Family Fun

Treat the Whole Fam to an Apple Festival, a Harry Potter Scavenger Hunt, and a Doughnut Tour

Photo courtesy of Long Grove Apple Festival

There’s so much family fun to be had this month! Channel Harry Potter at the Art Institute of Chicago, go on an underground doughnut tour, and gorge on apples!

Photo courtesy of Zen Yoga Garage

Make Downward Dog Part of Your Morning Routine
With the busyness of back-to-school, we could all use a little zen. That’s where Zen Yoga garage comes in. Every Saturday morning it offers a yoga-based movement class for children ages 3 to 8. It’s fun for the kids and relaxing for the parents, who can sip coffee (from Ipsento just down the road) while their kiddos move.
Details: Saturdays, 11–11:45 a.m.; $15

Get Your Reggae on at Thalia Hall
Our favorite kid-oriented concert series is back at Thalia Hall, this time featuring the greatest hits of reggae. Ya, mon! As always, it’s bound to be a huge dance party with lots of kiddos running around.
Details: September 15, 11 a.m.; $15

Photo by Anjali Pinto/Courtesy of Anjali Pinto

Go on an Underground Doughnut Tour
Deep in the depths of the city—OK, on just about every street corner these days—there are doughnuts! But not all fried dough rings are created equal, and this tour makes it its mission to find the best of the best. With stops at Do-Rite, Stan’s, and other stellar spots, you know this tour will be delish!
Details: Tours leave from the Chicago French Market all days except Sunday; Sunday tours begin at Do-Rite Donuts; $30 for ages 11 and up; $15 for kids 10 and under

Indulge in Ice Cream Cones That Look Like Animals at Eli’s Ark
Kids are obsessed with this new sweet shop, and there’s good reason: It scoops creamy gelato into a cone and decorates the treat like an adorable little animal. The squishy pig snouts are oh so cute, and who can resist a koala? Eli’s even has Halloween-themed creatures for a limited time. We promise your children will think you are the “best ever” after a trip to this place.

Are You Ready for Some Soccer?
Yes, the Bears are back at Soldier Field, and the White Sox and Cubs are still playing, but why not give notice to one of Chicago’s lesser recognized teams, the Chicago Fire? No, we aren’t talking the TV show, but rather the soccer team! Catch their last two games of the season. Tickets start in the low $20 range, which is much less than for other professional sports, and the squad is fun to watch!
Details: September 14, 2:30 p.m. and September 29, 4:30 p.m.

Photo courtesy of Ravenswood Art Walk

Fall Fest at the Lincoln Park Zoo
It’s always fun to walk around the Lincoln Park Zoo in the fall, but Fall Fest makes it that much more spectacular! Watch professional pumpkin carvers create masterpieces, grab a pumpkin from the patch, run through the corn maze, and crush the obstacle course. There’s so much to do and enjoy for both kids and adults.
Details: Friday–Sunday, September 27–October 27; $3 for one ticket, $27 for 10 tickets, or $51 for 20 tickets

The Big Bounce America
Imagine bopping around in a ginormous bounce house with a bunch of other families. Sounds like a dream, right? It will be for your kids! The Big Bounce America is making its way to Chicago with all sorts of inflatable fun. This isn’t your average bounce, either—there will be a DJ, basketball hoops, tons of bubbles, and confetti. You’ll have to head to Elk Grove for this one, but it’s sure to be a one-of-a-kind experience!
Details: September 13, 14, and 15; ticket prices vary

If Harry Potter Met Watson
This is way cool. Watson Adventures has set up a wizard school scavenger hunt across the Art Institute of Chicago allowing kids (and adults!) to explore the museum looking for bewitching works of art reminiscent of Hogwarts. There will be clues to solve, games to do, and puzzles to unlock on this two-hour tour.
Details: September 14, 1–3 p.m.; $29 for adults and $16 for ages 10–17

Photo by Julia Fuller/Courtesy of Lincoln Park Zoo

Jam Out at Bubblesapalooza
We all know the music classes at Bubbles are top-notch, and they’re all coming together for a special concert benefiting Whole Child Arts. There will also be a bounce house, plenty of food, and loads of other special kid-oriented activities.
Details: September 14, 4–7 p.m.; $15 online or $20 at the door

Ravenswood Art Walk
This is a great chance to explore the work of hundreds of local artists displaying everything from painting to pottery. Of course, it wouldn’t be a Chicago street festival without live performances, as well. You can also grab food from food trucks or pop in on the film festival. Kids get their own corner, with kite making, musical games, art, and more.
Details: September 14 and 15, 11 a.m.–6 p.m.; $5 suggested donation 

An Apple a Day and the Party Is Here to Stay
It’s worth heading to this fest in adorable Long Grove for everything apples! And everything apples you will find, from green apple cotton candy and apple goat cheese dumplings to classics like apple cider and apple pie. There will also be tons of kids’ games, an apple pie–eating contest, and live music.
Details: September 20–22 at Stempel Parking Lot in Long Grove, with Kids Zone in Towner Square; $5 per person, kids under 12 are free; $10 for three-day pass

Photo courtesy of DuSable Museum of African-American History

Free Museum Day
You may have heard of a little museum called the Smithsonian? Well, it isn’t coming to Chicago, but it is hosting a free museum day across the country. That means on September 21, you can get into a museum for free, and there are loads of them in Illinois. Visit the Adler Planetarium or the DuSable Museum of African-American History. Trek to Springfield to learn about Abraham Lincoln or head to Aurora for the SciTech hands-on museum. Each email address is good to get two free general admission tickets.

Bixbee Imagination Station
Consider this the Wndr Museum aimed toward kids, featuring both experiential exhibitions and retail. Embark on a safari or enter a glittery kaleidoscope—there will be no shortage of imagination used here. A portion of the admission cost helps kids in need buy adequate supplies. Your children will want to scope out the cool Bixbee bags, which they can buy, too!
Details: Through September 22; $30 for adults, $23 for children ages 3–11, free for ages 2 and under

See the Bug Exhibition at the Field Museum
Kids buggin’ you? Take them to see real bugs at this exhibition running through next spring at the Field Museum. The show digs into bugs around the world—including ones with special skills, like holding their breath underwater. There’s even a live bug zoo where your littles can hold the critters if they dare!
Details: Through April 2020