See the Tully Monster and the Dryptgosaurus Dinosaur plus the duck-billed dinos of the Hadrosaurs group. They are just some of the creatures now on exhibit at the Lake County Forest Preserves’ Dunn Museum in Libertyville, IL
If you walk into the exhibit from the front admission desk you see a couple of samples tempting you to see more. Then you walk through the permanent exhibits on the way to “Dinosaurs. Fossils Exposed.”
However, if you turn into the corridor just past the desk you are in the temporary exhibition space for the dinos and fossils. You can then go on to the permanent exhibits and exit back at the desk.
Touching is permitted.\. Many of the exhibit’s bones are skeletal molds including a Triceratops, Tyrannosaurus rex and Velociraptor. The exhibit is interactive.
BTW, Tully monster is small enough to miss if you walk by its rocky fossile too fast. When it existed it could be a foot long and look like a swimming sausage. The fossil rock was found in Lindenhurst in 1957 and has brachiopods, cephalopods and other ancient sea creatures.
Touching is permitted. The special exhibition is interactive. You can touch six full dinosaur skeletal molds including a Triceratops, Tyrannosaurus rex and Velociraptor. For photos, stand next to a 6-foot Apatosaurus femur.
(Dinosaurs: Fossils Exposed was conceptualized by the Arkansas Discovery Network, The Preservation Foundation, the charitable partner of the Lake County Forest Preserves, provided support for the exhibition.)
This special exhibition is up through Jan. 15, 2024.
The Dunn Museum is at 1899 West Winchester Rd, Libertyville IL 60048. For more information call 847-968-3400.
It may merely seem that swimming and filling the pail with lake water to build a giant sandcastle will las for at least another month but most Chicago-area beach towns will be sending their lifeguards back to school or wherever and swimming without them is not allowed.
The Chicago Park District site explains that “Swimming is permitted in designated swim areas at the beaches when lifeguards are on duty from 11 am – 7 pm daily. Swimming anywhere else along the lakefront is strictly prohibited and dangerous.”
The site notes that Chicago has 26 miles of free lake front and the beach season runs from the Friday before Memorial Day through Labor Day. Other Lake Michigan towns are likely to have similar lifeguard rules but different price points and admission rules.
Maybe you know that Abraham Lincoln’s birthday was Feb. 12 and that some states considered the date a state holiday. In Illinois, it was celebrated in Springfield. But schools and federal businesses are also off in Illinois on Presidents Day, the third Monday of February to recognize George Washington’s birthday. It was Feb. 22, 1732 on the Georgian calendar.
A couple of fun places to become immersed in history on Presidents Day are the Chicago History Museum in the Lincoln Park neighborhood and The Dunn Museum in north suburban Libertyville.
Go any time this weekend but if you visit Feb. 20, 2023, admission is free to Illinois residents and the museum has family events.
Among them are Oval Office activities that include an interactive Oval Office where the president works, a chance to design an Oval Office that would work for you and an “I Spy” game using President Joe Biden’s Oval Office.
OK, you know that Abe Lincoln once called Illinois “home.” But can you ID three other US presidents who lived in Illinois? The family events day includes an activity that connects facts and quotes from four US presidents who spent significant time in the state.
Clues: one was a military commander with a home in Galena; a second one was born in Illinois and grew up in Dixon and third was a recent president with a Hyde Park home, connections to the University of Chicago Law Schoo and soon-to-be presidential library and museum. Places to visit these presidential connections are at the Illinois tour site of Enjoy Illinois.
The family events are interesting and fun but this is a once-upon-at-time museum so figure enough minutes in your visit to see and experience forgotten times showcased in Chicago: Crossroads of America.
Walk the aisle of L car no. 1 which took riders from the Loop to the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Jackson Park. Once upon a time old L cars had stained-glass windows and fine woodwork.
Although usually closed on Mondays, the museum will be open for Presidents Day. Upcoming 2023 Illinois resident free days include: February 14–17, 20–24, 28. For more information and tickets visit Home – Chicago History Museum.
But visit the museum now, during Presidents Day, to take advantage of what is called a “commemorative” day off school and work to honor two influential men in United States history.
A small treasure operated by the Lake Country Forest Preserves, the museum is an easy to stroll through history.
