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.
Meanwhile, in the southwest suburb of Brookfield, female pygmy hippopotamus Banana, is getting acclimated to her new home in Brookfield Zoo’s Pachyderm House and can sometimes be seen outdoors on that building’s west side. (Smaller than the river hippo, the pygmy weighs between 350 and 600 pounds and can grow to about 5.75 feet long,)
Chicago’s warm (finally) weather this Memorial Day weekend is perfect for a day laughing at monkeyshines at two zoos or a pirate-ship sail along the city’s shoreline. (Zoo note: both zoos require masks at their indoor animal houses).
Visiting the 235 acre Brookfield Zoo can be an all-day family event.
Starting May 26, visitors can see the cute tapir calf just born to his mom, Sorghum. He has been staying indoors at the Pachyderm House but mom and baby might wander to their outdoor space on the north side of the building because the weather will be warm. Now is a good time to see the calf with his white stripes. The marking fade by age six months. The South American tapir is related to the horse and rhinoceros.
Beginning May 28, the Butterflies area, closed the past two years, has reopened and includes moths. Located near the North Gate, entry is $4 adults, $3.50 seniors 65 and older and $3 children. Visitors will be able to see the transformation to butterflies in an off-exhibit space.
While wandering the zoo, be on the lookout for such ice-age creatures as a 15 ft tall wooly mammoth and the 18 ft long mastodon. They are among Dino Dan’s 30 life-sized animatonic animals staying at the zoo April 1 through Oct. 30, 2022.
Brookfield Zoo entrances are at North Parking Lot 8400 31st St, and South Parking Lot 3300 Golf Road, Brookfield, IL between the Stevenson (I-55) and Eisenhower (I-290) expressways. Current hours: 9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m.
There are admission and parking costs. Tickets can be purchased ahead on line and are good for the entire day of entry. Adults $24.95, Seniors 65 and older $19.95, Children age 3-11 $17.95, age 2 and younger free. Parking is $15 and can be paid upon arrival.
*Visitors who have a general admission pass with a barcode, a member guest pass, a Chicago Public Library Museum Pass or a Museum Adventure Pass, can bring that to the zoo for entry, no reservation required.
At 49 acres, Lincoln Park Zoo is doable in half a day. Get a zoo map at the Visitor Center near the main entrance at 2400 N. Cannon Dr.
Time the visit to watch Seal Training at 11:30 a.m. or 2 p.m. near the main entrance . Then, be sure to visit the Pepper Family Wildlife Center.to see Pilipili, a recently born, African lion cub. His name means “pepper” in Swahili.
Lincoln Park Zoo is north of Chicago’s Magnificent (shopping) Mile.There are are several entrances with East gate near the paid parking lot being the main one. View the free parking map for all entrances. Current hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.. The zoo is free and opened every day. For more information visit Lincoln Park Zoo.
Sail on Tall Ship Windy
For a different sailing experience, take a 75 minute trip along Chicago’s shoreline on Windy, a Tall Ship docked at Navy Pier. Listen to pirate and maritime stories.
Both Brookfield and Lincoln Park Zoos have upped the sparkle wattage with new light experiences. But with LED lights keeping cost down and ComEd on board as a co-sponsor for both holiday shows, what the popular destinations mention are estimates. Just expect more than one million lights.
In suburban Brookfield, IL wander among twinkling lights at Brookfield Zoo’s Holiday Magic co-sponsored with ComEd by meijer.
The festival includes a new, two-mile Sea of Lights. But also take photos at a 41-foot-high magical tree and by an illuminated animal sculpture or as you approach the 600-foot Tunnel of Lights.
Just for fun, join in the Game of Gnomes to find 27 of these creatures at the zoo. Get a map of the zoo to help. All ages can play.
Zoo entry cost varies according to membership and age. As an example, rounded-off by five cents, a non-member senior 65 + may be about $20, an adult aged 12-64 is about $25 and a child age 3-11 is about $18. Skating rink usage is a $7 add on. Passes from a Chicago Library may discount the tickets. Parking may cost $15. Advance tickets needed.
Holiday Magic hours and dates: Friday through Sunday Nov. 26-28. Then Wednesday through Sunday, Dec. 8-12 and Dec.15-19. They end Sunday through Friday. Dec. 26-31. Hours are 3 to 9 p.m. Animal residences stay open through 8:30 p.m.
Brookfield Zoo has two gates: 8400 31st St. and 3300 Golf Rd., Brookfield, IL
Zooights turned on its more than a million lights at the Lincoln Park Zoo Nov. 19, 2021 and will keep them on during select nights through Jan. 2, 2022.
