Following Gov. Pritzker’s Covid-19 case mitigation orders on Nov. 17, 2020, Chicago’s museums will close this week. Several of them will shutter late afternoon Wednesday, Nov. 18.
The Shedd plans to close at 5 p.m. Wednesday and hopes to reopen Saturday, Jan. 2, 2021. Its website has some fee-based videos, animal encounters and education programs to offset the loss of revenue it needs for animal care and conservation. For more information visit sheddaquarium.
MSI will close Nov. 18 at 4 p.m. The museum has digital programs and resources. Visit MSIChicago for more information. See some of the tree decorations that are part of the museum’s annual Christmas Around the world exhibit at Trees and Traditions. To see how the exhibit was build and what it looks like now visit Christmasaroundtheworld.
The museum closed back in March 2020 and has remained closed but it has an online presence for star gazers and folks who want to stay current on sky events. Visit astronomy live but also check the events that occur every week and every other week such as Skywatch Weekly. Click on the arrow to see what is available free such as NASA LIVE for the latest operations at the International Space Station.
If tired of friends asking what are you doing with more time at home, put yourself into one of those cartoon frames with a lightbulb in the overhead cloud.
What would the next frame show? Learn how to make a holiday dessert or favorite ethnic dish? Learn to draw? Paint a portrait of your pet? Work with clay? And what if the frame has another figure such as a young son or daughter/ So what about a fun science or comic-book or kids cooking class.?
Chicago Theater and Arts CTAA) checked out several resources in the Chicago area to come up with three suggestions for now. (More later in January to combat winter and Covid doldrums).
The Art Center
TAC, as highland Park’s art exhibition and class space is called, has in person and online classes. A good website to know, TAC has online mini classes for adults and youngsters such as one for ages 15-100 to learn how to do a pet’s portrait, work with colored pencils or portray a winter scene.
Classes are online between Nov. 30 and Dec. 20, 2020 with most starting Dec. 1 and going on for two weeks using zoom. Youth classes, for drawing, cartooning, painting and clay, are typically are for age 9-13 but some begin at age 8.
Get dinner ideas. Cook and learn from famed chefs. Have the kids take a class. Those are just some of the perks of going to Chefs Gale Gand and Jessica Dawson’s online Kitchen Sisters Cooking School.
Gand, an award winning pastry chef, cookbook author, Michelin star and James Beard restaurateur and cooking teacher works out of the Chicago area. Dawson is a traveling chef, teacher who was the youngest traveling America’s Test Kitchen host and has taught people around the world the science of cooking (when she stops long enough to teach in one place).
Museum of Science and Industry Resources Lab
MSI has a new, online spot for tomorrow’s scientists. Some of the topics are Mission to Mars: what to pack, Forensics Chromatography, and Engineers: building bridges. For more information visit MSIChicagoResources.
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.
The Field and Museum of Contemporary Art are re-opening July 24 (See Around Chicago visits the Museum Scene). Now the Art Institute of Chicago and the Museum of Science and Industry will be ready to welcome back visitors a week later.
To celebrate, the museum is offering free admission to Illinois residents July 30-Aug 3, 2020. The public will need to get tickets in advance, however the first hour will be reserved to members each day.
The El Greco: Ambition and Defiance will be up through Sept. 7 and won’t need special tickets.
Bauhaus Chicago: Design in the City stays through Sept. 21.
Malangatana: Mozambique Modern opens July 30 and continues through Nov. 15, 2020.
Toulouse-Lautrec and the Celebrity Culture of Paris that opened just before the pandemic closed the museum, will stay through Jan. 31, 2021.
Coming: Monet and Chicago will open Sept 5 and go to Jan. 18, 2021.
Opening Aug. 1, MSI will have free admission thru Aug 14. Most exhibits will be open. Among those that will still be closed because of social distancing protocols are U 505 Submarine and the Coal Mine.
Often called MLK Day, the third Monday of January has been officially observed to honor the civil rights leader in all 50 states since 2000. It is an American federal holiday so schools, banks, and some business are closed.
The day has become a chance to honor Martin Luther King Jr with service projects, free museum visits and special programs. Here are some of the events and places to spend quality time on MLK Day this year, Monday, Jan. 20, 2020.
