Plan details expansion and changes at Brookfield Zoo


Brookfield Zoo Chicago just released details of a transformational Next Century Plan that will reshape more than 100 acres (nearly half of the Zoo’s existing property) in innovative and inspiring ways for wildlife and guests.

Slightly edited to meet publication word-count, the plan blends historic structures with new animal zones. The Zoo will have immersive habitats that provide for the best in animal care while creating rich experiences for guests that engage audiences and connect to conservation.

Also in the plan is a more interesting and welcoming North Gate entrance and experience.

New North Gate

What to expect:  a 15-year campus plan in four phases, with further improvements projected over 30 years. This vision balances new, immersive experiences with the preservation of historical structures and includes nearly all existing Zoo areas.

It also calls for significant westward expansion and development of current Zoo property, blending new mixed-species environments inspired by 14 global eco-regions into the existing rich forest canopy.

With an investment expected to reach $500 million from public and private funding, the plan aims to not only to transform the physical campus but also solidify the Zoo’s role as a leader in global wildlife conservation.

According to Brookfield Zoo officials and partners, the plan should make a substantial economic impact on local communities, surrounding counties, and the state, as well as bolster the Zoo as a global destination.

The first phase of the Next Century Plan has already begun. It includes completed projects, such as the $10 million renovation of the Zoo’s Seven Seas dolphin habitat, reimagining of the Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Fountain, new animal habitats within the Hamill Family Nature Plaza, and opening of the Philip W. K. Sweet Jr. Animal Care and Conservation Center with state-of-the-art new office and collaborative spaces for animal and conservation teams.

(South African Forest area in New Gateway to Africa at Brookfield Zoo)

Well underway culminating the end of Phase 1 is– Tropical Forests, a $66 million project that creates four new outdoor habitats meticulously crafted to emulate the natural homes of gorillas, orangutans, and monkeys, set to open in 2025. The Tropical Forests project also incorporates a new Gorilla Conservation Center and the Zoo’s King Conservation Leadership Academy that provides educational opportunities for teens.


 Four Key Zones 

The Next Century Plan provides an exciting and innovative new direction for Brookfield Zoo Chicago while weaving together elements of the Zoo’s past. Nearly half of the Zoo’s sweeping 235 acres in the Forest Preserves of Cook County will be re-imagined, expanding wildlife habitats, and transcending conventional zoo design for a fully immersive experience organized into four key zones:

  1. Historical Core: Preserving Brookfield Zoo Chicago’s historic features, including the iconic North and South Gates, the hand-carved Carousel, and the Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Fountain, this area will serve as a bridge between the Zoo’s rich history and its innovative future.
  2. Immersive Ecoregions: To the west, 14 regions will transform the Zoo into a dynamic, landscape-based experience inviting guests through portals to various parts of the world. Native animal species will anchor each deeply immersive ecoregion with environments that mimic their natural habitats, fostering an appreciation for wildlife and their ecosystems. These regions will transport guests, allowing them to experience and connect eye-to-eye with wildlife they otherwise may never have the opportunity to see. These natural habitats will provide enriched animal care and spacious, mixed-species groupings that ensure the animals’ optimal well-being.

Key project examples include:

 Gateway to Africa: Leading Phase 2 of the plan, Gateway to Africa will be a 35-acre haven where guests can witness firsthand the splendor of Africa’s wildlife and natural landscapes. A multi-species habitat with 12.5 acres for elephants, alongside rhinos, lions, giraffes, and other iconic species, the transformation will provide a new innovation in animal shifting capabilities for flexibility between the various habitats, linking together four distinct ecoregions: South African Forests, African Savannah, East African Forests, and Central African Forests. This flexibility will be possible thanks to the creation of the new Savannah Passage, a half-mile-long, multi-species transfer corridor that allows for rotational habitat expansion and variety. The Savannah Passage links multiple habitats across the northwest quadrant of the Zoo, facilitating a changing landscape for the animals and guests to experience.