Explore a twisting path at the Light Maze where you wear a pair of 3D Holospex® glasses to up the glow. Also, every age is welcome at the Pritzker Family Children’s Zoo section’s Enchanted Forest of butterflies, flowers and mushrooms.
See the zoo’s holiday tree at the recently redone Pepper Family Wildlife Center and do the Endangered Species Carousel and the Lionel Train Adventure through a sculpture garden and past whimsical animals.
Zoolioght entry is $5, free on Monday and Tuesday but there are additional charges of $3 per person at some of the sections and experiences. Advance tickets needed. Check the calendar for more program information.
The basic fee and extra charges help support the zoo’s animal care, global conservation efforts, and learning programs.
Some of these places, such as the Chicago Botanic Gardens and Morton Arboretum didn’t really close because they are outside but they want to remind visitors to come back and that their hours may have expanded. Others, such as Brookfield Zoo are re-opening and the Cook County Forest Preserve has March events.
Visitors will find some new residents at Brookfield Zoo which re-opened March 1, 2021.
Hope, a 5-year-old female polar bear arrived the end of January, 2021 in time for Chicago’s icy weather. Look for Hope in the zoo’s outdoor habitat in the Great Bear Wilderness.
Also look for Sibi and her nearly 2-year-old daughter, Lorena, in the Regenstein Wolf Woods habitat. The two female Mexican wolves recently arrived from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge in Socorro, New Mexico..
While at the zoo, go over to the Dinos Everywhere exhibition that is up March 1 through Sept. 6, 2021. Find the three-story-high Argentinosaurus on the zoo’s West Mall.
But don’t forget to see the grey seals, snow leopards and bald eagles that also can go into their outdoor habitats.
Brookfield Zoo is a Chicago Zoological property at 8400 31st St., Brookfield, IL. For hours, timed-ticket entry and other information go to Plan your visit Brookfield Zoo.
As with the Brookfield Zoo and the Chicago Botanic Garden visitors Morton Arboretum visitors need timed tickets. See Plan Your Visit for tickets and other information. Wednesday is discount day.
Located 4100 Il Hwy 53 in Lisle, there are plenty of trails and paths for biking and hiking from 7 a.m. to sunset. In addition, the Visitor Center is open with restrooms from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and the Children’s Garden and Maze Garden are open. The Ginko Restaurant will re-open March 12, 2021.
Hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.. The Garden View Café is open for Grab and Go and the Garden Shop open with a limited number of visitors at one time. The paths are open and busy now that the weather is more spring-like so wear the mask.
The Chicago Botanic Garden is at 1000 Lake Cook Rd., Glencoe just east of Edens Expressway.
Imagine a youngster (or adult) opening a large envelope with a photo of a cute leopard cub accompanied by a certificate of adoption this holiday season.
Ahava, a six month old snow leopard and Sasha, a nine month old Amur leopard, are among Brookfield Zoo residents in an Animal Adoption program.
Operated by the Chicago Zoological Society, Brookfield Zoo is doing different gift adoptions ranging from Basic Package of $35 to the Plush Duo of $120.
Basic includes a 5 by 7-inch color photo of the leopard, a personalized certificate, a species fact sheet, an Animal Adoption decal and an invite to the Animal Adoptionsummer event in 2021 (subject to COVID-19 guidelines).
Plush starts at $65 to include a 12-inch plush animal, four free tickets to the Animal Adoptionsummer event in 2021 and all the benefits of the Basic Package. But if not sure which leopard to adopt there are the Basic Duo at $65 and Plush Duo at $120 for adoptions of both Ahava and Sasha.
In addition, the gifts help pay for the animal’s care at the
The leopard cubs are among two residents the zoo is featuring as holiday adoption gifts. There are also 4-year-old African lions Brutus and Titus, orangutans Kecil and Kekasih and Zeus, a bald eagle.
For more information on the packages and animals to visit CZS.org/AnimalAdoption or call (708) 688-8341. To ensure holiday delivery, orders must be received by Dec. 15, 2020.
Even though the zoo is not doing its annual Boo event, it has cute selfie stops, a sweepstake contest, animals being fed pumpkins and fall color and decorations. The zoo, operated by the Chicago Zoological Society) in suburban Brookfield, is a place to go if you want to be outside.
Admission is free Tuesdays and Thursdays in October and November. Admission and parking ($15) must be arranged ahead of time. In addition, Pace Bus 331 goes there. The zoo has two Brookfield entrances. North Gate is at 8400 31st Street, South Gate, the main entrance,, is at 3300 Golf Rd.. For more information visit CZS/fall/BrookfieldZoo.