Visitors take photos of the prehistoric bones of a Dryptosaurus , a small tyrannosaur that roamed Lake County 67 million years ago and a fossil rock about 420 million years old.
Moving along they walk into a wigwam that is a full-scale reproduction constructed with help from a local Native American tribe. Arrowheads and other Native American artifacts are in cases further down.
As to Lincoln’s time, the museum has American Civil War uniforms and equipment plus agriculture implements. The region was settled since the early 1830s and manned the 96th Illinois volunteer Infantry during the Civil War.
A fun stop for youngsters is the museum’s recreation of a one-room schoolhouse with a small stove, blackboard and benches.
For hours, tickets and more information visit Dunn Museum.
An old-time schoolhouse room, Civil War uniforms, farm equipment, dinosaur bones and a resort-style lake boat are all reasons to wander through Lake County Forest Preserves’ Dunn Museum.
But on view now to March 19, 2023, an Underground Railroad exhibit is added incentive to put the museum on the visit list. Just don’t be surprised it is shrouded in darkness. That was the safest time to escape slavery.
Lighthouse ArtSpaceChicago, known for its presentations of visual artists, celebrated Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s 267th birthday with a sneak-peak kickoff of “Mozart Immersive: The Soul of a Genius,” The birthday celebration included complimentary treats of Prosecco and Eli’s Cheesecake.”
Past Artspace presentations featured the works of such artists as Van Gogh and Frida Kahlo by utilizing cutting-edge projection techniques to create a 360-degree immersive visual experience.
The Mozart presentation is the first to feature a musician. To craft dream-like 18th century inspired imagery, the producers partnered with the creative team of Massimilliano Siccardi and Vittorio Guidotti.
Mozart Immersive’s world premiere is currently scheduled to open March 10, 2023 at the Lighthouse ArtSpace at the corner of Clark Street and Germania Place with no immediate plans for the exhibit to travel. All the more reason to be sure to check it out.
Terri Hemmert of WXRT Radio hosted the birthday bash with live music by the Ryan Center Ensemble featuring Wm Clay Thompson (Bass) singing an aria from Don Giovanni with Chris Reynolds on piano.
The excellent young basso and pianist duo were followed by an expert chamber ensemble comprised of four string players from The Music of the Baroque performing two Mozart compositions, the ever popular “Eine Kleine Nachtmusik” and “Divertimento in D Major.
The experiential projected images thoughtfully incorporated the monochromatically painted architectural interior features of the former Germania Club that is now the home of Artspace.
For instance, the inside frames of what had been windows were replaced by projected vintage images of the Austrian countryside.
They added to the enjoyment of the string ensemble by transporting us back in time to a place that might have hosted an elegant soiree, perhaps in a stately home or castle of one of Mozart’s benefactors.
The final production, a retrospective with highlights from Mozart’s short life, integrates video re-enactments with live actors alongside the animation.
Many visitors will be delighted to see legendary dancer and actor Mikhail Baryshnikov in the heart-rending role of Mozart’s father, Leopold, who is credited for launching his son’s early career. They became estranged later in life.
Constantine Orbelian, New York City Opera’s music director and principal conductor, joined Hemmert onstage to discuss the production.
The music, arranged by composer Luca Longobardi, will accompany Mozart Immersive. It was recorded by the Lithuanian Kaunas City Symphony Orchestra led by Orbelian.
Before the doors opened, I had an opportunity to interview the Maestro for my ChicagoBroadcastingNetwork.com podcast. The four-time Grammy-nominated musician shared that he had not yet seen the visuals associated with the music and was as eager as the rest of us to get a sneak peek.
Details: Lighthouse ArtSpace Chicago is at 108 Germania PL. For tickets visit Mozart Immersive.
Photo: Reno Lovison (R) recorded a podcast interview with Maestro Orbelian (L) which can be heard at ChicagoBroadcastingNetwork.com (Photo Credit: Julie Lovison)
Photo: Julie Lovison, Director of The Lake Shore Music Studio with Constantine Orbelian, Director and Principal Conductor of the New York City Opera celebrating Mozart’s birthday at Lighthouse ArtSpace in Gold Coast / Lincoln Park. (Photo Credit: Reno Lovison)
Photo: Visitors get a sneak peek of Mozart Immersive: The Soul of a Genius, Opening March 10, 2023 at Lighthouse Immersive. (Photo Credit: Reno Lovison)
Not all colors are outdoors at the Chicago Botanic Garden. While CBG is getting ready outdoors for its soon to be sold out holiday Lightscape, the Fine Art of Fiber has taken over the inside of the Regenstein Center.
