Family Fun

Take the Kids to a Pumpkin Festival, the Planetarium, and the Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Photo of The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Ari Craven/Courtesy of Chicago Children’s Theatre

October may already be flying by, but that just edges us closer to Halloween! Enjoy festive activities this weekend and other fun family days that will bring you indoors if the weather gets too chilly. We know it will be a great weekend with these events!

Madagascar, 2017/ Photo courtesy of Marriott Theatre 

Highwood Pumpkin Festival
It’s all about pumpkins at this street fest, as visitors can carve their own pumpkins in an attempt to beat the Guinness World Record of most carved pumpkins. Yummy street fest treats and plenty of live music make this a good one to attend. At night, watch all of the pumpkins glow—it’s a true sight to be seen! Plus, donations go to a great cause.
Details: October 11–13; $5 admission benefits the Make-a-Wish Foundation

Family Day at the Adler Planetarium
As part of Latinx Heritage month, this special pop-up will celebrate the accomplishments of Latino and Hispanic Americans with careers in STEAM. Meet an Emmy-nominated astronomer, catch a special movie, and watch cool interactive presentations.
Details: October 12, 9 a.m.–4 p.m.; $8–$50

 Be My Neighbor Day With Daniel Tiger
Daniel Tiger and Katerina Kitty Kat make their way to the beautiful Garfield Park Conservatory to teach children the importance of neighborhoods! Kids can hang with these two characters from PBS’s Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood and create meaningful crafts.
Details: October 12, 10:30 a.m.; free

Head to Didier Farms
What’s fall without a good pumpkin fest? We are partial to this one at Didier Farms, about a 45-minute ride from the city in Linconshire. Here you’ll find kiddie carnival rides, pumpkin doughnuts, apple cider, and a pumpkin patch.
Details: Through October 31; prices vary by activity

Family Day at Chicago Architecture Center
Spend the day learning about the wonders of Chicago architecture at this monthly family-friendly event. Participate in hands-on exhibitions and learn fun facts about Chicago’s greatest buildings. A take-home project will keep the fun going all afternoon.
Details: Second Saturday of every month; $12 for adults, $8 for students with ID, free for kids 5 and under

Go Apple Picking
Check out our handy guide to apple picking. There are so many great places to get your apple fix (and if we are being honest, your cider and doughnut fix, too!), and it’s the best time of year to do it. If you’re lucky, you’ll be able to snag a few Honeycrisps as well!

Photo courtesy of County Line Orchard

Wizarding Halloween Party
If you geek out on all things Harry Potter, this is the Halloween event for you. Participate in really cool science experiments (did someone say ghosts and explosions?) and dress as your favorite character from the wizarding world! It’s sure to be an unforgettable evening.
Details: October 26, 4:30–5:30 p.m.; $40

Watch The Very Hungry Caterpillar Live Onstage
Speaking of beloved storybooks, seeing Eric Carle’s classic come to life onstage is a must. This Chicago Children’s Theatre production is sure to bring all the feels for the very hungry caterpillar!
Details: Through October 27, Saturday and Sunday at 10:30 a.m. and 2 p.m.; $25

A Mo Willems Exhibition at the Chicago Children’s Museum
We love Willems, and so do most kids we know. Check out this exhibition dedicated to him, “The Pigeon Comes to Chicago,” featuring all of the favorite characters, like Elephant and Piggie and Knuffle Bunny.
Details: $13.95

Fall Fest at 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: Through October 27, Friday–Sunday; $3 for one ticket, $27 for 10 tickets, or $51 for 20 tickets

Photo by Julia Fuller/Courtesy of Lincoln Park Zoo 

Madagascar at Marriott Theatre
An adapted version of the movie takes the stage for the second time at the Marriott Theatre; it was so loved by kids that they brought it back for the fall season. Sing and dance along with King Julien, Alex the Lion, Marty the Zebra, Melman the Giraffe, and Gloria the supercool, hip Hippo through their great adventures.
Details: Through December 29; $18.23

Pier Pumpkin Lights
For the first time ever, Navy Pier will transform this October into a walking art exhibition of pumpkins. Best enjoyed at dusk, this free installation will feature different carved pumpkins throughout the pier, with various stations like Picasso Pumpkins, Jack-O’-Lantern Jamboree, and Garden of Totems. Restaurants along Navy Pier will have various food and drink specials, so stay for dinner.
Details: Through November 2; free

Photo courtesy of Pier Pumpkin Lights

See Peppa Pig Live Onstage
The famous British pig takes the stage to wow your kiddos even more so than she already does on television! Join Peppa and her friends as they tackle their next big adventure—there will be plenty of songs and giggles along the way.
Details: October 12, noon and 4 p.m.; $25 and up

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 at 11 a.m., it offers a yoga-based movement class for kids ages 3–8. It’s fun for them and relaxing for the parents, who can sip coffee (from Ipsento, just down the road) while their children move.
Details: Saturdays, 11–11:45 a.m.; $15 for ages 3–8

See the Bug Exhibition at the Field Museum
Kids buggin’ you? Take them to see real bugs at this exhibition on view 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