, play with Legos, indulge in free play, and so much more.
Details: February 28–March 1
Artist Hebru Brantley puts together an immersive art experience built around his characters Flyboy and Lil Mama. Everything is very touch-and-feel, so kids will love that aspect and get to learn about the vision of a local Chicago artist.
Details: 949 West 16th Street; $28
Make Your Own Pancakes and Butter
It may be too cold and snowy to see the beautiful flowers and blooming trees that usually make up the Chicago Botanic Garden, but what it lacks in greenery it makes up for in awesome family programming. This winter it is offering fun cooking classes, and we are superexcited about this one. Families will learn all about the plants that are used to make breakfast, and then kids will have the opportunity to make their own butter and buttermilk pancakes. This program is geared toward families with children ages 4–10.
Details: February 29, 9:30–11 a.m. or 1–2:30 p.m.; $19 for members or $24 for nonmembers
Winter can feel long with toddlers, so any excuse to get out of the house is a good one! Every Tuesday in February and March, Navy Pier hosts a different free concert with all the favorite kiddie artists from around town. Jam out with Mr. Dave; dance with Bollywood Groove; and keep the beat with Ayodele Drum and Dance.
Details: Tuesday in February and March, noon–12:45 p.m.
Breakfast With Animals at Lincoln Park Zoo
Ever want to learn all about an animal that you wouldn’t be able to just by looking at them? Then this breakfast is for you. Not only will you get to indulge in an elaborate buffet, but you’ll learn insider info from Dan Boehm, curator of small mammals and reptiles and the children’s zoo, all about camels and zebras in particular, and what these animals are really like and how the zookeepers work with them.
Details: February 29, 9–11 a.m.; $50
Polar Adventure Days
Bundle up and get ready to have fun outdoors. This annual event puts you face-to-face (at a safe distance, don’t worry!) with Siberian huskies, wolves, and other wintry animals. There are also nature-inspired crafts, plenty of cool birds to scope out, and, of course, hot chocolate. If there’s snow, there will be snowshoes available, too.
Details: February 29, noon–4 p.m.; free to attend, $3 parking
Nick Jr. Live
Catch all of your favorite Nick Jr. characters—Paw Patrol, Bubble Guppies, Shimmer and Shine, and more—as they dance and sing across the stage in this musical production that’s sure to get you out of your seats.
Details: February 29 and March 1; $29–$79
It’s the return of the dinosaurs, this time to Navy Pier, which they’ll call home for the weekend. There is a ton to look at and do, like bounce houses, science stations, Jurassic jeeps, face painting, and more.
Details: March 6–8 at Navy Pier
Once Upon a Symphony
This is a great way to expose young kids to the beauty of the symphony, and family days are more than just a show! Forty-five minutes prior to showtime, kids can participate in preconcert activities, and after the show they get to meet the musicians and storytellers.
Details: March 7, April 25, May 16; $17
Rock and Roll Playhouse at Thalia Hall
Whether it’s Phish or Grateful Dead that’s more your jam, March is full of options to get out and experience rock music in a kid-friendly way. Thalia Hall, one of Pilsen’s coolest music venues, hosts its Rock and Roll Playhouse with the music of both bands next month. It’s a great way to introduce your kids to your favorite tunes.
Details: Phish on March 1 and Grateful Dead on March 29; $18.78
The Princess and the Pea
It’s the tale of love that involves a huge stack of mattresses and a tiny pea. This classic story by Hans Christian Andersen, reinterpreted as a musical, is sure to delight family audiences.
Details: Through April 19; tickets start at $18.23
Family First Days at Shedd
Make it a fun morning with underwater creatures at this monthly family day at the Shedd Aquarium. Games, crafts, and a behind-the-scenes look offer a unique way to check out the aquarium!
Details: March 7, April 4, May 2; $49.99 per person or $29.99 for members