Chicago Theater and Arts stopped for a sneak preview while it was setting up. Its impressive.
Extraordinary quilts, wall hangings and wearable fiber art such as shawls and jewelry, can be seen and items bought at the Art of Fiber show but it only goes Nov. 4-6, 2022. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more info visit Chicago Botanic Garden.
Penguins aren’t the only cute, playful animals capturing attention at the Shedd.
Its two new otters now have names. The Shedd’s Animal Care Team has named Otter 926 as Suri for California’s Big Sur coast line between Carmel and San Simeon.
Go to Brookfield Zoo operated by the Chicago Zoological Society in suburban Brookfield, IL for lots of animal sightings, but not for its seven bottlenose dolphins.
Beginning early November, the dolphins (along with their support staff) have taken up residence at the Minnesota Zoo for about seven months while Brookfield’s Seven Seas area is undergoing renovations.
Among the renovations is installation of a lift platform to allow quick adjustment to water depth, a new roof and a climate-controlled purifying system.
For more Brookfield Zoo info visit Chicago Zoological Society/Brookfield.
What is the Color Factory? Is it an art museum, a place to learn, or an interactive experience? Actually, it’s all three. It’s experiential.
Located in downtown Chicago’s Willis Tower, the Color Factory is more than 25,000 sq. ft. of interactive rooms and activities designed to stimulate your imagination.
The third permanent installation in the U.S., the company has other locations in New York and Houston. Each Color Factory embraces its city with a unique color palette and provides a multi-sensory interactive art experience with multi-sensory installations, immersive rooms, and carefully curated moments.
This joy of color celebrates artists, art institutions, nonprofits, and brand partners to bring more art and color to the world.
Working in partnership with photographer and South Side native, Akilah Townsend, the palette celebrates some of Chicago’s most iconic elements and neighborhoods.
Colors from Chicago’s exclusive Rainbow Cone (think ice cream), the dyed Chicago River (St. Patrick’s Day celebration), Lake Michigan, and the beloved Chicago flag are the stars.
It’s called the 36 –Chicago Color Palette and you’ll find these colors infused throughout the museum. Mirrors create layers of images in multi-sensory rooms to get lost in.
If you go:
Get your brain wired for a color explosion as you enter the multi-hued walkway. Check out more than a dozen immersive spaces that tap into all five senses – taste, touch, sight, scent, and sound. Enjoy sweet treats along the way, like delicious (and colorful) macaroons revolving out of a conveyer belt or a green Kurimu honeydew ice cream cone.
Taste and identify different flavors of “pop rocks.” Take lots of selfies, free with your QR code in each of the rooms. Touch the lightweight colorful balloons and watch them move through space. There was even a chance to quietly sit and draw the person sitting across from you.
The mint green ball pit was a fan- favorite! The Color Factory is great for kids, teens, and adults. There are enough activities with more sophisticated options to keep everyone happy. Plan to spend around 90 minutes enjoying the Color Factory fully.
DETAILS: The Color Factory is at Willis Tower, 233 S. Wacker Drive, Chicago as an open run.
Yes lighted displays at the Chicago Botanic Garden look spectacular when Lightscape stars and sparkling plants line walkways from Mid-November 2022 to early January 2023.
But the Garden also amazes right now as you wander among art installations, special plant groupings and the Greenhouse Galleries packed with the garden’s past and imagined future.
The art and other special exhibits are part of Flourish, The Garden at 50,” an anniversary celebration up now through Sept. 25, 2022.
Pick up a Flourish brochure at the membership/information desk near the Café, to see a map and information on 10 art installations.
Leaving the building you are walking across a bridge to the garden’s main area. Look right to see a huge nature sign on the opposite bank and then look near it further west in the water to see Casa Isle, an aluminum island house constructed by artist Edra Soto in what the Garden calls its “North Lake.”
A turn south past the lily ponds brings Juan Angel Chavéz’s wood and fabric Adsila sculpture into view.