(Pachyderm Building in Gateway to Africa)

 Also in Gateway to Africa – Pachyderm Building: The renovation of the beloved Pachyderm Building – one of the Zoo’s original structures – will reverse the current animal-guest relationship by replacing indoor animal space with exciting guest programs during the day, and private catering event space in the evening, offering expansive views to the flexible, mixed-species Savannah habitat north of the building. New animal facilities will be developed elsewhere that provide spacious indoor habitats and the best in modern zoological care.

*Southwest Australian Provinces: Guests will be instantly transported to the landscapes of Southwest Australia, venturing into scrublands with towering termite mounds and the mysterious call of tawny frogmouths, while vibrant rose-breasted cockatoos flit through the canopy. An elevated walkway will offer panoramic views of iconic species such as kangaroos and emus, and intimate encounters with koalas nestled in eucalyptus trees. Exiting through a forest portal, guests will reach the newly renovated historical Australia House, home to Tasmanian devils, wombats, and echidna in lush indoor and outdoor environments. This indoor sanctuary will showcase the rich tapestry of Australian wildlife, from tiny insects to elusive reptiles.

  • Pacific Coasts of the Americas: Sights and sounds of the Peruvian coast come to life in this immersive experience. Guests are greeted by the rhythmic sounds of crashing waves and the salty scent of the ocean breeze, transporting them to the rugged shores of South America. The centerpiece, Sea Lion Cove, features a sprawling habitat where guests can observe sea lions in their natural element through rocky shores and underwater viewing windows, offering a glimpse into their dynamic social behaviors. Adjacent to the sea lion habitat, a training and education area allows care staff to share stories of conservation efforts and to demonstrate the Zoo’s excellence in animal care. The new Humboldt Penguin habitat, inspired by Peru’s Punta San Juan Marine Protected Area, showcases the playful antics of Humboldt penguins alongside free-flying terns and gulls, highlighting the region’s rich biodiversity. Interactive storytelling and environmental education sessions provide guests with a deeper understanding of the importance of protecting these endangered species and the impact of climate change on their habitats.

(New Himalayan and Central Asian Steppe)

  • Himalayan and Central Asian Steppe: Tucked into the western reaches of the Zoo, this region – a part of Phases 3 and 4 that represents projects starting in 2034 and beyond – will highlight the rugged landscape that is home to snow leopards and takin. Taking advantage of natural old-growth forest on the Zoo’s property, from under a viewing trellis, guests will be able to search among the rocky outcrops to find camouflaged cats exploring their habitats. A nearly invisible barrier between the habitats will create visual continuity with the new takin habitat beyond, where these rock-climbing mammals will delight guests with their graceful movements.


  • Our Rivers to the Gulf: Also in this third phase, dolphins will have a new, indoor/outdoor shallow-lagoon simulating their home range at Sarasota Bay, Florida, where Brookfield Zoo Chicago leads the world’s longest- running dolphin conservation research program. A sweeping boardwalk will immerse guests in a mangrove forest where connections between the Illinois River and conservation efforts in the Gulf of Mexico are made.
  • (New Rivers to the Gulf)
  1. Wildlife Discovery: This zone will feature expanded attractions, recreational activities and interactive experiences to engage guests of all ages with the wonders of wildlife. New habitats at the Zoo’s former Bear Grottos will feature animals, including sloth bears, sun bears, wolverines, and red pandas. Designed to create a central, communal space to attract more new and diverse audiences to the Zoo, a spacious new amphitheater situated away from animal habitats will host programs from educational presentations to musical performances, such as the Zoo’s successful Roaring Nights concert series that supports the organization’s conservation programs around the globe. Additionally, a permanent butterfly house will provide year-round opportunities for visitors to learn about the lifecycle and migration of the important pollinators.