Located in the Hyde Park area of Chicago, the popular museum is holding Boo Fest. Costumes encouraged. MSI has pulled out some of its creepy curiosities from storage for a scary exhibit recommended for youngsters age 8 and older.
But it also has a Trick-or-Treat area where guests who bring their own bag can get non-food goodies from a chute operated by MSI staff. And there are cool Live Science Experiences stops where visitors can make Frankenslime or watch a pumpkin drop.
In addition, there are Halloween haunted mine and superstition motion simulators, a crime lab chance to see werewolf files and a Sleepy Hollow building experience.
MSI follows the Covid protocols. For protocols, time-tickets admission and ticket information visit MSI/Explore/Events.
Following Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s announcement Monday that Chicago is on track to move to Phase 4 beginning Friday, June 26, Chicago’s popular zoo and museum destinations are making plans to reopen. They all are following timed-ticket reservations and the face covering, social distancing and look-but-don’t-touch protocols.
The free,easily walkable zoo in Lincoln Park, opens with a preview weekend June 26-28. It opens to the public June 29. Expect grounds to be open but buildings are closed. The zoo is at 2001 N. Clark Street, Chicago. For reservations and other information visit LPZoo/welcome.
For a virtual tour of the zoo with Mayor Lightfoot, go to HitPlayChicago. Released last week, the tour is Mayor Lightfoot’s latest field trip to Chicago destinations during the city’s and state’s “stay home” orders for staying safe.
Brookfield Zoo, operated in suburban Brookfield, IL by the Chicago Zoological Society, opens to members July 1 and the public July 8 using reserve-ahead, timed tickets. No tickets available at entrance.
“Brookfield Zoo has been closed for nearly four months and we are eagerly looking forward to welcoming guests back to reconnect with animals and nature,” said Stuart Strahl, president and CEO of CZS.
Admission includes access to Dinos Everywhere! and is $24.95 for adults, $17.95 for children ages 3-11 and $19.95 for seniors 65 and over. Parking is $15. Check protocols at CZS/Know. Indoor spaces are closed. Food carts and gift shop carts will be on walkways.
Brookfield Zoo entrances: North Gate is at 8400 31st St. (1st Avenue and 31st Street) and South Gate is at 3300 Golf Rd.
Because Chicago museums are basically indoor facilities, most of them will be opening at different times in July with timed-tickets.
Shedd Aquarium, the middle building at the Chicago Museum Campus on Lake Shore Drive, will reopen July 3. Member pre sale is June 24, public presale is June 25. Visit Tickets are for reserved time.
Other museums have said announcements will come in July. The Art Institute of Chicago is still encouraging people to visit the museum online until it reopens.
Around Town looks at four fun fall festivals that that families can take advantage of right now.
Boo! at the Zoo
There is only one weekend left, Oct. 26-27, to go to Brookfield Zoo’s annual Halloween festival in 2019. Running Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. it features pumpkin carving demonstrations, hay rides, trick-or-treat stations (kids should bring their own bags), animal Zoo Chats, a “Crazed Maize” corn maze, a Pumpkin Smasher and a Creepy (sorta) Carousel. Visitors are encouraged to participate in the cCstume Parade that starts at 1 p.m. by the Discovery Center and ghoulishly move to music at a 1:30 p.m. Costume Dance Pary.
General zoo admission is $21.95 for adults and $15.95 for children 3-11 and seniors 65 and over. Children 2 and under are free. Parking is $14. (Additional fees apply to some Boo! at the Zoo activities.) For further information, visit CZS.org/Boo or call (708) 688-8000.
Didier Farms Pumpkinfest
After going once to Didier Farms for its maze, hayride, pumpkin carving tools and food, it is likely to be penned in (not penciled) from that year on even when youngsters reach high school age. Located on Aptakisic Road west of Milwaukee Avenue in Lincolnshire, Didier Farms, a family-owned business since 1912, supplies some grocery stores plus has its own farm market. But when October comes, the place becomes pumpkin central for families loading wagons with over-grown gourds (squash if you are going to eat it instead of turning it into a jack-o-lantern) and youngsters eager to wander the maze or take a hayride. Pumpkinfest goes now through Oct. 31.
Didier Farms is at 16678 W. Aptakisic Rd., Lincolnshire, IL 60069. Phone (847) 634-3291.