Check the brochure for other art installations and then go over to the Regenstein Greenhouses for a look back at the garden’s past and thoughts of its future.
Be sure to stop at the plant installations on the path back to the bridge. They are plant groups from different countries.
“What began as an ambitious vision to have Chicago’s own public garden is now 28 gardens and four natural areas in Glencoe, 16 community garden and farm sites in Chicago and Lake County, and dozens of conservation and restoration research sites around the country,” said Jean Franczyk, the Garden’s president and chief executive officer.
“We are thankful to all who have shown up for nature, supported our conservation mission, and inspired us to keep imagining a future where people and planet thrive,” Franczyk said.
Walking through Cezanne, an extensive exhibit now at the Art Institute of Chicago and co-curated with the Tate Modern in London, is like pulling back a curtain to really see and understand the French artist’s various approaches to portraitures, landscapes and figures.
Influenced by Camille Pissarro, Paul Cezanne (1839–1906) was also admired by Pissarro, Claude Monet, Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso.
Indeed, “The Sea at L’Estaque Behind Trees” done by Cezanne, 1978-79 was owned by Picasso, and is in the Musee National Picasso-Paris collection on loan for this exhibit.
Works are on loan from several museums and private collections. Visitors should expect to spend close to two hours. The exhibit features 80 oil paintings, 40 watercolors and drawings and two sketchbooks. Some will look familiar. Others will be less known and seldom viewed.
Beautifully curated, the exhibit places watercolors of the same or similar subjects close enough to compare. As with many artists, Cezanne’s works reflect different stages of life. Boards near each phase talk about those periods.
Called by some artists and art historians as the “Father of Post Impressionism,” Cezanne’s paintings are a bridge from Impressionism to Post Impressionism.
His early and middle years paintings also became his own bridge. Visitors who think they can identify a work as by Cezanne may be surprised . His “Still Life with Apples,” 1893-94 oil painting, is quite different from “Still Life with Knife and Watermelon” a watercolor done later, about 1900.
Cezanne’s still life paintings of apples and fruit could easily fill an exhibit on their own. But you will see a still life series of another subject, skulls. They were done in his later years.
Part of his appeal to other artists was how his feelings about a subject were expressed by his brush strokes.
“Cezanne pursued an art distinct from his Impressionist colleagues,” explained Gloria Groom, Chair and David and Mary Winton Green Curator, Painting and Sculpture of Europe.
“Whether looking at the countryside around Paris or at a still life arrangement indoors, his was a laborious process and state of mind that involved finding the exact brushstroke to evoke his feelings, his sensations. The exhibition aims to deepen our understanding of this deliberate, singular process,” said Groom.
By the time a visitor exits the exhibit there should be a feeling that some paintings seen in art galleries and art shows in the current century are not that different in technique from how Cezanne painted.
“While Cezanne himself was as interested in long traditions of painting as much as its modernist future, it’s simply not possible to envision twentieth-century avant-garde art without Cezanne’s influence,” said Caitlin Haskell, Gary C. and Frances Comer Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art.
“Cezanne approached painting as a technically rigorous yet deeply personal search for truth in art making. And in the process he upended the conventions of artifice in European painting, laying bare the components of color and brushwork used to compose images, and establishing the fundamentals of what would become Cubism, Fauvism, and non-objective art,” said Haskell.
(Note: If you go, get the Art Institute app (know your Apple store password) and go to the number accompanying some of the paintings to hear about Cezanne’s technique and aims. The museum hasn’t been using individual recorded devices since COVID began.)
The exhibition is organized by the Art Institute of Chicago and Tate Modern, London. It is curated by Gloria Groom, Chair and David and Mary Winton Green Curator, Painting and Sculpture of Europe and Caitlin Haskell, Gary C. and Frances Comer Curator, Modern and Contemporary Art, Art Institute of Chicago and Natalia Sidlina, Curator, International Art, Tate Modern.
“Cezanne” is at the Art Institute of Chicago May 15 through Sept. 5, 2022. The museum has two entrances: 111 S Michigan Ave and 159 E. Monroe St. For more information including tickets and hours visit AIC.
Chicago and some area schools are on Spring Vacation through April 17. But even if your youngsters’ schools already had their break, terrific exhibits at Chicago’s museums are worth a weekend visit.