4. Conservation Campus: Located at the Zoo’s south end, this area will be a hub for scientists, educators and conservationists, featuring cutting-edge facilities and collaborative spaces. Bringing what are typically behind-the-scenes spaces forward to the public, an indoor viewing gallery will showcase live conservation research and interactive exhibits, fostering a deeper understanding of global conservation efforts. Additionally, the expansion of the veterinary hospital and enhanced education spaces at the Mary Ann MacLean Conservation Leadership Center will provide engaging learning experiences and highlight the Zoo’s commitment to wildlife care and conservation education. The campus will provide an opportunity to further showcase the Zoo’s several programs and partnership with the Forest Preserves of Cook County and work with local wildlife species such as turtles, otters, cranes, and more.

 “Our Next Century Plan reflects our core commitment as a zoo to save species and ecosystems. We inspire conservation leadership. We touch lives. We save animals,” said Dr. Michael Adkesson, President and CEO. “The plan boldly envisions the redevelopment and expansion of the Zoo’s physical campus to bolster our excellence in animal care and wellness, but our impact will also extend beyond our gates to reach local communities and global partners to provide a connection for people to develop empathy for wildlife and nature that drives positive action.”

 For more information, visit



The Cicadas are coming


(Lake County Forest Preserves Banner)

We keep hearing that “the cicadas are coming.” But how much do we know about these insects or what to expect during their 2024 appearance?

Well, we know from 17 years ago that they are very nosy and seem to be everywhere. Also, that they are about 5 inches long, harmless to humans, loved as food by birds and that some homes with young trees are wrapping those in netting so that the cicadas don’t climb them to lay their eggs in young branches.

Illustrations of cicada eggs on a tree branch.

(Lake County Forest Preserve photo of Samantha Gallagher drawing)

A great place to learn more is “Celebrating Cicadas,” a special Dunn Museum exhibition at the Lake County Forest Preserves (LCFP) headquarters, 1899 W Winchester Rd. Libertyville.

Opened April 27 and going to Aug. 4, 2024, it includes terrific pictures done by science artist Samantha Gallagher. Among the works is an interactive piece called “Cicada Parade” that visitors can manipulate to mimic cicada sound.

Also, the LCFP is holding a free CicadaFest on Sunday, June 9 from 12–4 pm at Ryerson Conservation Area in Riverwoods. (Overflow parking at the Lutheran Church to the north of Ryerson has buses).

Because this cicada phenomenon only comes every 17 years, the cicadas are featured in “Horizons,” the LCFP Spring publication as “17 Years, 64 Degrees, 100 Decibels.” See Horizons | Lake County Forest Preserves (


You get the 17 years bit but did you know the ground has to warm up to 64 degrees for the cicadas to tunnel up and that their sound reaches 100 decibels?

In addition, this 17-year cycle is also different because it includes two different broods, Brood XIII and Brood XIX, according to LCFP’s “Words of the Woods” POD Cast Host Brett Peto. Both broods will likely converge in Illinois near Springfield. The broods are part of the periodical (Magicicadas) cicadas. That’s periodical because there are also the annual cicadas that you probably have heard in treed areas in the summer. 

“The next time both broods will appear at the same time is 2245,” said Peto 

I really don’t bother with podcasts very often but Words of the Woods podcast, hosted by Peto is excellent. Listen on SpotifyApple Podcasts.

Peto will also be emcee of Cicada Fest June 9.

For more information visit Celebrating Cicadas | Lake County Forest Preserves (

Jodie Jacobs


Inventing the World of James Bond


OO7 James Bond at MSI (Photo Reno Loviso)

OO7 – James Bond at MSI (Photo Reno Lovison)


Fantasy and reality merge in the world of fictional espionage as seen in “007 Science- Inventing the world of James Bond” now at the Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago. 

You don’t have to be a James Bond movie fan to enjoy this latest exhibit. Just consider what was make believe and what might be real, then and now.

You can see the prototype jetpack used in ” Thunderball” (1965) as well as suction cup climbers used in “You Only Live Twice” (1967).