Performance of “The MLK Project: The Fight for Civil Rights”
Glencoe-based Writers Theatre holds annual performances of “the MLK Project.” Written by Yolanda Androzzo, directed by Sophiyaa Nayarand featuring Adhana Reid, “The Fight for Civil Rights” production will be held Jan. 20, 2020 at 10:30 a.m. at the Chicago History Museum, 1601 N Clark Street in Chicago. The event is free and includes a post-show community discussion. Attendees also have free museum admission for the whole day. Folr more information visit Writers Theatre/Education.
The Writers Theatre production is a tour that goes to schools and community centers then closes at the DuSable Museum of African American History, 740 E. 56th Place, Chicago, 7 p.m. Feb. 28, 2020. The performance is free and can be reserved in advance by calling (773) 947-0600.
The Adler Planetarium at the far eastern end of the Museum Campus at 1300 S. Lake Shore Dr., has one of its free General Admission days for Illinois residents on Jan. 20, 2020. It is also an Illinois Resident Discount Day which means that tickets to other exhibits and shows not included in General Admission can be obtained at discount prices. For more information call (312) 922-7827 or visit Adler Planetarium/special offers.
The Shedd Aquarium, located in the middle of the Museum Campus at 1200 S. Lake Shore Dr., has a similar arrangement for MLK Day. There is free general admission and discounts for special exhibit and shows for Illinois residents. For more information call (312) 939-2438 or visit Shedd Aquarium/discount and free days.
The Field Museum, sitting at the entrance to the Museum Campus at 1400 S. Lake Shore Dr., also has one of its free general admission days on Jan. 20, 2020. As part of the Illinois Resident Discount Days, passes to special exhibits are available at lower prices. For more information call (312) 922.9410 or visit Field Museum/free admission days.
Free Museum of Science and Industry admission.
MSI, south of downtown near Hyde Park neighborhood at 57oo s. Lake Shore Dr., has an Illinois Resident Free Day Jan. 20, 2020 so general admission is free plus special exhibits can be seen at discounted prices. For more information visit MSI tickets.
(See other free general admission and discount days at each museum link listed. The free days are for Illinois residents so valid ID is needed. Also check for other categories such as active military and education personnel.)
Martin Luther King Day of Service
Some communities have projects planned for MLK Day. North suburban Highland Park is holding its 11th annual Day of Service 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Jan. 20, 2020 at the Recreaction Center of Highland Park, 1207 Park Ave West, just east of IL Hwy 41. The projects will help area agencies. For more information visit Park District of Highland Park/MLK.
For kids, there’s a redone, restaurant up at tree-level in Lincoln Park Zoo. For adults, there’s an art show to view high on a building on Wacker Dr. And for adults who want to relive a kids-experience, there’s a museum field-trip night that will take them down a shaft.
Restaurant at Lincoln Park Zoo
When entering the main entrance at Lincoln Park walk straight ahead and look up, tree-level for the Bird’s Eye Bar & Grill perched above the gift shop. There is a ramp around the side for strollers and folks who can’t do stairs.
Formerly the Café at Wild Things, the space is geared to families with Foosball and air hockey tables, and games such as Jenga plus a menu that includes burgers and BBQ sandwiches. But there are also salads and flatbreads.
Recently opened, the restaurant is seasonal with hours from 11 a.m. to 4 p., Monday through Friday and from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. However, the space can be booked for private events. Lincoln Park Zoo is at 2200 N. Cannon Dr., Chicago. Admission is free. For more information visit lpzoo.org.
MSI adult field trip
Adults get to go down to the popular Coal Mine, board the U-505 Submarine and visit Colleen Moore’s Fairy Castle and other stuff at the Museum of Science and Industry after hours (age 21+) on Sept. 20 from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Some things they didn’t have when on a kids’ field trip is Improv Comedy iO Theater Chicago doing behind-the-scenes MSI stories and a chance to play such board games as Clue, Operation, and Guess Who (courtesy of Lakeview’s Bonus Round Café). Plus take part in a scavenger hunt.
Admission is $30 (MSI members: $25). It includes free parking in the underground garage, coat check, light snacks, a complimentary drink, and access to select exhibits. A cash bar will also be available. For more information visit msichicago.org/fieldtripnight
New art projected on theMART (former Merchandise Mart) kicks-off Sept. 21 with food trucks and a DJ on Wacker Drive at 6:30 p.m., the projection starting at 7:30 p.m. and fireworks at 8 p.m. The projections feature works by Charles atlas and Petra Cortright. For more information visit visit artonthemart.com.