Tom’s Farm Market Fall Festival
Now thru oct. 30
There is so much going on at Tom’s Farm Market Fall Festival that families should plan to spend a couple of hours there. “There” is a ride out northwest of Chicago to Huntley, IL. Don’t leave before picking up one of the market’s excellent pies or some donuts to take in the car for the trip back home. But first take a free wagon ride to the pumpkin patch to pick your pumpkin. Then, visit the six-acre corn maze. Youngsters will like the Pumpkin express Barrel Ride, the Pedal Tractor Track or maybe the Climbing Spider Web. There is also PlayLand, and the Giant Pumpkin Jumper plus face painting and a petting zoo.
Going on now through Oct. 30, hours Monday through Friday are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. with admission of $7 children, $5 adults and age 2 and younger and weekend hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays with adults and children at $10 each. Visitors can make and take a scarecrow home for $22. Tom’s Farm Market is at 10214 Algonquin Rd., Huntley, IL, (847) 669-3421.
Richardson Adventure Farm
Every fall Richardson Farm develops a giant-sized maze to wander that fits with current events or characters. For 2019 the maze honors the moon landing. There are different tracks to take through the maze so times can range from a quick 10 to 20 minutes or the longer 60 to 90 minutes. But leave time for the giant slide, wagon or train ride, the animatronic Chicken Show, a ride on the vintage carousel and a climb up a 50 foot observation tower or watch the pig races and try the paintball shooting gallery. If you don’t have a pumpkin yet, pick your own. They cost 45 cents a pound.
The Richardson Adventure Farm is open now through Nov. 3, 2019 on Thursday through Sundays. Hours are: Thursday 3-10 p.m.;, Friday-Saturday 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Sunday noon to 10 p.m. Admission can range from $14 to $19 depending on age, day of the week (Lower rates are on Wednesdays) and activity. RichardsonFarm is at 909 English Prairie Rd near Spring Grove, IL Visit RichardsonAdventureFarm or call (815) 675-9729.
Expect the unexpected when it comes to what’s happening in and around Chicago. Here are three items that add fun to spring.
Urban Art Pop-Up Trunk Show
Try to stop by the Museum of Contemporary Art’s store by April 11, 2019. Up on the second level of the store are about 100 unusual, expensive, street and art culture items on display that can be bid on through Heritage Auctions.
The items include a pair of “ Back to the Future II” shoes designed by Nike that have an auto-lacing system activated by the wearer’s weight on the sole. They were worn by Michael J. Fox as Marty Mcfly. There are also Jeff Koons’ “Balloon Animal Series, “Sunflowers by Ron English and items by Yayoi Kusama, Takashi Murakami, Damien Hirst and other artists.
The MCA, located at 220 E. Chicago Ave., is closed Monday, open otherwise at 10 am. Fri and tues until 9 othewise until 6. For more information call 312-397-4000 and visit MCA Chicago/Urban Art.
Earth Day Party.
Brookfield Zoo is celebrating our planet April 14 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. with crafts, Zoo Chats, planting activities and recycle drop-off containers. Tree planting is at 11 a.m. and then pansies are planted near the Hamill family Play Zoo until 12:30. An Eco Expo of 20 organizations including the Lincoln Park Zoo Shedd Auarium and Indiana dunes National Park, will be stationed on the North Mall. The Party for the Planet is presented by Nicor Gas’ “energySmart” program.
Some of the other activities are meeting zoo animal ambassadors near the Carousel from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., a chat about bears in the Great Bear Wilderness at 11 a.m. and learning about the black rhino in the Pachyderm Building at 2:30 p.m.
As to recycling, the zoo will take electronics, textiles, and household hazardous waste items.on April 13 until 3 p.m. then electronics, textiles and paper (for shredding) April 14, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Free parking in the North Lot, 8400 31st Street (First Avenue and 31st Street), Brookfield, is offered to visitors with one or more approved items to recycle on either day.
There will be a drop box for electronic items such as cell phones, cell phone accessories, pagers, hand-held electronic games, e-readers, laptops, iPods, iPads, tablets, and MP3 players (sent to Eco-Cell for recycling). For approved items visit CZS.org/PartyPlanet . Items have to be brought unboxed with no excess packaging.
Zoo admission is $21 95 adults, $15.95for ages 3-11 and seniors age 65 and older. Partyh for th Planet activities included in admission except for those inside the Hamil Familyh Play zoo. Parking is $14.00. For additional information call (708) 688-8000 and visit CZS.org/PartyPlanet.
Three Chicago Websites to know
Millenium Park Calendar – copy, paste and keep checking this website for birding, plant events, music festivals and more.
Chicago City Markets – The city markets are opening outdoors with fresh produce, baked goods, gifts and demos so check this website for dates and activities .
Chicago Riverwalk – find out where the sculptures are, what is happening with the Mart video art, when and where vendors are opening and other activities along the Chicago River at this website.