Co-produced with Eon Productions who owns the rights to everything Bond, the exhibit features automobiles and an array of gadgetry found in several of the 27 films that make up reportedly the longest-running movie franchise.

Thirteen vehicles and over 90 additional artifacts are on display including a Jaguar, at least two Aston-Martins, a couple of motorcycles, the iconic lipstick and earpieces that allowed for secret communication in “No Time To Die” (2021), a Retina Scanner that enabled entry into the MI6 communications room in “Golden Eye” (1995), and other futuristic devices that indeed became part of our present.

The museum curators explained that they wanted to inspire a new generation of visionary inventors and show the intersection between art and science.

Various displays encourage visitors to consider the science behind many of the artifacts and why they might or might not actually work in the real world from a scientific point-of-view.

“007 Science: Inventing the World of James Bond”is open March 7 through October 27, 2024. There is a separate fee in addition to the museum’s general admission.

Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago, is at 5700 S. DuSable Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, IL . For more information visit

Reno Lovison

The where and what of April solar eclipse across Illinois


Photo taken at 2017 Adler exhibit (JJacobs photo)
Photo taken at 2017 Adler exhibit (JJacobs photo)


Where: as defined by Southern Illinois

The place to be mid-day April 8 is Carbondale, IL. That is ground zero for the full-totality, solar eclipse that crosses the United States in 2024.

The town, home to Southern Illinois University, is holding a four-day festival that includes a program by Chicago’s Adler Planetarium in SIU’s stadium on April 8.

Mokena, IL, a tiny, arts community near Carbondale, is also holding a festival. This is where WGN meteorologist Tom Skilling did his broadcast during the 2017 solar eclipse.

Listeners will remember Skilling’s reactions to totality, the darkness the weather changes. Now it’s happening again in Southern Illinois.

Accommodations will be available (if not already booked) in both towns.


What: as defined by 2024 solar eclipse 

But if you live near Chicago and don’t travel down to Southern Illinois, the other place to be in the state is at Chicago’s Adler Planetarium.

“This one is different from 2017,” said Michelle Nichols, Adler Planetarium Director of Public Observing. (Nichols will also be doing the SIU program April 8.

She was talking about the unusual circumstance where the Carbondale area is again in the direct path of a complete solar eclipse

Enumerating the differences, she said, “The direction is different.”

After first talking about how it starts over water she continued, saying, “This eclipse goes from Mexico to Maine.” (Southwest to Northeast) She noted that the 2017 eclipse went from Oregon to South Carolina. ((Northwest to Southeast)

(NASA map readers will note the 2024 eclipse enters Canada in Southern Ontario, and continues through Quebec, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Cape Breton and will exit continental North America at Newfoundland’s Atlantic coast.)

“Also, the last was smaller,” said Nichols, explaining that the moon was further. “This is closer and the shadow covers a wider area.”

Other differences are the amount of time the eclipse takes and the area covered.

“This time the moon will be a tiny bit bigger. The shadow will be wider and will take longer in totality,” said Nichols. “In 2017 it was two minutes. This time it will be over four minutes.” she said.

“Chicago will go from 12:51 p.m. to 3:22 p.m. with the maximum amount of totality at 2:07 p.m.,” she said and added ghat Chicago would experience 94 percent totality.

At the Adler:

Nichols cautioned that safety was very important so the Adler will have solar-appropriate, disposable glasses available on April 8 when it holds a free watching event. “Glasses will be handed out beginning at 11 a.m. until the supply runs out.”

According to Nichols, people who still have their solar glasses from 2017 can use them only if in good shape and not scratched or damaged. (Regular sun glasses won’t work)

Another reason to go to the planetarium is that visitors can watch through telescopes equipped with appropriate filters made with a 3D printer.

“We will have telescopes, about five to ten of them, for people to look through but they don’t have to be up close to the lens. The lens is very wide and they can take a picture of what they see,” she said.