Fortunately, there are some free museums, free days and free to certain ages deals that can make a Spring Break outing less of a budget breaker. Most museum no longer require masks or vaccination proof but they do require advance tickets. However check the museum website for its current requirements.
For example of “free,” the National Museum of Mexican Art is always free. Located in the city’s Pilsen neighborhood at 1852 W. 19th St., the museum is currently featuring Freda Kahlo photos. But it is always filled with colorful and interesting galleries. Visit National Museum of Mexican Art for entry information. It is currently asking for masks and social distancing.
Also, the Illinois Holocaust Museum at 9603 Woods Dr., Skokie has a promo code “SPRING 22” that is good for free admission to children and students through April 17, 2022. The museum is also free to all the last Friday of each month.
Check out the following museums for more ideas and cost saving deals:
Chicago Museum Campus
After closing for two years due to covid, the Adler Planetarium at 1300 S. DuSable Lake Shore Dr. at the east end of the Museum campus, recently reopened with more interactive exhibits and reconfigured spaces. The museum is free Wednesdays from 4 to 10 p.m. Among the fun, family-friendly spaces is the Clark Family Welcome Gallery with video presentations, interactive motion-sensing displays and pop-up exhibitions. Chicago’s Night Sky is also worth experiencing.
The Field Museum, at 1400 S. DuSable Lake Shore Dr. at the front end of the campus, has its free admission days May 14-15 and discounts the Discovery and all Access Pass those days so cost to Illinois residents would be $16 adult and $14 ages 3-11. Known for its dinosaur halls, The Field has gone further by going underwater to find giant species in its new temporary exhibit, Jurassic Oceans: Monsters of the Deep. Up through Sept, 5, 2022, this special exhibit needs a Discovery Pass or All Access Pass but there is plenty to see with General Admission.
Shedd Aquarium, at 1200 S. DuSable Lake Shore Dr., sits in the center of the Museum campus. The museum had free days earlier in the year but if living in Chicago find reduced fares through the Chicago Public Library: Kids Museum Passport.
Hyde Park Neighborhood
Museum of Science and Industry at 5700 S. DuSable Lake Shore Dr. has free days coming April 21 and 25 and May 2, 4, 9, 17 and 18. MSI, as the museum is usually known, can fill a day without its special exhibits but it currently has the blockbuster Art of the Brick, an amazing sculpture collection of LEGO Art that is up through Sept. 5, 2022. An extra ticket is needed but the display is worth the cost.
The DuSable Museum of African American History at 740 E. 56th PL, is celebrating 61 years as the country’s oldest independent African American Museum currently has free admission for all every Wednesday. Masks are required for ages 5 and older. Among the exhibits are “Freedom: Origin and Journey” which looks at several key periods in African American history and South Side Stories such as “The Art and Influence of Dr. Margaret T. Burroughs, 1960–1980.” It looks at Burroughs’s “legacy as an artist, creator, activist and institution builder.”
Art Institute of Chicago, has a main entrances at 111 S. Michigan Ave. and around the corner at 159 W. Monroe St. to its Modern Wing (connected to the main building). It is free to Chicago teens under 18 and all youngsters under 14. Frequent AIC visitors have favorite galleries such as French Renaissance and the Thorne Rooms (miniature periods). The current exhibit is “Life and Afterlife in Egypt,” an impressive, recently re-done permanent display of items already held by the museum.
Museum of Contemporary Art, 220 E. Chicago Ave. is free to visitors under age 18 and Illinois residents receive free admission every Tuesday. Visitors who enjoy debating what is art and what does it illustrate should see “Based on a True Story.” Using items mostly owned by the museum, it puts together the works of 20 artists who “play with fact, fiction, and the grey areas between” that “wrestle with truth and belief by exploring fiction.”
Lincoln Park Neighborhood
Chicago History Museum at 1601 N. Clark St. is on the edge of the park. Check out its “Crossroads of America” which includes stepping aboard a fancy, old train car. Also up is an exhibit of women’s voting struggles and items from the museum’s Costume Collection. The museum is free is Illinois teens under age 18 and all children under age 12.
Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum at 2430 N. Cannon Dr., is a Chicago Academy of Sciences museum that is also on the edge of the park. Come here to see, walk among and learn about butterflies. Exhibits also include climate change, weather and rivers.