If curious how a famed 19th century artist dresses his models and sees 1870s-1880s Parisian apparel, visit “Manet and Modern Beauty” at the Art Institute of Chicago.
“Wired to Wear”
Some day, probably sooner than you expect, your what-to-wear question will be which of your wired apparel would best suit the day’s activities.
Choices could range from Nike’s Self-Lacing Shoes because of time constraints to a D-Air Racing suit with a cushion that inflates before your crash to prevent injury such as when racing a motorcycle. Or the choice might range from an Iridescence collar that will detect the mood of people encountered to a Smart Tattoo on the arm that interfaces with your mobile device and makes a personal style statement.
Designed by Microsoft, the tattoo in the exhibit allows visitors to create notes on an instrument and even control lighting. To hear more about it go to Duoskin.
Similar to the Coal Mine, visitors need a special ticket in addition to museum entry. Opened in Mid-Mach 2019, the exhibit continues to May 2020. MSI is at 5700 S. Lake Shore Dr., Chicago. For hours and other information see Visit.
“Figures of Speech”
Engineer, architect, artist, fashion designer, Virgil Abloh is a 30-seomthing, black male from Rockford, Il whose creativity and determination has taken him from t-shirt designs to founding “Off-White,” his own line in Milan, and becoming Louis Vuitton Men’s Artistic Director.
But what the MCA exhibit which opens to the public June 10 does, is more than highlight Abloh’s career to date. It also offers the artist’s sense of astonishment that he has been successful in an industry not exactly populated by blacks.
So race is an underlying theme. However, Abloh also hopes the exhibit will inspire youngsters to go for their dreams undeterred by obstacles. There is an accompanying store, called “Church and State,” that is on the same 4th floor as the exhibit. It has Abloh items and a catalogue that further explains the theme and the “go-for-it philosophy.
The exhibit goes to Sept. 22, 2019. MCA is at 220 E. Chicago Ave., Chicago. Admission is by timed tickets. For more information or tickets call 312-397-4010.or see Visit and Events.
“Manet and Modern Beauty”
In his early years, 19th century French artist Édouard Manet had primarily focused on historical and religious subjects. But in his later years when he transitioned to Impressionism he became interested in modern life and ladies’ fashionable apparel and leisure activities. The exhibit features more than 90 works from paintings to letters.
The audio devise that accompanies the exhibit and some of the wall descriptions explain clothing choices and mention the stylish apparel of men and women.
The Art Institute of Chicago is at 111 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago. The exhibit is only up this summer and ends Sept. 8, 2019. For admission and hours see AIC/visit.
These exhibits deserve to be on the summer do list.
With everything you have to do, places to go, people to visit there might not have been time to fit in everything you hoped to see by Dec. 31. No worries. Some of the fun shows, exhibits and festivals will still be around in January, 2019.
Lyric Opera’s delightful “Cendrillon” (Cinderella ) runs through Jan. 20 and its exceptional “La boheme” continues at the Lyric Opera House, 20 N. Wacker Dr., Chicago, through Jan. 31. For tickets and more information visit Lyric Opera.
“Steadfast tin Soldier at Lookinggglass Theatre in the Chicago Water Works at 821 N. Michicagn Ave. runs through Jan. 13. For tickets and other information visit Lookingglass.
“Wonderland Express” is at the Chicago Botanic Garden, 1000 Lake Cook Rd., Glencoe (just east of Edens Expressway) through Jan. 6. (This is a time and date ticketed show) For tickets and other information visit . For parking check Chicago Botanic.
“Zoo Lights” at Lincoln Park Zoo, 2001 N. Clark St.,, Chicago, is open New Year’s Day and continues through Jan. 6.
Pumpkins still adorn some front doorsteps and Halloween candies still sit on some shelves but with Thanksgiving coming early this year (Nov. 23) and stores looking for a cheerful buying season, holiday decorations and events are already going up and beckoning.
If you have been downtown Chicago recently near Daley Plaza you likely noticed that the Christkindlmarket is already going up for its Nov. 17 opening and that Macy’s has already decorated its State Street and some Randolph Street windows. Its 45 foot high Great Tree is up in the Walnut Room sparkling with 2,000 ornaments and 6,600 lights.