For people watching at home she suggested they make a pin-hole camera with a card to capture the eclipse on paper or the ground so they don’t look at the sun.

 (NASA and other scientific sites warn that looking directly at the Sun without specialized eye protection for solar viewing will cause severe eye injury.)

Ed Note: The Adler has terrific exhibits up now about eclipses and more information on its website. Go to Explore/Chasing Eclipses and to Eclipses Over Illinois. For other information including safety precautions and a time chart of towns on and near the path visit NASA.

Jodie Jacobs

Around Town: Chicago MLK Day events

(Martin Luther King Jr Memorial on Basin Drive, Washington D.C.)

Don’t expect mail this Monday, Jan. 15, 2024. Martin Luther King, Jr., Day, the third Monday in January, is both a Federal Holiday and in many states, a State Holiday. This year it also is King’s birthday. Many schools will be closed. But some communities and some museums use the day for special projects.

Before checking on some of the MLK events, here are a few quick facts to know about King. He was a Baptist minister who advocated nonviolent means to end racial segregation. King founded the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in 1957 and famously led the 1963  March on Washington.  He received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964. King was assassinated on April 4, 1968.


January 13:

The DuSable Black History Museum is holding the free “Been to the Mountain Top” from 2 to 4 p.m.  with Kevin Powell. and see the exhibition “Freedom: Origin and Journey.” DuSable Museum is at 740 E. 56th Place, Chicago., (773) 947-0600. 

January 15:

Hyde Park Art Center is holding “Yesterdays, Todays and Tomorrows” from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The event includes artmaking, Black folklore material in a pop-up bookstore plus the Civic Orchestra of Chicago Chamber Ensemble performing from 2 to 2:45 p.m. The Hyde Park Art Center is 5020 S. Cornell Ave., Chicago

The Chicago History Museum is holding a Family Event for Martin Luther King Jr. Day from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The Chicago History Museum is at 1601 N. Clark St., Chicago. It’s a free day at the museum for Illinois residents. Tickets include the event which features interactive activities, a singalong in the morning and a screening of Mighty Times: The Children’s March, followed by a discussion. 

Art Institue of Chicago is doing a Gallery Cconversation on a Letter from birmingham Jail.  from 3 to 3:30 p.m. Its an AIC free day. The Art Institute of Chicago Michigan Avenue entrance is at 111 S. Michigan Avenue.

January 30

The University of Chicago is holding an MLK Commeration Celebration at 6 p.n.  at Rockefeller Memorial Chapel, the site of one of Dr. King’s first major speeches in Chicago.

 Jodie Jacobs

Holiday gift sources



Art Institue of Chicago has a great gift shop (J Jacobs photo)
Art Institue of Chicago has a great gift shop (J Jacobs photo)


We’re past Black Friday and Cyber Monda but there are still gifts to get so here are some ideas for in person and on line shopping.

In Person

The “One of a Kind Holiday Show is at The Mart this weekend from Thursday through Sunday. The show, which returns in late spring, brings back the fun of shopping without the stress.

There are more than 500 artists (think major art fair plus) that includes clever, hand-crafted, cooking utensils and gorgeous glass items. But it also has food booths of candy, spices and other delectables. Hours: Dec. 7-9, 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Dec. 10 – 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

For tickets and more information call 800-677Mart or see Attend | One of a Kind Show (

The Mart is at the Chicago River between Orleans and Wells Streets. The show is on the 7th Floor.


On Line – Museum shops

If downtown Chicago, make the trip a museum destination as a two-for so you enjoy an exhibition and pick up gifts. Many of the Cit y’s top museums have on-line gift stores so you can shop at your best time.

Art Institute of Chicago

Among the best museum stores, at AIC you can find items at many price points from a Pablo Picasso scarf for $190 to cute Georges Seurat “Sunday on La Grand Jatte” socks for $16. For more ideas visit  Museum Shop.

 Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago 

Jewlery, puzzles, home décor are at all price points ranging from a Frida Kahlo puzzle for $19.99 to a Midnight Crescent Petite necklace for $180.00. For these items and more ideas visit MCA Shop.

 Happy Shopping

Jodie Jacobs

Dinos and fossils now at LCFPs Dunn Museum


Lake County Forest Preserves Dunn Museum in Libertyvill, IL ( J acobs hofot)
Lake County Forest Preserves Dunn Museum in Libertyville IL  JJacobs photo)

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 TriceratopsTyrannosaurus 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 TriceratopsTyrannosaurus 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.



Skeletons are not just Halloween figures


keletons populatge east side of Highwood ready for Day of the Dead (J Jacobs photo)
skeletons populate east side of Highwood ready for Day of the Dead (J Jacobs photo)

If you drive through downtown Highwood, a tiny northern suburb next to Fort Sheridan (they say they are a city) on the east side of the Metra tracks, you see many skeletons.

They don’t look scary. They look like family members who have gathered for a reunion similar to what may be seen at the National Mexican Museum in Chicago National Museum of Mexican Art, Pilsen, Chicago and Dia de Muertos.

The Highwood skeletons are a good reminder that Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) is celebrated throughout the Chicago area as a time to pay homage to and reunite family and friends who are still around with those who have passed on.

The Museum of Mexican Art is one place to go but another place, maybe unexpected, is Brookfield Zoo.

Sponsored by Chevrolet, the zoo’s celebration is Oct. 28-29 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The zoo celebration ranges from face-painting (fees) and getting sugar skulls (while supplies last) to taking photos with the catrinas (traditional skeleton characters).

For more information visit

Jodie Jacobs

Safe way to watch partial eclipse

On Saturday, you might hear “Look up.” But don’t do it unless you have the proper glasses to protect your eyes from the sun

Chicago’s Adler Planetarium is holding Eclipse Encounter ’23, a free, fun, educational and safe way to view a partial solar eclipse this Saturday, Oct. 14, 2023, from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Partial solar eclipses occur when the Moon comes between the Sun and Earth but just covers part of the Sun.

WGN meteorologist Tom Skilling will be there along with Adler staff, volunteers and teens who will pass out solar viewers (while supplies last) and help with Adler telescopes fitted with solar filters. The telescopes and event will be outside on the museum grounds.

Large solar glasses will be available to take fun eclipse selfies. The eclipse starts about 10:37 a.m. CDT and lasts until 1:22 p.m .CDT with its peak occurring at 11:58 a.m. CDT. That is when about 43 percent of the Sun will be covered by the Moon as seen from Chicago.

For more solar eclipse dates and locations visit NASA Maps.

Jodie Jacobs

Doing Butterflies and Beaches before Labor Day


Butterflies & Blooms at the Chicago Botanic Garden

(Photo courtesy of Chicago Botanic Garden)

MG It’s hard to believe but Labor Day, that official end-of-summer day, is just a few weeks away but there are still places to go and things to do on the summer bucket list.

The problem is some experiences will disappear at or shortly after Labor Day, Sept. 4, 2023.

Among them think butterfly and beach experiences.

Before they shut for the fall, try to get over to Brookfield Zoo in southwest suburban Brookfield or the Chicago Botanic Garden in northeast suburban Glencoe.

They both are located in suburban destinations that are open year-round but the butterflies like warm weather so these exhibitions close shortly.

Imagine strolling through screened in spaces where zebra longwings, swallowtails, monarchs,painted ladies and other species are flitting past and landing on shrubs in a safe outdoor space.

This colorful, picture-perfect experience is happening at Brookfield Zoo just to Sept 8 and at Chicago Botanic Garden to Labor Day.

For tickets, hours and more details visit Brookfield Zoo and Chicago Botanic Garden.



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.

Visit Chicago Beaches for more information.

Jodie Jacobs