So yes, it’s somewhat early to plan on where to go for some holiday cheer of the non-alcholoic, event type. But if you don’t want to miss a fun activity, a repeat of a delightful family tradition or something that might start a new tradition, take a look at what’s coming up, print this and circle those events worth putting on your calendar.
The events tend to fall into those that open Nov. 17 and the ones that start the day after Thanksgiving on Nov. 24.
Head to Millennium Park before 6 p.m. to ooh and aah when the lights switch on the 62 foot Norway sprice donated by Darlene Dorfler, Grayslake. The Oakdale Christian Academy Choir will be singing and cast members from Goodman Theatre’s ‘A Christmas Carol’ will perform. Santa and Mrs. Claus are also expected to visit. Admission is free. The tree will be up through Jan. 6, 2018.
The Chicago Christkindlmarket opens weekdays 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. and stays open Friday-Saturday until 9 p.m. Location: Washington Street between Clark and Dearborn Streets. Admission free. For other information call (312) 494-2175.
See trees from a different perspective when the Morton Arboretum has lights moving on them to music. In addition there is an Illu-medallion that can now be purchased to reflect the interactive light display. Tickets are date and time specific. Morton Arboretum is at 4100 Il Hwy 53, Lisle. For more information call (630) 968-0074.
The festival opens Friday with activities and food from 4 to 8 p.m. in Lights Festival Lane (Pioneer Court) at 401 N. Michigan Avenue. The Michigan Avenue tree-lighting parade, sponsored by BMO Harris Bank and led by Mickey and Minnie Mouse, happens on Saturday at 5:30 p.m. after a day of activities starting at 11 a.m. at Pioneer Court and at Michigan Avenue shops. The parade begins at Oak Street and goes south to Wacker Drive ending with Fireworks at 6:55 p.m. .
Begun in 1942 with one tree, the exhibit now has a four-story, floor-to-dome Grand Tree plus more than 50 trees and displays. They are decorated by volunteers to represent many different cultures. MSI is at 5700 S. Lake Shore Drive.
The European holiday market is now opening in other Chicago area attractions. On Nov. 24 it opens in Naperville at the Naper Settlement, 523 S Webster St, and at the Park at Wrigley, 3637 N. Clark St.
If going to Wrigley, bring skates ($5 age 13 and older, free 12 and under) or rent them there because along with the Christkindlmarket the Park has an ice skating rink. If going there Nov. 28, take in the Tree-Lighting Ceremony when a Colorado Spruce tree from will sparkle with 2,700 bulbs. Instead of worrying about parking take the CTA Red Line or Clark bus 22 or Addison 152.
The garden welcomes winter with a wonderland of lights outside and miniature trains speeding around Chicago landmarks plus decorated halls and greenhouses inside. Entry is ticketed and datge and time specific. The garden is at 1000 Lake Cook Rd, just east of Edens Expessway, Glencoe. (847) 835-5440
Art Institute of Chicago’s annually welcomes the holidays with a wreathing of its famous lion statues at 10 a.m., then continues the day with hot chocolate, music and drop in art activities through 3 p.m. While there, stop downstairs at the Thorne Miniature rooms because they are fun to see and some even get a holiday decoration. The museum is at 111 S. Michigan Ave.
If asked what would you like a robot to do what would be your answer?
That’s a question that Tom, an employee who often can be found taking a shift in the Museum of Science and Industry’s “Robot Revolution” exhibit, asks the crowd of kids and adults who gather around while he explains drones.
Homework and housework are two of the frequent answers he said he gets.
If you go MSI’s Robots exhibit you can see a robot that is doing some housework. It moves along the floor cleaning dirt and debris. And that robot is on the market.
The other robots in the exhibit also exist in today’s world but are used by industry, health care and other commercial ventures. They are fascinating to watch. They come in all shapes. And they can do tasks that might be harmful to humans.
When you first walk in you see a person-type of robot. Press “How Do I Work” to have him talk to you and explain what makes him move. Don’t be surprised when you walk away if his eyes follow you even though he has stopped talking.
There are robots you can touch, such as a cuddly stuffed-animal that is used in hospitals and clinics that make patients feel better when they pet it and robot “bots” that you can put together yourself to do some things such as shine a light.
There are robots that can move up and down stairs and inclines that can be used in dangerous situations and robots that can be programmed to play soccer.
Just allow enough time to try everything in this exhibit but don’t forget to check out some of the science museum’s other wonders.